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Hotchkiss council okays donation to stock dog trials

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Photo by Tamie Meck The Hotchkiss council voted to support the Hotchkiss Sheep Camp Stock Dog Trial for the 14th consecutive year. The trails are scheduled for May 12-14.

Despite a tight budget the Hotchkiss council voted to support the annual Hotchkiss Sheep Camp Stock Dog Trial event with a $500 donation. The 14th annual trials will be held May 12-14, which is also Mother's Day weekend. The trials are held on the Hotchkiss Ranch bordering town and are among the largest in the state.

Longtime organizer Richard Bailey requested the donation. The money goes to the general fund to pay handlers, said Bailey. Entries open on Feb. 1. With almost as many competitors as there were on last year's waiting list, he anticipates good participation this year. "People love to come here," he said. "People know where Hotchkiss is."

Bailey asked everyone to pray for good weather. "We don't need rain like we did for the past two years. That really cuts into our spectators."

"I have to give Mr. Bailey credit for hanging in for 14 years," said mayor pro tem Larry Jakubiak, who made the motion to give the full $500 to the event. When he steps out his front door the day of the trials, said Jakubiak, "Traffic everywhere."

Community fundraiser and other events held in conjunction with the trials include the Ute Trails Car Club classic car show.

Volunteers are greatly appreciated, said Mr. Bailey. He graciously thanked council. "I think the whole community thanks you," he said. It will be more difficult for the event to move forward after he lost his wife of over 60 years, Marilyn, in 2016. "She's been a big part of this thing and it's going to be tough."

Cedaredge residents Gordon and Cheryl Hebenstreit are gradually taking over the event and are looking for volunteers. To volunteer or to learn more, visit www.hotchkissdogtrials.com.

Council also received reports from the Farm to Fiddle organizers. Now in its second year, the event will be held Aug. 11 and 12 in conjunction with the final days of the Delta County Fair. Vendors are already contacting organizers about returning for this year's event, said organizers/founders Marsi Moore and Lynda Cannon. They are requesting financial or other support from the town. That could come in the form of allowing the event to be covered through the town's insurance. The request will be considered at the Feb. 7 council meeting.

The event has a new mission, said Moore. All funds raised after costs are covered will this year go to the revitalization of Hotchkiss. Organizers are planning fundraisers prior to the event, including a "Winnie's Navajo Tacos" dinner in March. They have the Winnie's Cafe recipe, said Moore, and a posting on Facebook drew dozens of comments.

Regarding downtown revitalization, a committee of citizens, business owners, members of the Hotchkiss Community Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Improvement Committee representatives has held its first meeting, said Cannon. She updated council on potential participation in the Department of Local Affairs Colorado Main Street Program.

The first step, said Cannon, is to apply to be an affiliate. In order to be considered a candidate community, the town must sign an agreement with DOLA and Downtown Colorado Inc. The program provides technical assistance with organization, promotion, economic vitality and design of the community. "I'm not quite ready to say go for it," said Koontz. "I think we need a broader view of the whole idea." Since it's a DOLA program, he was confident it is well-managed.

Trustees Tom Wills and Mary Hockenbery agreed to represent the town at future meetings. Cannon said that while the application is due July 1, affiliation has to be established to move to the next phase gain access to support with planning. Until affiliation is established, they just wait, said Cannon.

During trustee reports, Mayor pro tem Larry Jakubiak said the annual Hotchkiss Community Christmas Dinner served "120 plus" meals at the Hotchkiss Senior Center. Volunteers prepared "just enough food" for the dinner and take-out meals. Jakubiak thanked the town for its support of the event and for trustees Wills and Hockenbery and Mayor Koontz for volunteering. Jakubiak said he received numerous compliments and thank-yous.

"I want to thank Larry for the way they left the senior hall," said trustee John Marta. "It was in good shape."

Council also approved renewal of a liquor license renewal application for Pat's Bar and Grill. As the establishment's former owner, Jakubiak abstained from voting.

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North Fork
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Hotchkiss, Sheep Dog Trials
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