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Parade grand marshals are committed to ag, the fair

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Parade grand marshals are Les and Dorothy Mergelman. Both are multi-generational residents of western Colorado. Les hails from Gunnison and Dorothy Jean, better known as DJ, is a Delta County native. In 1984, the Mergelmans moved back to Cedaredge, where DJ was raised, with their children, Crandal and Kari. They were anxious to put down some roots after spending the first 12 years of their marriage in five different Colorado communities.

Les was a banker for over 30 years and retired as president of Olathe State Bank. DJ retired from Delta County Joint School District after 35 years of teaching at the primary level. They both shared the enjoyment of working with young people through their involvement with their children and their friends who were active in 4-H, FFA and Little Britches rodeo, as well as school activities and athletics.

Les has been active in fair organizations since his college days. He joined the Delta County Fair Board the first summer he was in Delta County. He served on the fair board until he joined the Colorado State Fair Commission. DJ took his place on the fair board. Upon the completion of Les' term on the Colorado State Fair Commission, he was reappointed to the Delta County Fair Board for two terms. Both he and DJ served several years as fair board president.

Les served as chair of the Colorado State Fair for four years and was president of the Colorado Association of Fairs and Shows for three years.

As a wife and mother, DJ developed a love for the fair and its many activities. As Les says, "Before I married her, the most exciting thing she had ever done was play organ in church." Needless to say, her life has become a little more "exciting" since then. She spent many years as 4-H leader and community club organizational leader.

Crandal and Kari were both active in 4-H and FFA. After graduation, both went on to be state FFA officers. Crandal and his family live in Rangely; Kari and her family live in Elm Creek, Neb.

Les and DJ believe that both 4-H and FFA can be valuable tools in the lives of youth today, if only young people will take advantage of them.

From the 2016 Delta County Fair Premium Book.

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North Fork
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Agriculture, Delta County Fair, Hotchkiss, People in the News
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