Babcock testifies before committee

4-H president impresses board with speech

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— After this summer, Daleena Babcock won't be able to show her animals and compete in the new indoor facility planned for the Routt County Fairgrounds.

Last year's 4-H president knows she won't benefit from all the work she put into making a new horse arena a reality.

The younger 4-H children can thank her for that kind of commitment.

Last week, Babcock testified before the state committee that unanimously approved the Routt County Fair Board's request for $300,000.

The grant would allow the construction of an indoor facility for 4-H participants.

The recommendation of the State Advisory Committee for the Energy/Mineral Impact Assistance Program now passes to Bob Brooks, director of the Department of Local Affairs, and his staff for review.

Babcock impressed the board with her presentation, said Terry Doherty, director of the Routt County Fairgrounds.

Jay Whaley, 4-H extension agent for the county, asked Babcock to add her perspective to the presentation in Fort Morgan.

The thought of speaking before the committee didn't intimidate her, because she knew what she had to do, she said.

"I just told them how important it was to 4-H," Babcock said.

The Fair Board last November launched an effort to raise funds to build an indoor facility at the fairgrounds to replace the current outdoor horse arena.

Weather customarily dictates when and if participants compete and spectators watch events at the Routt County Fair.

Lack of space sometimes requires shows to begin at 8 a.m. and run until 11 p.m. to include all of the events.

An indoor arena at the fairgrounds would allow the 4-H children to show their animals and participate in team and individual events, regardless of the weather conditions.

The county commissioners in December accepted a bid of $558,000 to build the indoor facility at the fairgrounds.

The board already holds $222,000.

The 4-H members plan to raise $50,000. They have raised almost $37,000 already, much of which came from a drawing for a new Dodge Dakota truck.

Doherty said she is fairly confident of the Fair Board's chances of earning final approval on the $300,000 Energy Impact grant.

Funding for the grant requests is much tighter this year, she said, because some of the state's Energy Impact funds were used to balance the Colorado budget.

"Barring any unforeseen circumstances, we have a good chance of getting the money," Doherty said.

Notice should come the first weekend in April.

Babcock, who attends Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne, remains optimistic about her fellow 4-Hers' chances of getting the indoor arena in time for the fair.

Although she is a freshman, her late birthday allows her to participate one more summer in 4-H events at the Routt County Fair.

She has no intention of cutting ties with 4-H, either. Babcock hopes to work as a 4-H extension agent after college, giving back to the program that gave so much to her, she said.

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