Meeker's Winter Games

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Winter recreation opportunities abound in Rio Blanco County.

From snowmobiles to snowshoes, visitors can get themselves hip deep in snow if they want to experience the outdoors in the wintertime.

The Eastern Rio Blanco Parks and Recreation District also organizes a fun community gathering to celebrate outdoor fun in February. This year Meeker's Winter Games will be held Feb. 25 and 26.

The Winter Games had been a feature of Meeker winters for years until 1999, when they ended. In 2004, the Rio Blanco Parks and Recreation District, in conjunction with the Meeker Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Business Association, revived the two-day event.

"People talk about how much fun it used to be," said Heidi Ham, director of the recreation district. "We just wanted to do something silly for free."

The games feature a broomball tournament on the frozen pond in Meeker's Circle Park. Broomball is a game similar to hockey, but played in boots rather than skates, with a small ball instead of a puck, and with brooms rather than sticks. Ham said many players duct tape the straw of their brooms to maximize firepower.

While the games are in progress, many of the downtown merchants offer sales and specials. The Chamber of Commerce offers free hot chocolate and cider and provides a tent in which winter enthusiasts can warm themselves.

A snow sculpture competition is another feature of the games, along with a cardboard sled competition. Entrants can enter any snowcraft made of cardboard and tape. Prizes go to the three most creative entries.

A Snow Ball at the Fairfield Center features music and dancing. The festival also includes a cross-country ski and snowshoe adventure at the site of the Meeker Classic Sheepdog Trials and a disc golf tournament at Paintbrush Park. Finally, there's the cardboard snowcraft derby at the Paintbrush Park Sledding Hill.

For information, call Heidi Ham at the recreation district at 970-878-3403.

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