Back at the ranch

Event honors agriculture's role in county

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Autumn Amendola barely could contain her excitement during Saturday's Ranch Rendezvous.

Autumn's mother, Tara, said neither she nor Autumn had seen a sheep or a buffalo, much less pet one.

"I love the animals they have for the kids to pet," Tara Amendola said. "I don't know if she has ever been this close to animals before."

Tara and her daughter were visiting from Boulder, and they were exactly the type of visitor Community Agriculture Alliance director Marsha Daughenbaugh was hoping would attend the Ranch Rendezvous.

"We want people to know that agriculture is still a viable interest in this valley," Daughenbaugh said.

The fourth annual Ranch Ren--dezvous is a collaboration of the Community Agriculture Alliance and Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. that seeks to bring attention to the county's agricultural industry, particularly to people who otherwise might not be exposed to it. The event was held at the base of Steamboat Ski Area.

Ranch Rendezvous attendees were given the opportunity to pet draft horses, sheep, mini-donkeys and a buffalo. The event also featured a demonstration about river systems and water supplies by the Natural Resource Conservation Service, women spinning wool and a ferrier demonstrating his craft.

Daughenbaugh said the event is interactive so people can get a better feel for what agriculture is in this community.

Lori Jazwick works with the Natural Resource Conservation Service and was happy to show audiences an example of healthy and unhealthy river systems.

Jazwick, along with Tara Place of the Routt County Conservation District, set up a small trailer with materials that simulated a river similar to those found in Routt County.

"Kids love watching the demonstrations, and teachers like using it because it is such a great learning tool," Jazwick said.

Jazwick explained how water flows and what happens when water erodes the land and sediments build up.

"It takes a while for the kids to see what's going on, but after that, they get really excited about it," she said.

Children and adults were equally taken with the horseshoeing skills of ferrier Can--dido "Shortgo" Longo.

"Today is all about community spirit," he said. "I'm letting people know that we still do stuff the old way."

Longo said the Ranch Ren--dezvous was a good opportunity for him to relax and show people how he shapes horseshoes. Longo also gave away lucky horseshoes to children in the audience.

"I want people to know that the West is still alive," he said.

Maura Hartley showed off her two miniature Siberian donkeys to children eager to pet them.

"They're very friendly. I think they enjoy getting all of the attention they do," she said.

The event also featured a tent with other activities to engage children with the local agriculture theme, such as coloring sheets and history lessons with Jo Stanko.

"This event protects the heritage of our community," Daughenbaugh said. "It's important that this alliance exists."

-- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz call 871-4234 or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

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