Routt County 4-H member Mackenzie Holmberg, 12, launches a rocket Thursday while other 4-H members watch during a 4-H Fun Day at the Circle K Ranch owned by the Kvols family.  For story, see page 4.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Routt County 4-H member Mackenzie Holmberg, 12, launches a rocket Thursday while other 4-H members watch during a 4-H Fun Day at the Circle K Ranch owned by the Kvols family. For story, see page 4.

Event at Circle K Ranch included rocket launch, leather crafting, cookie decorating

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Homemade rockets were a-flying over the Circle K Ranch on Thursday afternoon as 4-H members stared up into a slightly cloudy sky.

The Routt County youths had spent the day at the Kvols family's ranch, decorating cookies, playing games and making and firing off the rockets. The high school Junior Leaders group organized the Fun Day for younger members, Routt County 4-H Agent Jay Whaley said.

"I don't know who it's funner for, us or the kids," said 16-year-old Ashleigh Muhme of Hayden.

The Junior Leaders spent a couple of months planning activities for the annual Fun Day. This year's turnout, about 33 younger children and 17 Junior Leaders, was the largest ever, Whaley said.

Sharon Johnson of Hayden attended part of the day with her children, 11-year-old Laura and 10-year-old Emma. Her nephew, 12-year-old Ian Maxey-Bell, was visiting from Englewood and joined the fun. He said his favorite part was the rocket launch.

"Because they went high and they went really fast," Ian said.

Whaley said he wasn't sure how high the rockets went, adding that some disappeared into the trees.

David Mucklow, 16, was one of the rocket-launching experts. The North Routt resident said he has been launching rockets since he was young.

"The hardest thing is telling them how to make the rockets," he said of the younger 4-H members. But the rocket building isn't tough, he said. "I have all the stuff. : It's not like it's hard."

The students also learned leather crafting. Emma Johnson made a sign for her father that read "cool dad." It's not a gift for any special occasion, she said. - "It's just because."

Hannah Mihaich, 12, pressed her nickname, "Banana," on her piece of leather. The Steamboat Springs resident used to hate the nickname, but now she doesn't mind that everyone uses it, she said.

"I think I'm going to hang it in my room," she said, examining the brown "Banana" strip.

Tia and Shiloh Rozell, who live between Oak Creek and the Twentymile coal mine, said they enjoyed the day of events.

"I just get to hang out with my 4-H friends," said Tia, 11. She said she was looking forward to next month's Routt County Fair, where she plans to show market goats and compete in the sewing, clothing decorating and photography contests.

The Circle K Ranch south of Steamboat has hosted the event for three or four years, Ann Kvols said. The family enjoys sharing the property with the 4-H youths, she said, as the participants swept up the barn at the end of the day.

"My husband and I were eating lunch on the deck this afternoon, and we could hear the kids laughing," Kvols said. "That's what it's all about; that's our favorite part. It's our pleasure."

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