Railroad roots the theme of this year’s Oak Creek Labor Day fun | SteamboatToday.com

Railroad roots the theme of this year’s Oak Creek Labor Day fun

Ben Ingersoll

— Few things in South Routt are as storied or richer in tradition than coal mining and the railroad.

The first train rolled through Oak Creek in 1909, creating infrastructure surrounded by mining and leaving behind endless family archives and stories for Tracks and Trails Museum founder Mike Yurich to collect throughout the years.

In celebrating the 105th anniversary of "the best stop on the Moffat line," Oak Creek's annual Labor Day celebration is boasting a railroad theme, an idea sparked through a suggestion to town Mayor Nikki Knoebel.

Knoebel paid a visit to the museum on East Main Street downtown, filled with railroad artifacts and historical records about mining families to run the idea by Yurich, who was on board and will host the first event of the four-day Oak Creek Labor Day festival.

"We just really thought hard, and we always want to honor an Oak Creek thing every year," Knoebel said. "Someone mentioned trains and I went down to the museum with Mike to look through pictures and talk about ideas."

Friday night starting at 6 p.m., Yurich will host a free museum tour and will discuss Oak Creek's Labor Day history and how it pertains to Tracks and Trails.

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Saturday morning is kick-started with the pancake breakfast at Soroco High School at 7 a.m. and the fishing derby at 10 a.m. in Decker Park, an annual favorite, Knoebel said.

Following the derby, the free family fun day begins along Main Street at noon.

Knoebel said she ordered an all-ages mechanical bull out of Vail for the family fun day, an Oak Creek Labor Day first. The main event musical act will be Katey Laurel, who has performed at the Chief Theater and will headline three other bands. Laurel performs from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Also along Main Street on Saturday will be a car show, an art show, a hot dog eating contest at 2 p.m., a cake walk at 2:30 p.m., and the crowning of the Coal Queen and Princess at 3 p.m.

Coal Queen and Princess contestants — 30 girls ranging from elementary school to high school — will be crowned based off who sells the most $1 raffle tickets in the days leading up to this weekend. Sponsored by Peabody Coal Mine, the queen will be crowned and awarded a $500 college scholarship.

Sunday morning is headlined by the softball tournament on the Soroco fields starting at 9 a.m. A live auction will be held at the Colorado Bar at 1 p.m., and an all-schools reunion will take place at Soroco High School from 1:30 to 5 p.m., a first for the annual Labor Day festival.

Monday is the main-event day, beginning with the 5K "No Fun Run," put on by Matt Mayer.

Mayer designed the 5K to weave through Oak Creek's main avenues, which includes some stair running on the Soroco High School football field. The finish spills into the Labor Day celebration's grand finale, a sprint down Main Street where the annual parade will be setting up to begin at 11 a.m.

"That finish is an absolute hit," said Mayer, who is part of the Oak Creek Labor Day committee. "All the runners love it and all the spectators love it."

Following the South Routt railroad theme, this year's parade grand marshals are Royal and Cindie Anderson. Royal has worked with railroads since 1981 and will retire in November.

"Labor Day is a premier thing in Oak Creek," Knoebel said, noting that about 900 people flock to Main Street every year. "It's family friendly. It just pulls everyone together. Everyone can appreciate what we have in our small, little town."

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

Oak Creek Labor Day 2014


• Museum with Mike, 129 E. Main, 6 p.m.

• Art show, 100 W. Main, 6 to 8 p.m.

• Spiro’s Wine Tasting, 109 W. Main, 6 to 8 p.m.

• Movie night “The Lone Ranger,” Decker Park, dusk

• Pub Chugachug, Elk’s Tavern/Colorado Bar/Spiro’s/Circle R Bar

• Band, Colorado Bar, 9 p.m.

• Pub Chugachug Drawing, Colorado Bar, 10 p.m.


• Pancake Breakfast, Soroco High School, 7 a.m.

• Cribbage tournament, Elk’s Tavern, 10 a.m.

• Fishing Derby, Decker Park, 10 a.m.

• Free Family Fun day, Main Street, noon

• Tracks and Trails Museum/Historical Society Store, 129 and 130 E. Main St., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• Art Show, 100 W. Main St., 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• South Routt Medical Center Open House, 300 Main St., noon to 2 p.m.

• “The Hungry Dog” Hot Dog Eating Contest, Main Street, 2 p.m.

• Cake Walk, Main Street, 2:30 p.m.

• Oak Creek Coal Queen Crowning, Main Street, 3 p.m.

• Bingo, Fire Station, 1 to 5 p.m.

• Comedy Show, Colorado Bar, 7 p.m.

• Band “The Wranglers,” Colorado Bar, 9 p.m.


• Pancake Breakfast, Soroco High School, 7 a.m.

• Softball tournament, Soroco High School fields, 9 a.m.

• Tracks and Trails Museum/Historical Society Store, 129 and 130 E. Main St., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• Historical Society Tours, 129 E. Main St., 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m.

• Art Show, 100 W. Main, noon to 5 p.m.

• Live Auction, Colorado Bar, 1 p.m.

• All-Schools Reunion, Soroco High School, 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. ($5)

• Horseshoe Tournament, Decker Park, 3 p.m.

• Spiro’s Archery Contest, Bostock’s residence 111 S. Arthur, 4 p.m.

• “Hot Box” Bar Challenge, Sharp Avenue, 6 p.m.


• Sign Up for 5K “No Fun Run,” Town Hall, 8 to 10 a.m. ($20)

• 5K “No Fun Run,” Town Hall, 10 a.m.

• Parade Line-Up for Judging, 10 a.m.

• Art Show, 100 W. Main, 10 a.m. to noon

• Parade, Main Street, 11 a.m.

• Games and Vendors, Decker Park, after parade

• Soroco Jr. Class Concessions, Decker Park

• Tracks and Trails Museum, open noon

• Historical Society Store, open noon

• Horseshoe Tournament, Decker Park, 1 p.m.

• Volleyball Tournament, Decker Park, 1 p.m.

• Grease Pole ($100 first place), Decker Park, 3 p.m.

• Bingo, Fire Station, 1 to 5 p.m.

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