Horsing around | SteamboatToday.com

Horsing around

Event helps raise awareness of agriculture in Yampa Valley

Kristi Mohrbacher

Angela Giovagnoli, 13, of Eagle, competes in the Gambler's Choice competition Saturday at Sidney Peak Ranch during the third annual Cayuse Classic.

— Almost as many four-legged creatures as two-legged creatures turned out for the third annual Cayuse Classic on Saturday at Sidney Peak Ranch.

A clear blue sky and soft breeze made for a perfect day for the fundraising event hosted by the Community Agricultural Alliance. Event organizers said they wanted to raise money for, and awareness of, agriculture in the Yampa Valley by setting aside a day when families could bring their horses for some friendly competition. Although the amount of money raised won’t be tallied for a few days, the organization sought funds through donations, a silent auction and horse registrations for competitions.

“Regardless of how much we raise, the event is always successful,” Marsha Daughenbaugh, executive director for the Community Agricultural Alliance, said Saturday. “For families and kids to come together like this is phenomenal.”

The Community Agricultural Alliance is a nonprofit organization that seeks to preserve the agricultural heritage of the Yampa Valley through education, participation in the policy-making process and programs that connect agricultural producers and consumers, Daughenbaugh said.

Two-year-old Grady Devins of Eagle and his Shetland pony, Patches, were the smallest competitors to show up to the Cayuse Classic. Grady kept his cool in the saddle as mom, Shana Devins, walked Patches around the arena. Grady and Patches barely acknowledged the crowd of girls eager to get pictures of the miniature duo.

Grady’s dad, Mike Devins, said Grady first started riding when he was just a couple of months old – with dad’s help, of course.

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“He loves the horses and he loves to ride – and I think he likes the attention he gets from the girls, too,” Devins said. “He’s trotting already, too.”

The Devins family brought 14 girls and their horses from Endeavor Equestrian, a horse boarding and training facility in Vail, to spend the day at the event. The agenda included working ranch horse versatility contests, poker hand trail rides, pair pace competitions, hunter jumper competitions, a barbecue, a versatility competition, entertainment by Greg Scott and a silent auction.

The Community Agricultural Alliance was founded in 1999 and has about 200 members. The organization has partnered with many other groups in the community to host events, panels and workshops such as the Northwest Colorado Water Summit that took place June 6. Partners putting on the summit included The Nature Conservancy, Yampa River Partners, Colorado River Water Conservation District, Routt County Conservation District, NRCS and Routt County Environmental Health.

– To reach Kristi Mohrbacher, call 870-1376 or e-mail kmohrbacher@steamboatpilot.com