Move won’t deter Phippsburg columnist Rider from keeping tabs in South Routt |

Move won’t deter Phippsburg columnist Rider from keeping tabs in South Routt

Alexis DeLaCruz

Lila Rider sits in an open area at the Doak Walker Extended Care Center. Rider, who has been writing for the Steamboat Pilot & Today for more than 60 years, is expected to continue her weekly column.

— Lila Rider’s yellow legal pad has documented nearly every birth, death, business opening and closing, celebration, and pinochle and Bridge get-together in South Routt County for the past 64 years.

The longtime Phippsburg resident, who recently moved to the Doak Walker Care Center in Steamboat Springs, began writing “Town Talk” for the Steamboat Pilot in 1944.

On Tuesday, Rider, 80, laughed at the notion that she is the newspaper’s longest contributing staff member.

“I guess they like what I write because I’ve been through five bosses and haven’t been fired yet,” she said. “I’ve been down the line.”

During the past 64 years, Rider has received a $21 raise for her weekly columns that she mails to the newspaper.

“When I first started, I was getting a whole $4 a week,” she said. “My husband would always joke that I could make $4 go further than anybody else.”

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Rider says she has no intention of quitting her column even though she no longer lives in Phippsburg.

“I’ll keep doing the news if they’ll keep sending it to me,” she said. “I’d appreciate them sending the news to me or else they’ll just have to read what I write.”

The key to keeping up on town gossip is to develop a good ear, Rider said.

“People call me or send it to me by mail, but I’ve learned through the years to be a good eavesdropper and to jot down things as you hear them,” she said. “I listen in at Bridge and always get five or six news items of “so and so did this” or “so and so went here.”

Rider moved to Phippsburg from Kentucky in 1936 when her father got a job working for the railroad. During her younger years she worked in restaurants and baby-sat, all the while keeping tabs on her neighbors and the community.

“I do it because of the people,” she said. “I’ve had people tell me, ‘Don’t quit the paper because you’re the only one who knows the old-timers.’ It’s because I am an old-timer, I tell them.”

Rider moved to the Doak Walker Care Center after making plans to live there with her brother, Mark Williams. After Williams passed away, Rider decided to stick with their plan and leave her beloved home and community.

“My neighbors were very good to me, but they’ve got their own lives without having to worry about me, too,” she said. “I would like to thank everyone for what they did for me and Mark.”

Rider said she isn’t sure what will happen to “Town Talk” after she stops doing it.

“We’ll have to wait and see what happens,” she said.

Visitors are welcome at her new home, she added.

– To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

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