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Steamboat Scuttlebutt







Packing a punch

That lightning storm that passed through Steamboat the evening of Aug. 27 was a doozey. Just ask the Yampa Valley Electiric Association, which says the strikes hit 13th Street around the Fairview and Dream Island areas, knocking power out for 45 minutes. In all, 166 association members were affected by outage. “Surprisingly there weren’t more outages, but the lightning was striking cloud to cloud instead of cloud to ground,” says YVEA communications manager Tammi McKenzie. Lineman Perry Baker admits that the storm “was pretty intense” and that their troubleshooting truck even almost got struck. McKenzie says the lightning must have hit several times because it knocked out three fuses. Fun fact: The strikes could have contained up to 1 billion volts and billions of watts.

New cat for Chief



Don’t be surprised if you hear some purring joining the applause at Chief Theater shows. The cultural center officially adoped a new cat. domestic short-hair 6-year-old stray from the animal shelter, affectionately named Inky for its black color. “It was in pretty bad shape, but it’s great. I just love cats. It was a good way to save a cat.” As for those with allergies, Parker adds it shouldn’t be a problem. “It lives upstairs in my office,” he says. “It’ll only venture down for shows it likes.”

Skydiving son



With 2,400 jumps under his belt as a professional skydiver, local Zachary R. Sabel, 38, is well used to the vacuum created behind him as he plummets back to Earth. He’s getting accustomed to the land-based kind as well, returning to Steamboat this past April to help his dad run The Carpet Shoppe. “Basicaly, I traveled the country from coast to coast helping out at sky diving events,” says Sabel, who spent the last year running a sky diving school in Chicago. “But we realy missed the mountains and it’s great to be back.” And by the way, the owner of three world skydiving records, two national records and nine state records says that dead airspace above you isn’t called a vacuum; technically it’s known as a “burble.” Info: http://www.zrsbodyflight.com

Crane factoids

The fourth annual Yampa Valley Crane Festival has officially flown the coop, but not without giving festival-goers one of the country’s best weekends around marveling at the ancient aviaries. With the Bud Werner Memorial Library as its headquarters, the festival included five days of guided crane viewings, birding walks, expert speakers, films, photography and journaling workshops, kids’ activities, sketch-a-bird workshops and more.

Did you know?

  • Cranes are the oldest living species of bird, dating back 10 million years.
  • Sandhill cranes begin to arrive in the Yampa valley in early March and leave by late September.
  • Greater Sandhill Cranes can reach 5 feet tall, weigh 14 lbs., and have a wingspan of 6 feet.
  • Adult cranes have grey feathers. They paint them with iron-laden mud and vegetation to turn them rust-color for camouflage during breeding season.
  • Cranes can live 15-20 years.
  • With moves passed down from parents, dancing lets rivals assess one another before courtship. They’re considered the most accomplished dancers in the animal kingdom, other than people.
  • Cranes’ communication system signals danger and keeps the group together. Their calls can be heard up to a mile away.
  • Cranes can fly up to 500 miles in a single day, often as high as 13,000 feet.

Fish conductor

As conductor of the Omaha and Steamboat Symphony orchestras, Ernest Richardson is used to waving his batons around. But a closer look at his batons’ tips reveals another passion involving swinging a rod back and forth — this time over a stream instead of a symphony. Inlaid into each baton tip are his two favorite flies for the Yampa River: a Rusty spinner and chartreuse midge pupa. “That’s what I use every time I come here,” says Richardson, as avid a caster as he is a conductor. “I came up with the idea to inlay them in there when I was working on my house in Omaha.” Similarities between the two motions, he says, depends on the music. “If the music is broad and sweeping, you don’t use much wrist, just like fly fishing,” he says. “And once you’re in the zone, both the music and water compel your gestures.”


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