An instant ‘classic’ at Sidney Peak Ranch |

An instant ‘classic’ at Sidney Peak Ranch

When a couple hundred people are sitting in a barn on a Sunday evening just before Labor Day, and the auctioneer is taking bids on a pickup load of hay, and most heads are covered with a Stetson of one shape or another, it must be a real ranch auction, right?

Well, what if there is barbecue being served at one end of the bar and the Yampa Valley Boys are playing in the middle of the barn and a group of children in their jeans and T-shirts are playing with toy trucks and toy dirt bikes at the other end of the barn?

It’s still a real ranch auction, with some distractions thrown in, right?

Well, what if the auction items include dinners from many of Steamboat’s finest restaurants, fancy bedding from the Vermont Country Store, a chair from the Burgess Creek chairlift, services from lawyers and financial advisors, and a winter ski package for the Cowboy Downhill? And what if the people sitting around having dinner range from new arrivals to the community to those whose families homesteaded the valley more than 100 years ago?

With all these clues, it can only be the Community Agriculture Alliance having its first annual Cayuse Classic fundraiser at Sydney Peak Ranch. And it must be the Ag Alliance doing just exactly what it set out to do – bringing together the diverse population that makes up our community for an evening of dining, fun, shopping and entertainment.

The “barn” had started out on Sunday morning as a large, clean and nearly spotless horse arena, and by early evening had been converted into a banquet room with a stage, dance floor and kids play area. Around the perimeter of the arena were many silent auction items that were so diverse as to appeal to almost every interest. Two major sponsors of the Cayuse Classic – Sydney Peak Ranch and the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. – provided a solid foundation for this event and supported this community party with facilities and auction items.

The Ag Alliance Board and its executive director, Marsh Daughenbaugh, along with a number of interested community volunteers devoted countless hours to locating auction items and organizing the items and the events. They all did an amazing job of putting this event together in just a few short months.

When all was said and done, the ranching community and the business/resort community had come together once again to celebrate. Neighbors who might never have otherwise met sat down for dinner and swapped stories of mutual acquaintances. Little children were able to visit with members of longtime local ranching families – like Elaine Gay and Vernon Summer – and hear stories of the valley’s history.

If you were not there and feel as if you might have missed something special, you did. But this was only the first annual Cayuse Classic, and the planning for the second one will start shortly. There will be plenty of opportunity to help with the planning and preparation that will go in to making the second Classic better than the first. In the meantime, there are ongoing opportunities to get involved in the agricultural history of our valley. They start with the Ranch Rendezvous Days at the ski area this weekend and are followed by the upcoming college class, Land Stewardship 101. And there are plenty of Community Ag events on the calendar for anyone who wants to participate.

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