Leckenby and Larson Awards

Every year the Leckenby and Larson Awards Committee, associated with the Tread of Pioneers Museum, presents two awards that honor persons who have enriched the quality of life in Routt County. These citizens have served our public institutions, preserved our local history, or contributed significantly to the county's heritage. Since 1980, the museum has bestowed the Leckenby Pioneer Award to a living person in Routt County. Since 1982, the museum has presented the Stanley L. Larson Award posthumously. The museum calls for nominations from the public each year to assure community-wide representation.

For both awards, the committee considers the individual's involvement in community activities such as volunteerism, supporting organizations, and serving on various boards and advisory groups. Awardees have often inspired the next generation by working with youth and others, are dedicated to preserving local history, and make the community a better place to live for all.

The nominees for the Leckenby Pioneer Award:

1. Have lived a total of 30 years or more in the county, but do not have to be living here now.

2. Are involved with the community, responsive to community needs, and serve as representatives of the history of the community.

3. Demonstrate personal integrity.                                                                

4. Are inspirational to youth.

Past recipients of the Leckenby Award: Ferry Carpenter, Walt Webber, Lewis Phillips, Ayliffe and Henry Zehner, Dorothy Wither, John "Doc" Utterback, Margaret Rossi, Val Fitzpatrick, Bobby Robinson Sr., Evelyn and Quentin Semotan, Gordy Wren, Eldon Brummett, Effie Baily, Eleanor Bliss, Vernon Summer, Marvin Elkins, Pat Holderness, Lowell Whiteman, Dee Richards, Don Lufkin, Pete Wither, Elaine Gay, Bill Bowes, Natalie Stanko, Linda Long, Frances Wither, Sam Haslem, Dr. Bill Baldwin, Mary Jean Perry, Bud and Jane Romberg, Donna Hellyer, Judy Green, Peter “Mike” Yurich, Bill McKelvie, Bill Gay, Jim Stanko, Jerry Green, Marion Gibson, Noreen Moore, Paul and Ellen Bonnifield, Jack Sprengle, and Arianthe Stettner.


For her tireless volunteerism and dedication to Routt County history, the 2022 Larson Award recipient is Rita Herold. Herold and her family live and operate a 5th generation ranch outside Yampa, Colorado.

Herold's passion for history developed early in life as she grew up listening to the stories of the area told by her father, grandfather, and great-uncles. As a guest speaker throughout Routt County, Herold has given numerous historical talks, tours, and lectures. She recently wrote two published books, Yampa Valley's Lost Egeria Park and Hidden History of Routt County.

Over her career, she taught kindergarten through twelfth grade and worked as an adjunct history professor for Colorado Northwestern Community College (CNCC) and Colorado Mountain College (CMC).

Herold has always been active in the community serving as a longtime 4-H leader and County Fair volunteer. She has been a board member and volunteer for the Cattle Women's Association, Routt County Historic Preservation Review Board, and the Yampa-Egeria Historical Society.

As her daughter, Nita Naugle notes, "I cannot remember a time in my life when Mom wasn't continuing her education and learning. She taught me the importance of volunteering and making the community a better place. Her example of contributing has shaped the course of my life."

The qualifications for the Stanley L. Larson Award:

1. The nominees must have lived in Routt County and are now deceased.

2. The nominees must have made a significant contribution to Routt County.

Past recipients of the Larson Award: Claude Luekens, James H. Crawford, Charles H. Leckenby, Dr. F.E. Willett, James Norvell, Charles Neiman, Minnie Hertzog, Carl Howelsen, Everett Bristol, Lulita Crawford Pritchett, Emma Willcockson, Bob Gay, Winnie Carroll, Charlotte Perry, Portia Mansfield, Joseph “Shorty” Hamidy, Thomas I. Lindley, William S. “Bill” Green, Gates Gooding, Dr. John V. Solandt, George Cook, Delano Scott, Sumner Hockett, Geraldine Elkins, Clarence Light, Delmar Vance Coyner, Robert “Bob” Moss, Chuck Fulton, John Fetcher, Bill Meek, Don Brookshire, Benita Bristol, Jan Vail, Jan Leslie, Lewis Kemry, Jim Golden, Wes Signs, Lucile Bogue, Leon Wilkins, and Al Wegeman..


Marcellus Samuel Merrill is the recipient of the 2022 Stanley L. Larson Award. Four-year-old Merrill (Celly) and his family arrived in Steamboat Springs by stagecoach in 1905. They were later joined by Merrill’s grandfather, who had started several businesses, including the First National Bank on Lincoln Avenue.

Merrill always fondly remembered his time growing up in Steamboat Springs and was involved in Routt County until passing in 1986. He made his living in Denver as an inventor and owner of Merrill Engineering Laboratories and Merrill Axle and Wheel Service. He spent much of his free time hunting, fishing, camping, and skiing in Routt County. Despite his success as an inventor and businessman in the automotive industry, Merrill never forgot his Steamboat friends. During the Great Depression, when he started his business, he employed many Routt County people, which he continued to do throughout his career.

Merrill and his two brothers, Hollis and Conrad, learned to ski jump with Carl Howelsen in 1913. Merrill loved skiing and began awarding the Merrill Trophy, in memory of his brothers, for the longest-standing jump (without regard to style) at the annual Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival in 1940. He became a partner in Groswold Ski Company in Denver, inventing and patenting the first American 3-point binding in 1935. In the 1950s, Merrill created skis on rollers to allow the Steamboat Springs High School Band to march in a summertime parade down Michigan Boulevard in Chicago. He also invented and sold a car-top ski carrier to the A&P Co. of Seattle. In 1978, Merrill was inducted into the Colorado Ski (now Snowsports) Museum Hall of Fame.

Through his countless stories, tales, and letters to the editor in the Steamboat Pilot, and stories his grandson compiled in the book, Steamboat Springs: Memories of a Young Colorado Pioneer, Merrill has captured an essential and entertaining glimpse into the everyday happenings and attitudes of early day Steamboat Springs and its citizens.

Leckenby Awards

Bailey, Effie (1992):

for her leadership in the community. Bailey was born in Routt County in 1909. While raising her children alone after her husband’s death, she bid on and won a mail route from Hamilton to Pyramid, which she ran for several years. She then moved to Hayden, so her children could attend high school. She was especially proud of her efforts to help establish the Hayden Power Station and Yampa Valley Airport. Her most outstanding contribution was the establishment of the Hayden Heritage Center, which is located in the old Moffat Railroad Depot in Hayden. She was the District Noble Grand of Rebekah’s, I.O.O.F, District Commander of the American Legion Auxiliary and she served as an officer in numerous other organizations.

Baldwin, Bill (2007):

for his leadership in the community. Baldwin is a former member of the Steamboat Springs School Board and the boards of directors for Colorado Mountain College and the Yampa Valley Land Trust. He exemplifies local heritage, ranching, traditions and community involvement not only for those who share the valley today but also for all who follow in his footsteps.

Bliss, Eleanor (1993):

for her leadership and dedication to education and the arts. Bliss was the first female member of New York City’s prestigious Explorers Club. She spearheaded the drive to remodel the Depot and make it the home of the Steamboat Springs Arts Council. She was also a supporter of the Lowell Whiteman School and the Perry-Mansfield Camp, which she attended in 1924.

Bonnifield, Paul and Ellen (2019):

for their dedication to education and preserving local history. The Bonnifields are local historians and author the “Bonnifield Files”, a local history column, in the Valley Voice. Paul has been a rancher, miner, and educator. Ellen is a poet and was the first librarian at Colorado Mountain College’s Leadville campus, and has taught elementary, high school, and college classes.

Bowes, Bill (2002):

for his dedication to local skiing heritage. Bowes, a Steamboat Springs resident since 1963, received the Leckenby Pioneer Award in recognition of his service to the sport of skiing. He was the West Coast Intercollegiate champion in slalom and downhill, as well as the Western Canadian champion around 1940. He interrupted his college education and entered the Army, serving three years in the famed 10th Mountain Division. During his tenure in the 10th Mountain Division, Bowes met Steamboat Springs Olympian Gordy Wren, who planted glowing reports of the Yampa Valley in his fellow soldier’s mind. After earning a Master’s degree in mining geology from Utah State University, Bowes went to work for the Atomic Energy Commission and private geology concerns. Upon moving his family to Steamboat Springs, Bowes established his own firm, consulting with clients in the fields of geology and mining. He served on the original county Planning Commission, chaired the Winter Carnival for several years, and served on the board of directors of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. He was its president for several terms.

Brummett, Eldon (1991):

for his leadership in the community. Brummett and his wife and daughter moved to Steamboat Springs after WWII in 1946. He started his own accounting business and a stationary supply store. He was also the secretary and treasurer for the SSWSC for many years. He was secretary of the Recreation Council, president of the Northwest Colorado Board of Realtors, member of the Chamber of Commerce, member of the Lions Club, and served two terms on the Town Council.

Carpenter, Ferry (1980):

for his leadership and dedication to local agriculture. Carpenter originally came west for health reasons in his teens. He eventually attended Princeton University to study law, and after he graduated he homesteaded near Hayden. He was a cattle breeder and lawyer in Hayden. He became one of the most informed people on land and grazing laws, and was eventually asked to go to Washington, D.C., to help draft a national policy bill, which became the 1934 Taylor Grazing Bill, and he became the first National Director of Grazing. He served as the state’s first Director of Revenue under Governor Ralph Carr. He was named Colorado Stockman of the Year, and has, over the years, been Routt County attorney, District Attorney, and Denver University’s first Director of Development. He tackled numerous public service projects, from raising funds to building a modern hospital for Hayden, to planning a large-scale development program for Denver University. At the age of 65 he was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives, serving with distinction. His public service also included school and town board memberships and 27 years of dedication to the Solandt Hospital board.

Elkins, Marvin (1995):

for his leadership in the community. Elkins was born near Milner in 1916. He served for more than 2 years in the 10th Mountain Division during WWII. He was a member of the Selective Service Board, Commander of the American Legion, President of the Steamboat Springs Ski Club, town board member, mayor, president of the Chamber of Commerce, and member of Club 20. He was also appointed as a State Parks Board member. He had a large role in developing Steamboat Lake and establishing the Hayden Airport.

FitzPatrick, Val (1986):

for his leadership and work with the newspaper. FitzPatrick worked with many newspapers, including The Pilot—he started the Herald in Oak Creek, the Haxton Harvest in eastern Colorado, and bought the failing Seibert Settler, turning it into a successful newspaper once again. He was a part of organizations involving people around the world. A partial list includes: Haxton and Seibert Community Bands, National Directory Co., The Plainsmen’s Association, Days of the Old West, No-Name Psychology, Hawaiian Memories, Plains Conservatoire, Mystic River Mines, and Back Trail Bunch. He mined uranium in Northwest Colorado, and eventually he found himself acting as advisor to 52 individuals and companies around the world. He wrote many books about many topics, include the Ute Indians and life in the West.

Gay, Bill (2014):

for his leadership and dedication to local agriculture. Gay is a son of pioneers. He was so deeply involved in 4-H that he was chosen to become a 4-H delegate who traveled abroad and returned to share with others the lessons he had learned, and later became the coach of the youth livestock judging team for more than 20 years, leading them to winning performances. He has also served on the boards of the Yampa Valley Land Trust and the Purchase of Development Rights program. Gay and his mother, Elaine, received the 2002 Colorado Riparian Stewardship Award for protecting streams and the Yampa River on their ranch south of Steamboat Springs.

Gay, Elaine (2001):

for her leadership in the community. Gay and her late husband, Bob, were instrumental in a 25-year struggle to preserve the area surrounding their ranch about eight miles south of Steamboat Springs. The Gays maintained their dignity and western hospitality through many years of resisting the original plans to transform the Lake Catamount area with construction of a major ski area and a resort village with enough dwelling units for 10,000 people. Gay authored a book How Pleasant is the Valley, which preserves memories and tales of everyday ranching life. She met annually with local fourth-graders to talk about forgotten implements used for accomplishing farm and ranch chores in another era.

Gibson, Marion (2017):

for her dedication to her work as a nurse and helping the community. Gibson was smitten with Steamboat Springs in the midst of a 1960 road trip along U.S. Highway 40 from her home in Pennsylvania. She worked as a school nurse in Hayden for three decades and claimed a Florence Nightingale Award along the way. She also started a children’s ski club in Hayden, and delivered Meals on Wheels until they told Marion she couldn’t drive anymore.

Green, Jerry (2016):

for his leadership and contributions to preserving local history. Green was born in the Solandt Hospital in Hayden and was raised on his family’s ranch. As a boy, his first six years of school were spent in one-room school houses in Dunstan (organized in 1892) and Beardsley (organized 1913). He is credited with helping the museum in Hayden achieve financial stability—the foundation that allowed it to evolve into a year-round facility with a paid curator and two paid summer docents. Green served on the board of directors of the Hayden Heritage Center for more than 35 years and as its treasurer for more than 30 years. Green and his wife, Judy, have supported Hayden High School sports, the Masons/Worthy Matron, Pioneer Picnic, County Fair, and Historic Routt County.

Green, Judy (2011):

for her dedication to preserving local history. Green grew up on a wheat farm near Strasbourg and went on to attend Colorado State University, where she earned a degree in biology and a teaching certificate while showing off her rodeo skills by twice qualifying for the College National Finals Rodeo. In the process, she caught the eye of Jerry Green, her future husband. They taught together in the public schools in Grover before moving back to Jerry’s hometown of Hayden to take over the ranch begun by his great-grandfather in 1895. She was a founding member of Historic Routt County’s barn preservation program, and she received the preservation award from Historic Routt County in 2001. A longtime member of the Routt County CattleWomen, she was named CattleWoman of the Year in 1999. Judy and Jerry Green were recognized in 2008 for the efforts to preserve Western heritage by the Community Agricultural Alliance.

Haslem, Sam (2006):

for his dedication to local agriculture. Haslem was nominated for the award because of his accomplishments with the Routt County Extension Office. He worked to expand the Routt County Fair by bringing water and electricity access to the fairgrounds and by mentoring generations of 4-H youth. Haslem’s work with developing the sheep industry in Routt County and work with the National Western Stock Show also were mentioned.

Hellyer, Donna (2010):

for her leadership in the community. The Hellyers first came to the Yampa Valley in 1952 and became pioneers of the off-the-slope activities that ski vacationers have come to expect. Hellyer is a longtime planning commissioner in the town of Hayden and with Routt County government. However, she may be just as well known for her sourdough rolls and the sleigh rides she and her late husband, Del, ran for several decades at the base of Steamboat Springs Ski Area. In the early 1970s, guests paid $14 or $15 for a sleigh ride up the hill to a tent, where they settled in for a chuck steak dinner with baked potato, fruit salad and sourdough rolls. The authentic rolls were made from 100-year-old starter given to Donna Hellyer by a pair of old-timers. She helped develop a historical walking tour of Hayden, served on the volunteer staff of the Hayden Heritage Center, and was co-chairperson of the Hayden affiliate of the Northwest Colorado Cultural Heritage Tourism Initiative; she has also served on the Hayden Chamber of Commerce Board, Yampa Valley Film Board, Hayden Artisans’ Market, the garden club, and the farmers market.

Herold, Rita (2022):

for her dedication to preserving local history. Herold’s family owns and operates a fifth-generation ranch outside Yampa. She has written two books on Routt County history: Yampa Valley’s Lost Egeria Park and Hidden History of Routt County. She has been a board member and volunteer for the CattleWomen’s Association, Routt County Historic Preservation Review Board, and the Yampa-Egeria Historical Society.

Holderness, Pat (1996):

for her leadership in the community. Holderness was born to a pioneer family at the Solandt Hospital in Hayden. She started a landscaping and nursery business, became a member of the Routt County Planning Commission, and was president of the Hayden Chamber of Commerce. She was a Routt County Commissioner from 1980-1984. She was a charter member of the International Order of Rainbow for Girls, a 4-H leader, and in 1982, she donated property to the Town of Hayden for an expansion of the town park.

Leckenby, Charles (1984):

for his leadership and work with the newspaper. Leckenby has been associated with The Pilot since 1889, when he arrived in Steamboat Springs. In the more than 60 years that he was with the paper as a printer, editor, and publisher, he guided it to its high place as one of the leading newspapers of Colorado. His constant urging was one of the factors that brought the building of the Moffat Tunnel, when inadequate railroad transportation so hampered the growth of the county—he was one of the members of the original Moffat Tunnel commission and the last surviving member of the group that was in charge of boring the six mile bore under the Continental Divide. He also served as mayor of Steamboat Springs and for a number of years was clerk of the district court.

Long, Linda (2004):

for her leadership in the community. Long has spent 32 years serving as a Routt County Fair superintendent, 28 years as a local 4-H leader, 20 years as a fair judge, 15 years as a fair association board member and 10 years as a member of the Colorado State Fair Board. In 2003, she was named the state’s fairperson of the year. She has volunteered with the South Routt School District for more than three decades, and she serves on its School Board. The granddaughter of Routt County homesteaders, Long quickly learned to appreciate the history and culture of the area, and she has a strong sense of devotion to helping others.

Lufkin, Don (1999):

for his leadership in the community. Lufkin was born in Steamboat Springs in 1923. He served in the Navy during WWII, working as a diesel mechanic on an APA landing craft in the South Pacific and Philippine Islands, before returning to Steamboat Springs to ranch. In addition to other causes, he donated money to help build the Lufkin LIFT-UP Center, the Lufkin Library at the Tread of Pioneers Museum, and the Lufkin Atrium in a wing of the Yampa Valley Medical Center. His favorite causes were those benefiting youths, seniors and promoting the health of residents of the Yampa Valley, all of which he funded through the Lufkin Family Endowment Fund of the Yampa Valley Community Foundation. He served on the board of the Routt Memorial Hospital for more than 15 years, including two as president; served on the board of the Routt County Foundation for Senior Citizens; and the board for the Mesa Schoolhouse as well as the committee to acquire and refurbish the school. He also was a longtime member of Rotary, the Routt County Cattlemen’s Association, Colorado Cattlemen Association, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and United Methodist Church of Steamboat Springs.

McKelvie, Bill (2013):

for his leadership and contributions to preserving local history. McKelvie came to Steamboat Springs in 1973 and spent 30 years teaching in the high school. He started the Three Wire Winter magazine, which was written and photographed by students in his classes, along with fellow English teacher Tanna Brock, prior to the United States Bicentennial Celebration. The magazine featured local history told through the words of those who had lived it. He has been the chairperson and a driving force of the Northwest Colorado Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation for many years, continues to volunteer at Steamboat Springs and South Routt schools, and has been known to dress up as a mountain man to share his passion for history with students by talking about early trappers and explorers.

Moore, Noreen (2018):

for her leadership and contributions to preserving local history. Moore moved to Routt County in 1972, where she lived and ran a restaurant with her late husband, Dinty. Her work in South Routt has included helping to build a youth center, organizing efforts to make improvements in Yampa following the Royal Hotel fire, and most recently, working to restore Crossan’s M & A Market. Moore was a key player with Friends of Crossan’s, the group that raised money and worked to renovate the historic Yampa building into a space to house the local museum, town offices, and community space.

Perry, Mary Jean (2008):

for her leadership in the community. Perry, whose great-grandfather homesteaded the region known as Egeria, started the first library in South Routt. Today, she works in the Yampa Library and operates her own library in Toponas. The Toponas library, in a room above her home, was public until just a few years ago. But anyone is still welcome to drop by. Her greatest contribution might have been her determined work on behalf of rural electrification, an effort that spanned three decades.

Phillips, Lewis (1982):

for his leadership in the community. Phillips was born in Routt County in 1902 and lived here his whole life. Besides ranching, he operated the Montgomery Store in Yampa and was the caretaker of the Yampa Cemetery for more than 30 years. He was also active in the churches, including St. Paul’s Episcopal and the Egeria Lodge in Yampa, where he served as secretary for more than 40 years.

Richards, Dee (1998):

for her leadership and contributions to preserving local history. Richards moved to Steamboat Springs in 1950 and was editor of The Pilot from 1966 to 1989. After she retired, she was in Sri Lanka with the Peace Corps for two years. She then returned to Steamboat Springs in 1993 and worked with the Routt County Planning Department. She also wrote the book Steamboat ‘Round the Bend, about the history and development of the town.

Robinson, Bobby, Sr. (1988):

for his leadership in the community. Robinson’s family homesteaded in Elkhead when he was four years old. He attended first grade at the Rock School House the first year it opened. He started a construction company, Robinson Construction, in 1945. He was very active in the community, serving on the Hayden City Council, the Solandt Hospital Board, the Routt County Fair Board, the Babson Carpenter Board, and was one of the founders of the Yampa Valley State Bank—he has been on that board since its inception and was the chairman when the bank was recently sold.

Romberg, Jane and Bud (2009):

for their leadership and dedication to education. In 1966, Bud Romberg was hired at Steamboat Springs High School to teach science. In 1969, Jane Romberg began working with the Steamboat Springs School District as an elementary school media specialist. What followed were lengthy careers not only in local education, but also in numerous civic and community groups, activities and boards. Bud Romberg served on the board of directors for what is now Old Town Hot Springs for 40 years, Steamboat Springs School Board for more than 10 years, Steamboat Springs City Council, Kiwanis Club, Urban Redevelopment Area Advisory Committee, and more. Jane Romberg served on the Steamboat Springs Arts Council board from 1989 to 1992, LIFT-UP of Routt County, the League of Women Voters, Yampa Valley Medical Center Auxiliary, American Association of University Women, the former Community Concert Association, the local Jewish congregation Har Mishpacha, which Bud Romberg also is active with, and more.

Rossi, Margaret (1986):

for her leadership and dedication to nursing. Rossi moved to Oak Creek with her family when she was 15, and graduated from Oak Creek High School in 1939. She was instrumental in starting the Northwest Colorado chapter of the Visiting Nurses Association, she worked at the one-bed hospital in Oak Creek, helped lay the ground work for elderly transportation in Routt County, was active in church work, president of the Yampa Historical Society, and served on the Yampa Town Board.

Semotan, Evelyn and Quentin (1989):

for their dedication to local agriculture. Evelyn was born in Wolcott in 1902. She was on the founding board of the YVEA, and later became its president. She was also on the Routt County Memorial Hospital board for ten years. She kept her ranch going through the Great Depression, even tripling its size. Evelyn and Quentin helped form the American Quarter Horse Association. Quentin was born in the Deep Creek area in 1912. After he and Evelyn married in 1936, they began breeding horses, and registered some of the first horses in the newly developed Quarter Horse registry.

Sprengle, Jack (2020):

for his leadership in the community. Sprengle moved to Steamboat Springs in 1941 at the age of 10. After graduating from CSU and serving a tour of duty in Korea, he returned to Steamboat Springs and was well known as a local banker. He was a 4-H leader for 20 years, and worked with both the Routt County and Steamboat Springs planning committees, as well as being active in the Steamboat Springs Lions Club and Holy Name Catholic Church; he spent 12 years on the Board of the Steamboat Springs Health and Recreation Association (now the Old Town Hot Springs), served on the Cemetery Board, and has volunteered at Lift-Up and the Tread of Pioneers Museum for more than 20 years.

Stanko, Jim (2015):

for his leadership in the community. Stanko is a third-generation rancher and veteran. He was a former Tread of Pioneers board member who has volunteered with the museum in some capacity since 1976. He is also involved in the local community in many ways, including as a veteran involved with the local chapters of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion, as a 4-H volunteer, and in numerous projects at the Steamboat Springs Cemetery.

Stanko, Natalie (2003):

for her dedication to education. Stanko who lived in Routt County for almost 70 years, is known for her teaching and volunteering career. She was recognized for her teaching career, in which she taught sixth-grade classes and also substitute-taught classes. She influenced the community through raising her two children, helping with her friends’ children, and serving in 4-H clubs and church, according to her nomination letter.

Stettner, Arianthe (2021):

for her dedication to preserving local history. Stettner helped to found Historic Routt County in the 1990s. She has been passionate about educating the public about Steamboat Springs’ historic places and the importance of preserving them. She has been instrumental in helping to preserve historic buildings in Routt County.

Summer, Vernon (1994):

for his leadership in the community. Summer was born in Steamboat Springs in 1917. Vernon spent many hours of his youth on the slopes and ski jumps of Howelsen Hill and later joined Jim Temple, John Fetcher, Buddy Werner, and others in skiing and studying the potential of a soon-to-be developed ski area on the flanks of Storm Mountain, now known as Mount Werner. He continued there as a charter member of the ski patrol for many years and continued to ski recreationally until he was nearly 90. He served on Steamboat Springs’ first planning commission as well as a special commission to build the jail west of town. Along with his wife, he was a longtime board member and supporter of the Tread of Pioneers Museum. He was an encyclopedia of local history and recalled with detail families and events that shaped this community. He had the ability to make history come alive with his endless recollection of stories.

Utterback, John “Doc” (1985):

for his leadership in the community. Utterback came to Steamboat Springs “a babe in arms, on a four-horse stage” when he was about ten months old. He went to CSU to become a veterinarian, and graduated in 1935. He was county commissioner for eight years, and won County Commissioner of the Year for Colorado in 1975.

Webber, Walter Raymond (1981):

for his leadership in the community. In 1922, Webber accepted the job of operating the electric plant for the coal company at Bear River and Coalview. Five years later, he moved to Steamboat Springs and opened an electrical services and supply shop, Webber’s Electric (later W-B Electric). He was responsible for the colored lights on the courthouse every Christmas. He also purchased a sound truck, which he used for announcements, as well as during parades and Winter Carnival. He was a member of the Lion’s Club, the Chamber of Commerce, and both veteran’s organizations.

Whiteman, Lowell (1997):

for his dedication to education. Whiteman was born in 1918 in Hayden. He taught fencing, among other things, at the Perry-Mansfield Camp from 1937-1942, and again from 1946-1963. He served as a deck officer for the Navy Reserve during WWII. He eventually opened the Lowell Whiteman Ranch for boys in 1946 in Strawberry Park to complement the Perry-Mansfield girls’ camp. The Whiteman School, a college prep boarding school, was founded in 1957.

Wither, Dorothy (1984):

for her leadership and dedication to preserving local history. Wither was born in Steamboat Springs in 1903. She was a lifetime resident of Routt County, a member of the Christian Science Church, PEO Sisterhood, past member of the Ladies' Recreation Club, Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, and Colorado Mountain College. She was a past treasurer and charter member of the Tread of Pioneers Museum, on the board of the Steamboat Springs Health and Recreation Association, and the Hahn's Peak Historical Society. Since founding the Tread of Pioneers Museum in 1959, Dorothy spent many hours helping the museum grow to its present state. She was also a long-time supporter of the city library and was a member of the Yampa Valley Foundation that helps guide the college.

Wither, Frances (2005):

for her dedication to preserving local history. Wither moved to town in 1937 after college to be with her future husband, Bob Wither. The two married in January 1940. She volunteered at the Tread of Pioneers Museum in those early years and served on the board of directors for 38 years.

Wither, Pete (2000):

for his leadership in the community. Wither’s grandparents were involved with the gold rush to Hahn’s Peak in 1888 until the gold went dry in 1902. The couple then moved to Steamboat Springs, where they owned a mercantile. Wither may be best known for his 30 years of work with the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. Until 1999, he was the company’s ski patrol director. Wither was a City Council member from 1983 to 1991 and has been the president of the Tread of Pioneers Museum, Rocky Mountain Youth Corp, and the Routt County Riders Bicycle Club. He also is the vice president of the Parks and Recreation Commission. In 1991, Wither convinced Ski Corp. to develop the mountain bike trail system on the mountain.

Wren, Gordon (1990):

for his contributions to local skiing heritage. Wren was born Jan. 5, 1919, in Steamboat Springs. He served in the 10th Mountain Division during World War II before qualifying for the Olympics. Wren was among the most successful U.S. alpine and cross-country skiers and ski jumpers. In addition to his fifth place finish in ski jumping in the 1948 Winter Olympics, Wren was the first American to jump 300 feet. He was inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame and the National Ski Hall of Fame. He returned from the Olympics to coach the racing program at Steamboat Springs. He became the first general manager of Steamboat Springs ski area in the 1960s.

Yurich, Peter “Mike” (2012):

for his dedication to preserving local history. Yurich was born in Oak Creek and lived in his childhood home until 2010, save for a 15-year stint in the Peace Corps, during which he served in many countries. He has compiled oral histories and newspaper clippings that tell the strong influence of mining in Routt County and has written and edited a large number of books and pamphlets. He continues to volunteer six days each week at the Tracks and Trails Museum, which opened July 28, 2007, in the old, renovated Town Hall building in Oak Creek and is full of his collected historic artifacts, photographs and documents.

Zehner, Ayliffe and Henry (1983):

for their leadership in the community. Ayliffe was born in 1906 on her family’s ranch north of Hayden. She was a member of the Hayden Congregational Church, and was active in organizations such as the P.E.O., Eastern Star, Women’s Fellowship, and The Last Frontier. Henry was superintendent of schools in Steamboat Springs, served for many years as president of the Routt County Council on Aging, and has been active with the Lions Club, Masonic Lodge, Eastern Star, Congregational Church, and the Rock and Gem Society. Henry and Ayliffe were co-grand marshals of the Routt County Fair.

Larson Award Winners

Bogue, Lucile (2019):

for her dedication to education in the community. Bogue taught in Yampa Valley elementary and high schools for 20 years, including in one-room schoolhouses. She helped to found Yampa Valley College, now Colorado Mountain College, in 1962. She won the Hazie Werner award in 1992, and has written many poems, plays and books—she was Colorado’s Poet of the Year in 1942.

Bristol, Benita (2013):

for her dedication to furthering education. Bristol was born in 1922 on the ranch where her grandfather homesteaded at the foot of Yellowjacket Pass. She graduated from high school in 1939. She was involved in many different aspects of the community throughout the years including Girls Scouts, Boy Scouts, and 4-H; she was active as a member of Business and Professional Women, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion Auxiliaries, The League of Women Voters, Kiwanis (where she was the first female member of the previously all male club); and was involved in Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, Toastmistress Club, Methodist Church and many other community organizations. She was responsible for kindergarten classes being started in the district in 1958, and getting the Eighth Street Bridge built so that children could get to the newly built elementary school. She served on the school district advisory committee and volunteered in the classrooms each year. She was a higher education advocate who attended the original meeting when plans for Steamboat Springs’ Yampa Valley College were set in motion, and she was a student on the campus. She enrolled in classes at the college in her 60s and received an associate degree in arts in 1985.

Bristol, Everett C. (1991):

for his community leadership. Bristol moved to Steamboat Springs in 1935 and graduated from Steamboat Springs High School. He was a charter member of both the Steamboat Kiwanis Club and the Toastmasters Club. He was a VFW Post Commander, president of the School Advisory Council, director of the Yampa Valley College Board (now Colorado Mountain College), chairman of the Colorado Alpine College Board of Trustees (now Colorado Mountain College), and president of the Chamber of Commerce.

Brookshire, Don (2012):

for his community leadership. Brookshire, the son of Elk River Valley ranching pioneers, served in the Navy on an aircraft carrier in World War II. He was a member of the first Steamboat Springs City Council, which was formed after the city adopted its home rule charter, and he served until 1996. Brookshire was a tireless contributor to the community through his support of young people with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and the high school, and he held every office in the local American Legion and VFW posts.

Carroll, Winnie Schurman (1995):

for her community leadership and dedication to education. In 1920, Carroll and her husband moved from Illinois to their recently-purchased ranch on the east fork of the Williams River, south of Hayden. They moved to Hayden in 1934 and she substituted in the schools and taught piano lessons. She wrote local news columns for The Pilot and Hayden Valley Press, was active in the Rebekahs, Civic Club, Women’s Fellowship, Legion Auxiliary, and as a 4-H leader. She was also a teacher and treasurer of the Hayden Congregational Church and was their organist for 42 years. The Carrolls became the number one licensed Family Foster Home in Colorado, fostering 23 children over 25 years. She was also the oldest full-time student in the U.S. when she enrolled in the Master’s program in Archaeology at Brigham Young University at age 81.

Cook, George (2002):

for his dedication to local agriculture. Between 1935 and 1959, Cook served as chairman of the Cowboys Round Up rodeo held annually on the Fourth of July. He also was the rodeo director of the Routt County Fair for 25 years. A rancher, Cook made a significant civic contribution when he helped to organize the Yampa Valley Electric Association. He was the rural electrical cooperative’s treasurer in 1949. Shortly after his family moved here in 1916, Cook left the valley to serve in the 78th Infantry Division in France during World War I.

Coyner, Delmar Vance (2007):

for his dedication to improving the community. Coyner was a 22-year member of the Steamboat Springs Fire Department and the Yampa Valley Baptist Church in Craig. He worked as a contractor, ran his own auto mechanic business and worked maintenance for the Steamboat Springs School District. He was also a foster dad for more than 70 children.

Crawford, James (1983):

for his leadership in the community. Crawford came to Routt County in 1875 with his family and homesteaded near the many mineral springs in the area. He was one of the founders of Steamboat Springs and the first mayor of the town. He also founded the annual Pioneer Day on the Fourth of July. He represented this district twice in state legislature, was appointed the first county judge, was the first superintendent of schools, and the first postmaster.

Elkins, Geraldine (2005):

for her commitment to local education. Elkins was the Routt County school superintendent who enacted the state mandate to consolidate all the many disparate one-room schoolhouses into three distinct school districts. She was also one of the founders of the Steamboat Community Players in the 1950s, an acting company that performs to this day. She started the first preschool in Steamboat Springs.

Fetcher, John (2010):

for his dedication to local skiing. Fetcher was a Harvard-trained engineer turned North Routt rancher who was president of Steamboat Springs Ski Area when it installed its first gondola; he championed the ski jumps at Howelsen Hill, and worked to ensure water was available for agriculture and municipalities when he spearheaded the efforts to build Yamcolo, Stagecoach, and Steamboat Lake reservoirs. John Fetcher bought part of Stanley Larson’s (after whom the award is named) original ranch on the Elk River when he came to Routt County to create a new life for his family.

Fulton, Chuck (2009):

for his community leadership. Fulton was born in 1918 in the Elkhead area and moved to Hayden with his family as a youth. He was a glider pilot in World War II and carried the love of flight throughout his life, including flying as a member of the Steamboat Civil Air Patrol. He served one term as a Routt County commissioner in the 1950s and was a longtime member of the Hayden School Board.

Gay, Bob (1994):

for his commitment to local agriculture. Gay was born in the Pleasant Valley in 1915. He took over the operation of the family ranch when he was 16 years old after the death of his father, and operated a ranch in the valley for 63 years. He and his wife, Elaine, opposed the development of the Lake Catamount resort—they refused to sell their ranch to the developers, saying that “If you crowd everybody out, you aren’t going to have any open space.”

Golden, Jim (2017):

for his community leadership. Golden served as mayor from 1972 to 74, before the city of Steamboat Springs changed its charter and adopted the city manager/city council form of government. He led the Yampa Valley Electric Association into an era of unprecedented fiscal health. He was also a founding member of the Steamboat Springs Rotary and Toastmaster clubs and, with the late Del Scott, helped establish the Routt County Foundation for Senior Citizens, leading to the creation of three housing projects.

Gooding, Gates (2000):

for his dedication to local skiing heritage. Gooding, who has family lineage in Steamboat Springs dating back to the late 1800s, is one of the best symbols of the cohesive link between the city of Steamboat Springs and skiing in the Yampa Valley. He was the president of the Winter Sports Club, president of the Chamber of Commerce, and the city clerk for Steamboat Springs. As owner for the Routt County Abstract Company, many of the duties of the city, ski club, and chamber happened right in Gooding’s office. He also helped raise funds to send local skier Bud Werner to the Olympics in the ’60s and then was the driving force behind the construction and naming of the Bud Werner Library. He also was a 13-year member of the Ski Club Board, Winter Carnival chairman and chief of the cross-country course during events such as the Junior Nationals and the NCAA Championships.

Green, Bill (1999):

for his dedication to local agriculture. Green was born on the family homestead in the Williams Fork Valley in 1897. He was a member of the Routt County Cattlemen’s Association, the American Quarter Horse Association, and the Hayden Valley Roping Club, of which he was a charter member. He was a county road boss on the Williams Fork in the 1920s and 30s and maintained the roads with an eight-horse-powered road grader. He also served 16 years as Routt County Commissioner.

Hamidy, Joseph “Shorty” (1997):

for his leadership in the community. Hamidy worked as a coal miner in the Oak Creek coal fields, but later operated the lumber yard for Bell Mercantile and owned a hardware store for more than 40 years. He served as a Forest Service Advisor, chairman of the Board of Alpine Federal Savings, and with the Oak Creek Clinic.

Hertzog, Minnie (1988):

for her dedication to education. Hertzog homesteaded 8 miles south of Maybell with her husband in 1918. They lived there for 30 years, and she taught in one-room schoolhouses in the area. She and her husband moved to Steamboat Springs in 1949, where she continued teaching elementary school. She completed her 50-year teaching career as a teacher at Soda Creek Elementary in 1969, at the age of 78.

Hockett, Sumner (2004):

for his leadership in the community. Born in Oklahoma in 1911, Hockett moved with his family to Hayden eight years later. After serving for two years as a town councilman, Hockett became Hayden mayor in 1953. He was instrumental in promoting the Hayden Power Station, organizing the Hayden Fire District and pushing the town to join the Colorado Municipal League for guidance on future growth and development. Hockett worked with county officials to locate Yampa Valley Regional Airport outside of Hayden. He also was instrumental in organizing the Yampa Valley State Bank and served as president of its board. Hockett was a two-term Routt County commissioner and served on numerous county boards, including the Upper Yampa River Conservation Board.

Howelsen, Carl (1990):

for his contributions to local skiing heritage. Howelsen is known as the father of skiing in Colorado. When he came to Steamboat Springs in 1913, he also brought with him recreational skiing. Howelsen taught the people of Steamboat Springs to ski jump (himself an award-winning ski jumper), started the annual Winter Carnival, and founded the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.

Kemry, Lewis (2016):

for his commitment to local agriculture. Kemry was born on a ranch near Steamboat Springs, attended country schools, and graduated from Steamboat Springs High School before serving with the famed “Rainbow Division” in Europe during World War II. After his discharge, he returned to the family ranch on the Mesa and began developing a registered Hereford cattle herd. He later moved to a ranch on the lower Elk River, where he became one of the top Hereford breeders in the nation. He was president of the Routt County Stock Growers Association, a 65-year member of the American Legion (serving several times as Post Commander), and was the Finance Officer for the American Legion District for over 25 years.

Leckenby, Charles (1984):

for his leadership and work with the newspaper. Leckenby has been associated with The Pilot since 1889, when he arrived in Steamboat Springs. In the more than 60 years that he was with the paper as a printer, editor, and publisher, he guided it to its high place as one of the leading newspapers of Colorado. His constant urging was one of the factors that brought the building of the Moffat Tunnel, when inadequate railroad transportation so hampered the growth of the county—he was one of the members of the original Moffat Tunnel commission and the last surviving member of the group that was in charge of boring the six mile bore under the Continental Divide. He also served as mayor of Steamboat Springs and for a number of years was clerk of the district court.

Leslie, Jan (2015):

for her dedication to local education and history. Leslie was born in Steamboat Springs in 1938 and eventually moved to Hayden, where she was a teacher in the Hayden School District for 32 years. After she retired, she wrote three books: Windows to Yesterday: Routt County Rural Schools 1883-1960 was published in 1998 and detailed the history of local schoolhouses; she later co-published with her sister Anthracite, Barbee and Tosh: The History of Routt County and its Post Offices 1875-1971 in 2005 and in 2010 published Images of America: Hayden, a book containing 200 captioned vintage photographs of Hayden and the vanished coal town of Mount Harris.

Light, Clarence W. (2006):

for his leadership in the community. Light was one of F.M. Light’s sons and played a key role in building the downtown Steamboat Springs store into a regional franchise. He was always very active in Routt County—he always worked for the enhancement of the Steamboat Springs community through his work on the Steamboat Springs School Board, by serving as a charter member of the Steamboat Springs Lions Club, and as a member of the Commercial Club, which is now the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.

Lindley, Thomas I. (1998):

for his leadership in the community. Lindley moved to Steamboat Springs in 1950 and operated Lindley Sports for seven years. For 30 years after that, he was the office manager in accounting for YVEA. He was a member of the Steamboat Springs American Legion, the Rural Electric Accounting Association, the Steamboat Springs Lions Club, and a charter member of the Toastmasters.

Luekens, Claude (1982):

for his leadership in the community. Luekens served on the town board for 20 years, was mayor for 16 years, was a chairman of the Board of County Commissioners for 21 years, and was a 14-year member of the local Selective Service board. He was instrumental in building the Howelsen Hill ski lift and was also a director of the SSWSC. He was a charter member of the Steamboat Health and Recreation Association Board and held membership in the Chamber of Commerce, Lions Club, and American Legion.

Meek, Bill (2011):

for his commitment to local agriculture and schools. Meek worked with the school district from 1961 to 1994 and helped to accomplish the merger of the Oak Creek and Yampa schools. He was the kind of man who showed up unexpectedly on a South Routt cattle ranch to help brand calves or put up hay. And although his role at the school district always was demanding — sometimes requiring him to play multiple roles as superintendent and principal, wrestling coach or even bus driver — he also found time to volunteer as an emergency medical technician.

Merrill, Marcellus (2022):

for his life-long dedication to Steamboat Springs history and skiing heritage. Merrill came to Steamboat Springs with his family by stagecoach in 1905, at the age of four. His passion for ski jumping began under the leadership of Carl Howelsen, and nearly thirty years later, he organized the Merrill Trophy for longest-standing jump (regardless of style) in 1940. He also invented the roller-skis that the high school ski band used to march in a summer parade in Chicago. He often contributed stories of his life in Steamboat Springs to The Pilot, which have been compiled into a book, Steamboat Springs: Memories of a Young Colorado Pioneer.

Moss, Robert “Bob” (2008):

for his dedication to preserving local history. Moss and his family moved to Red Barn Ranch on Seedhouse Road in 1964 after selling their cattle ranch near Collbran. Hundreds of Routt County school children knew him for the charming museum he kept on his property dubbed The House of Yesteryear. Among other household items and tools, The House of Yesteryear housed Moss’s collection of antique washing machines, most of which were manufactured before 1920. He was a founder and lifetime member of the Hahn’s Peak Civic and Social Club, which later became known as the Hahn’s Peak Area Historical Society. They built the Hahn’s Peak Museum and recovered the historic Routt County Jail from Steamboat Springs. He also helped move the powder house from the Royal Flush Mine. He played a major role in establishing the North Routt fire station near the Clark Store. His impact also was felt in Steamboat Springs, where he sat on the board of a bank and contributed to a significant piece of public art.

Neiman, Charlie (1987):

for his community leadership. Neiman homesteaded 160 acres southwest of Yampa in 1896, which he expanded over the years. He was Routt County’s sheriff from 1896-1900 and 1918-1924, working from both Hahn’s Peak and Steamboat Springs, as the county seat moved in 1912. He was involved in the Lant and Tracy affair in 1898 (famous outlaws in the area).

Norvell, James (1986):

for his leadership and contributions to local business. Norvell homesteaded on the Yampa River four miles east of Craig in around 1882. He operated a stage line between Steamboat Springs and Craig and organized the Norvell Mercantile company at Hayden. He expanded this with a livery stable, saloon, and hotel in Hayden, and a pool hall and mercantile store in Steamboat Springs. He also established the J.L. Norvell store in Toponas, and dabbled in real estate, at one point owning the Steamboat Springs Town company.

Perry, Charlotte and Mansfield, Portia (1996):

for their dedication to local arts programs and education. Perry and Mansfield started the Perry-Mansfield camp in 1913. They inspired dance, outdoor education, camping, equestrianship, visual arts, music, theater, and culture in thousands of young people. They managed the camp for over 50 years. Perry was a director and drama coach, and pioneered children’s theater as a teacher, playwright, and producer. Mansfield formed dance companies that toured the world on vaudeville circuits. She also developed many films about dance and the camp, and pioneered the field of modern dance.

Pritchett, Lulita Crawford (1992):

for her commitment to preserving local history. Pritchett was the granddaughter of the town founders, James and Margaret Crawford. She helped to record her family’s journey to Steamboat Springs through her writing—she edited some of her mother’s journals for publication, and wrote The Cabin at Medicine Springs and The Shining Mountains about the early days of the Steamboat Springs community.

Scott, Delano (2003):

for his leadership in the community. Scott spent 47 years in local and state banking, starting as a janitor and teller. He worked his way up, eventually serving as president and CEO of the Routt County National Bank, and earned the name of the “Western Slope’s Champion Banker.” In addition to leading Routt County National Bank, Scott was president of the Colorado Bankers Association and served an extended term as a director of the Federal Reserve Bank Board. He also served as president of the Steamboat Springs Chamber of Commerce, a city councilman, school and church trustee, fund-raiser and more.

Signs, Wes (2018):

for his dedication to conservancy and the community. Signs was born in a sod-roofed cabin on the south fork of the Williams Fork River near what was then the small settlement of Pagoda. The World War II veteran was a demolition technician with the Army Combat Engineering Corp. and served with distinction in three different campaigns and several famous battles including the Battle of Hurtgen Forest and the Battle of the Bulge. He was commander of the American Legion, president and board member of the Colorado River Water Conservation District, and served on the boards of the Solandt Memorial Hospital in Hayden, the Bear River Valley Coop, Routt County Federal Savings and Loan Association, and the Hayden School District; he was also chairman of the Routt National Forest Advisory Council, director of the Routt County Cattlemen’s Association, president of the Walker Ditch Company, and director of the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy.

Solandt, John (2001):

for his leadership in the community. Solandt left in indelible mark on the Hayden area in less than two decades. He was a country doctor who persevered in making house calls through the long Routt County winters. But he was also a businessman who invested in ranches and a bank. Solandt was the county coroner, mayor of Hayden, and served on the Hayden school board. Solandt died in an automobile accident in September 1916 after taking a Hayden patient to the hospital in Steamboat Springs. Solandt never drove but was riding as a passenger when the headlights failed on an early automobile operated by a livery stable. It went off Trull Hill near Elk River and crushed him. He died 15 hours later at the age of 47.

Vail, Jan (2014):

for her commitment to local agriculture and environmental education. Vail came to Steamboat Springs in 1956 to work for Dr. Hugh Richards after earning a nursing degree at Denver University; she stayed in the valley to marry a young rancher, Carl Vail, and together they founded an agribusiness, Kamar Inc. She showed a passion for the natural world while volunteering at the environmental education organization Yampatika and serving as one of the original catalysts at the Yampa River Botanic Park. Vail was always a motivator, urging people to turn in baked goods for a fundraiser, teaching them to make stocking caps for infants while volunteering with the hospital auxiliary, or volunteering at the Tread of Pioneers Museum for over 20 years.

Wegeman, Al (2021):

for his dedication to coaching local skiers. Wegeman was the first full-time coach for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. He was integral in making Steamboat Springs the skiing community it is today, by introducing skiing into school curriculums and expanding the SSWSC to be at a high level of competition and training. He was also a pioneer in creating junior ski programs nationwide. Wegeman was inducted into the Colorado Snowsports Hall of Fame in 1977.

Wilkins, Leon (2020):

for his contributions to the churches and local community. Reverend Wilkins came to Colorado to serve as a priest in Rifle, Meeker, Craig, and Rangely. He came to Steamboat Springs in 1971 to be the vicar at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. He was instrumental in forming the Ministerial Association, a group of local churches that provided resources for indigent travelers—this was the precursor to LiftUp of Routt County.

Willcockson, Emma (1993):

for her community leadership and dedication to education. Willcockson came to Phippsburg in 1930. She quickly began teaching in the area and taught for 32 years in the South Routt area. She also worked with the youth organizations at the Phippsburg Community Baptist church, the International Order of Rainbow for Girls, and the Young Peoples Fundamental Bible Conference. She served on boards or committees to help bring education and fine arts to Routt County, including the Junior College Committee, which was a forerunner to Colorado Mountain College.

Willett, F.E. (1985):

for his leadership and dedication to his work as a doctor. Nearly all of “Doc” Willet’s professional life was in Steamboat Springs—he went into the country for miles with a team and buggy or by sled during the winter to answer a call, sometimes with temperatures close to 40 degrees below zero, but a fur coat and blankets helped to keep the doctor from freezing. He served as a member of the Steamboat Springs town board for some time before he was elected mayor. During his service as Mayor from 1920 to 1926, the municipal water works dam at Long Lake and the Fish Creek line were constructed; the town secured its first fire truck and built a firehouse near the old post office. He purchased a former boarding house which was converted into a hospital, which served the community and this entire area until the Routt County Memorial Hospital was built.