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Eagle River Center is unique

Dele Hobbs, Eagle

I was raised in Eagle County from the time I was 2. I grew up riding horses and knowing that the western heritage in Eagle County was so important. I remember idolizing the kids who had 4-H animals, and when my brother raised a lamb to show, we felt so important. I would always ride horses any chance I would get and begged my parents to get me a horse, but it was always too expensive.

I have since went away to college and came back to open two business in Eagle and have three daughters. My daughter Mariah is 11, Mackinzee 5, and Makaylee 3. I choose to raise my kids in Eagle County because this county has so much to offer, but still in a small-town western culture. My two older daughters ride in the National Little Britches Rodeo Association. Mariah competes in barrel racing, pole bending, breakaway roping, trail course, dally ribbon roping and goat tying. Mackinzee competes in barrel racing, flag racing, goat untie and pole bending. We have been very fortunate to live in communities with an indoor arena. My kids and I spend three to four days during the winter months practicing in the arena and typically with multiple other people. If the commissioners had taken the time to stop by to see what’s going on in this facility instead of taking very inaccurate booking numbers they may understand how much this facility is used.

I also compete in Western Eagle County Metro Recreation District events, and so do my kids, however there are plenty of facilities to accommodate these events. The Eagle River Center is the one and only facility we have to ride horses in. You cannot ask our children and horses, who are both athletes, to take the winter off. It is hard enough raising these high-powered animals in this cold weather, let alone not being able to keep them conditioned. My kids have rode in other facilities that share their arena space and this seems to work well. Why not compact the dirt three days a week and let us continue to ride? The equestrian community is not trying do be difficult, we just don’t want to be completely pushed out.

I would also like to say that the commissioners need to seriously think about the tax revenue the events we put on in the Eagle River Center bring in. On an average two-day weekend, we bring in three hundred people from out of town. WECMRD is using money we as taxpayers pay to pay back to the county. What do you mean they can help with the cost?

They are not bringing in any additional funds to the county. However, if we keep the center the same as it has been for the last two years, we will continue to improve the revenue from the building as well as bring in thousands of dollars in additional tax revenue.


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