Pioneer News

“21st Century of ‘Young Old Timers’

For the past 100 years, Rio Blanco county pioneers, families, and friends have annually commemorated their special cultural heritage and notable history at the “Old Timer’s Reunion.” This year’s event will celebrate the Centennial Anniversary occasion. However, over the years, attendance has gradually been lessening, and members of younger generations have not been actively participating even though they are welcomed and encouraged to do so. We need your help and your ideas to change this trend and encourage greater participation by those who could enjoy the special camaraderie and friendships afforded by this opportunity to share stories, to document your family stories and history, to make or renew friendships and connections in the common heritage that we all share.

A number of Rio Blanco County residents and those who may have at one time lived in the county, attended school, or otherwise had some connection with
the White River Valley have expressed a concern about not feeling welcome to participate in the Rio Blanco County Pioneers Association annual reunion. Still others have said they had the impression that the event was “just for the seniors” and did not hold appeal for potential younger participants. The Association leadership wishes to ask your help in changing that perception, by participating in this great event, and by encouraging your family, friends, and others who could and should attend and enjoy this wonderful occasion.

A series of new program opportunities has been added to further encourage participation and serve to attract participation to preserve the history and
cultural heritage of families and friends. The Rio Blanco County Pioneers Association has joined with the Rio Blanco County Historical Society and the
Meeker Arts and Cultural Council in the ”Capturing our Culture” oral history project to interview family and friends of Rio Blanco County residents.

This project seeks to interview families and friends about their family history, remembrances and special events of their lives that have been a part of the colorful history of the White River Valley. Perhaps the most effective way to capture and preserve this priceless information is through videotaped oral history interviews with families and groups where the spontaneous group discussions trigger many memories and anecdotes [through a group synergy] about special occasions and events in that long progression of notable events. These valuable remembrances may otherwise be forever lost as folks move on and eventually pass away. Before modern technology such as photography, video taping, printing, computers, etc., ancient civilizations recorded their history through story telling, and each succeeding generation was carefully taught those pivotal stories to commit to memory and then pass on to their children in succeeding generations. In later times, some of the information was transcribed in writing on papyrus scroll documents, engravings and images on cave walls, clay tablets and many other means of preservation and archiving, that today serves as the keys to unlock priceless clues to the ancient history of civilizations.

Nearly everything that we, as individuals do each day of our lives, somehow write a new page of what becomes history, no matter how seemingly insignificant. Someday, succeeding generations will want to know how their ancestors [those of us who live in present times] lived, who they were and what they did, just as we seek to know about the many generations of our own ancestors who preceded us in this succession and family lineage of long history.

We invite you and your family and friends as a group, to attend the Centennial celebration of the Old Timer’s Reunion, and share your stories and your family history with many others whom you may know, and with those whom you may not, but would very much enjoy meeting and visiting! For example, a group from Piceance Creek and another group from the Buford School area would join many individuals together to provide a great conversation circle of friends.