(Updated with End of the Line Arena Awards ) Slipping into Summer Cowboy Style

We enjoyed heat and humidity this past Saturday, as folks around Granada and Bristol gathered to celebrate their annual Granada-Bristol Days celebration.  The Lamar VFW Honor Guard led the way for the annual parade through Granada, leading residents out to the park where they could enjoy a day of activities, including the annual alumni gathering and dinner that evening.

Just up the road, things were smoking, literally, as some chuckwagon cooking enthusiasts gathered at the End of the Line Arena at Camp Amache to break down their buckboards and set up their Dutch Oven cookware over the coals.  “We’re all cooking ham and beans,” said participant Pat Palmer, “but all of us get to decide what we’ll do for a dessert.”  Palmer said there’s a scientific method handed down through the years that decides how many coals go under and above the pots used for all the food.  Each pot has a numbered lid reflecting the capacity of the container and that determines how many coals are used in the cooking.  “The tighter the lid, the better you are for your breads and cobblers,” he added, using a long metal hook to rotate and turn over the coals.

Each campsite is judged on appearance and authenticity.  Palmer explained, “Our rubber tires on the wagon will lose us some points,” but others, such as Marty Campbell was as authentic as possible, using a stick to maneuver his coals on his pots.  His only consolation to modern technology was two lengthy strips of sheet metal he used to surround his coals and pots from the wind which was picking up as the day moved into the afternoon.  Another campsite ceded to modern times, using a plastic storage bag to hold the flour being used for batter, but all the rest of the equipment, including old-time Saltine cracker containers, looked pretty authentic.

Organizers, Fred and Norma Dorenkamp, kept company with vendors and visitors inside the main building, sorting through supplies and preparing for the meal on Saturday.  “We decided to just hold it inside this time, as the heat is starting to pick up and folks can just grab a drink, chair and table and enjoy the meal,” she explained.

While some folks tended the stoves, others saddled up for a tour of Camp Amache, moving along at a leisurely pace as the day of activities was still ahead of them.  Camp judging was followed by the meal at 12:30 and afterwards, people could shop from the vendors inside the main camp or take part in the competition which included Working Cow Horse, Youth Goat Roping and at days end some campfire songs.  Sunday had offered a shorter itinerary which included a free breakfast, church service and another trail ride in the cool of the morning.  Donated funds from that day benefitted the S.E. Colorado Cancer Initiative.

(Update from Norma and Fred Dorenkamp):

It was a Taste of the Old West at the End of the Line Arena at Camp Amache with ranchers and their chuck wagons and remudas. The chuck wagons were set up on green grass and the smell of over-the-fire cooking filled the air.
The competition was fierce to be the most authentic! Ham and beans and cornbread with dessert were cooked and served to a hungry crowd.
After lunch the competition on horseback–sorting for their brand was held.
Everyone enjoyed Terry DeWitt and Axel Thurman demonstrating mounted shooting in the arena at the intermission. There were also other demonstrations throughout the day.
The winners were: Chuck Wagon Set Up: Tin Cup Ranch with Quarter Circle 2 Ranch being a close second.   Sorting:  Sand Creek Ranch and Tin Cup Ranch second.  The All Round winner was the Tin Cup Ranch.
Sunday morning dawned bright and clear with a breakfast of  biscuits and gravy and scrambled eggs, followed by a very impressive singing and poem reading, then off to the trail ride around historic Camp Amache–there are many “new” things to see, the water tower, the guard tower and the barracks. Over $200 was raised for the SE Colorado Cancer initiative
A very enjoyable weekend and the remarks were heard “See you next year”.

By Russ Baldwin


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