What started 14 years ago as the Hotchkiss Sheep Camp Stock Dog Trials has grown into a community-wide event. Over the years numerous activities have grown up around the trials, held annually over the Mother's Day weekend.
On Friday, stop by First State Bank Hotchkiss for its annual Customer Appreciation Lunch, and visit the Rogers Mesa Community House "Inside Fundraiser Yard Sale."
From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, check out some of the classiest classic cars around at the annual Ute Trails Car Club Show in the field behind Zack's BBQ. A free shuttle will run all day between the car show and the stock dog trials. Lunch catered by Zack's is available to the public between 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
As always, the Hotchkiss-Crawford Historical Museum, located a short walk away from the trials at the corner of Second Street and Hotchkiss Avenue, will offer free admission from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and from 1-4 p.m. Sunday. Among its exhibits are Indian artifacts, photographs including a new exhibit of early Somerset photos and historic and antique firearms from the Hotchkiss family collection. View period farm equipment, clothing and accessories, and stroll through a fully-furnished turn-of-the-century log cabin. Other exhibits include an old time store and a replica of an early doctor's office (donated by the family of Dr. James Todd). The Historical Society also offers a large selection of books by local and regional authors.
Also on Saturday, the Friends of the Hotchkiss Library will hold their annual spring book sale from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Memorial Hall. Proceeds benefit the library. The S&B Quilters Guild sell raffle tickets for its annual quilt raffle fundraiser at Memorial Hall and will have this year's quilt, a "Buggy Barn's Santa Baby" design, on display.
A little-known secret is the annual ARBA-Sanctioned Rabbit Show at Heritage Hall, located at the Delta County Fairgrounds. From 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, join the Western Colorado Rabbit Breeders Association for its ninth annual triple show.
Throughout the weekend, follow the signs to a bargain-hunter's dream during the "All Roads Lead to Hotchkiss" yard sale event.
New this year, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, the North Fork Ambulance will host "All About Animals" at the Hotchkiss Fire Station, 193 W. Hotchkiss Avenue. Enjoy treats for people and pets, learn about pet first aid, and enter a drawing for a pet first aid kit. Citizens for Animal Welfare and Shelter (CAWS) will have spay/neuter coupons, pet care information, and pets for adoption. From 3-6 p.m. the NFA Kiddie Train will provide rides for the little ones,and from 3-6 get your pooch cleaned up at the Girl Scout Troop Dog Wash.
At 11 a.m. Saturday, the Creamery Arts Center and the Lions Club will present "A Family Pooch Pageant" at the Creamery, 165 Bridge Street. Handlers must be 14 or under to compete. Prizes will be awarded for best costumes, talent and other categories.
The highlight of the three-day weekend is the dog trials, held just off of Hotchkiss Avenue on land that has been in the Hotchkiss family since the late 1800s and is now protected under a conservation easement. The event is sanctioned by the U.S. Border Collie Handler's Association. Beginning Friday morning, 75 dog/handler teams will demonstrate herding and other skills required of working stock dogs while competing for points and cash.
Les Mergelman will again announce the event, often providing information on the competitors and useful facts on the art and sport of stock dog competition. Shade is available for spectators, and vendors will offer food and beverages throughout the event. Entry is an affordable $4 on Friday, $5 on Saturday and Sunday.
For information about the trials and the dogs, a list of handlers, an article on how the trials came to be, the running order for each day's competition, 2016 trial results, and information on this year's trial judge, Norm Close, visit www.hotchkissdogtrials.com.
Thanks to the efforts of state Rep. Millie Hamner, House District 61, Colorado State University plans to re-open the Rogers Mesa research site.
The facility was taken out of operation in 2011, due to budget cuts throughout the CSU system.