I have always held eastern Colorado in a special light, so to my absolute delight we hosted the 2016 CCALT BBQ with the MacLennan Family in Byers, Colorado. This year’s BBQ marked my first major event with CCALT, the 10th anniversary of the BBQ, as well as the first BBQ hosted on the plains of eastern Colorado. A special night indeed.
The day I met the MacLennans, Russell generously offered to take Erik and me out for a morning hunt. It was a phenomenal way to get to know Russell, to see the property, and share in one of the family’s deepest passions. Despite my great hopes that I might be able to trick Russell and Erik into believing I could hunt, it became all too clear that morning that I have a lot of work to do if I ever hope to strike any sort of fear into a pheasant, but planning was off to a great start.
It was such a pleasure to learn about the MacLennan’s history in the area and their operations (which range from dog training to cattle ranching), and to work with such amazing and hardworking people.
The MacLennans provided a phenomenally beautiful venue, they prepared an outstanding meal, and they smiled through all of it.
After almost six months of sorting through a number of details I never thought possible, we arrived at the big day, June 25th. Guests from all around the state (and a special guest who flew in from North Carolina) poured down the driveway. The afternoon was spent touring the ranch with Russell, shooting sporting clays with Dave and Dawson MacLennan, and perusing the auction items with cocktail in hand.
Dinner kicked off with a blessing from Dave MacLennan, peaked with a rousing live auction (auctioned by former CCA president Roger Evans), and concluded with lively tunes from the Bird Dawgs Band.
The event wouldn’t have been a success without the immense commitment of the MacLennan family, the unwavering support of CCALT staff, the last minute help from area FFA and 4-H chapters, and our fun and loyal guests who make the journey each year to raise a glass and break bread in the name of ranchland conservation.
I am already counting the days until the 2017 CCALT Forever Colorado BBQ (Carbondale) and hope you are all doing the same. It will be an event not to miss!!