Battlement Mesas third annual biathlon |

Battlement Mesas third annual biathlon

With its indoor running track and Olympic-size pool, the 53,000-square-foot community center at Battlement Mesa is geared for a lively community.The center held its third annual biathlon on Sept. 25 to raise money for an outdoor playground expansion.While there might be a perception that the area is mostly a retirement community, according to the 2000 census, the demographic is spread evenly between age groups with only 24.5 percent 65 years of age or older.People from all over the United States call Battlement Mesa home, and many have interesting backgrounds: a Hollywood set designer, a satellite cartographer, the Titan Missile Engineer, ten published authors and a Chicago detective. They dont wear it on their sleeves, said events coordinator Fran Storm.However, they do give their time and talent back to their community in programs like Fireside Chats where presenters share their life experiences with others.Leah Perry, who swims for the Rifle Middle School Sting Rays, competed in the swimming competition so she could practice in a long race during the off-season. Perry had her own cheering section that included her mother, Diane, and two sisters, Trinity and Bethany, who sat at the end of the race lane.She is an awesome distance swimmer; she just holds all her energy, said Bethany, but she wanted Leah to increase her speed and begin the sprint. The coach in Bethany kicked in, and she shouted to Leah, Pick it up! Lets go!However, Leah had her own ideas.When Leah popped up out of the water and blew water, whale-like, on both of them.Seventy-nine-year-old George Bowden, who has been swimming since college, won the 32-length race in just over eighteen minutes. Barbara, his wife of 56 years, has watched her husband swim since college and was amazed when George not only won the race, but also never faded, not even in the last laps.The center, now 21 years old, is the heart and soul of an ever-growing community. However, it has done something even greater than provide activities for the surrounding community: It has connected people and built relationships.Most everyone around here is from somewhere else, said Storm.But you would never know it.

Race volunteers Kathy Morris, left, and Orene Speyer are both retired and live in Battlement Mesa.

Directing traffic for the Sheriffs Auxiliary are, from left, Larry Rowe, of Battlement Mesa, who is retired; Mary Louise Rowe, of Battlement Mesa, who is retired; and John Bendetti, of Rifle, who is attending the Police Academy at Colorado Mountain College.

Volunteering at the race are Janelle and Tom Terrall, of Battlement Mesa.

Clockwise from back left, Diane Williams-Perry of Rifle is a paralegal assistant at Beattie & Chadwick; Leah Perry, 13, of Rifle attends Rifle Middle School; Trinity Perry, 18, of Rifle is pursuing an associate of arts degree at Colorado Mountain College; and Bethany Perry, 10, of Rifle attends Rifle Middle School.

June Zacharias, of Battlement Mesa, retired, won the biathlon.

From left, Daniel Chaffin, 17, of Battlement Mesa, is a junior at Grand Valley High School; Drew McFarland, 16, of Battlement Mesa, is a junior at Grand Valley High School; Jennifer Casey, of Battlement Mesa, manages the pool at the center; and Charlie Smyth, 17, of Battlement Mesa, is a senior at Grand Valley High School.

Nick and Sharon Massaro volunteered their time and watched their son and daughter-in-law run in the race.

Lori Sweers, of Battlement Mesa, is retired, and Mindy Campbell, of Battlement Mesa, teaches pre-kindergarten at Grand Valley Early Childhood Literacy Center and works at the activity center.

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