Bench preserves local ranch brands, helps Garfield County 4-H program |

Bench preserves local ranch brands, helps Garfield County 4-H program

Mike McKibbin/Citizen Telegram
Staff Photo |

Ethan Ball and Stuart MacLaughlin helped preserve some of Garfield County’s rich agricultural history while raising $1,400 for the county’s 4-H program.

The efforts of both youths, along with other 4-H members, culminated with the unveiling of a wooden bench that featured the brands of 14 county ranches on Thursday night, July 18, at Centennial Park.

“I think it’s a good way for the ranchers to get their brands out there,” MacLaughlin said. “And it’s a way to say thanks to them for buying our poultry and animals at the fair.”

The first annual Brand-A-Bench fundraiser offered ranchers a chance to purchase an 8-inch by 6-inch square on the bench for a $100 donation, with their brand and name of the ranch. The bench will be on permanent display at the fairgrounds, in time for this year’s 75th annual fair.

Ball, 16, lives in Rifle but attends Grand Valley High School in Parachute. He said the idea was first developed two years ago, but it wasn’t until this year’s 4-H council retreat that enough manpower was organized to make it a reality. Ball is the council vice-president.

MacLaughlin, 17, lives in Rifle and is home schooled. He had organized a movie night as a fundraiser last year, and paired up with Ball this year. After the ceremony, the movie “Maverick” was shown at the park.

The money raised will be used for 4-H activities and scholarships throughout the year, Ball added.

“I hope there will be more than one bench,” he said of plans to make the event an annual tradition in the 4-H program.

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