In the late 1800's and early 1900's, many pioneer families came to Middle Park. Today the Middle Park Fair Board is proud to honor the sons and daughters of those pioneers.

2020 Pioneers of the Year
Elaine Busse
Fred Garrett

Leigh Murphy

Geneva Sherman

        Elaine Busse

My husband Robert Busse and I moved to Winding River Ranch in 1963 with our three children, Sue, Bob, Bill and 16 head of registered horses. We left our business, home in Barrington Hills, Illinois with 29 acres of horse property and family and friends. This was a big step of faith!

My parents made the move to the ranch soon after to help us. My mother helped cook for the ranch and my dad helped build, repair and work the ranch. We started a campground at the north end of the property, which is now owned and operated by my son-in-law Wes and his wife Marsha. In order for us to keep this beautiful ranch, we needed to figure out ways to make a profit to pay for it and the upkeep.

 

The best idea soon was discovered to run it as a guest ranch. Many of our Illinois customers and friends were among our first guests to the ranch. In the beginning, our three children and their friends took care of the guests. More family came to help. For 14 summers my cousin Coco and her two daughters, Kris and Kay,worked hard and pitched in. 

Not only family helped but the people of Grand County were and still are great supporters. The people of Grand County are strong and courageous and resilient. They have to be to make it all work, especially in the cold and snowy winters. The best decision we ever made was to come to Grand Lake. 

Having been widowed for many years, I decided to divide the ranch with my children and turn the guest ranch over to my grandson, Travis Busse, who has stuck with his Granny through thick and thin and has seen to it that my dreams of the ranch have been fulfilled. Besides being a guest ranch it is now a destination wedding venue.

Currently my passion is to help those who want to live healthy and happy. I have been a massage therapist and nutritional consultant for over 45 years. My client base is not only in the county but extends all over the world. 

I work 10 hours a day helping others live their best lives now. I take time to ride horses and dance whenever there is a wedding or special occasion. I hope to continue setting a good example for others to take care of their Holy Temple. I believe in miracles and have seen hundreds. 

It’s all about Jesus. All the health rules are in the Bible. I am blessed and want to bless as many people as I can before I go to Heaven.

I tell everyone if you “Live Right, You will Die Right.” I shall die healthy and strong. God does give us our dreams and our needs, not always our wants. He knows what’s best for you. He made you and you’re special. No one else is like you!

        Elaine Busse

My husband Robert Busse and I moved to Winding River Ranch in 1963 with our three children, Sue, Bob, Bill and 16 head of registered horses. We left our business, home in Barrington Hills, Illinois with 29 acres of horse property and family and friends. This was a big step of faith!

My parents made the move to the ranch soon after to help us. My mother helped cook for the ranch and my dad helped build, repair and work the ranch. We started a campground at the north end of the property, which is now owned and operated by my son-in-law Wes and his wife Marsha. In order for us to keep this beautiful ranch, we needed to figure out ways to make a profit to pay for it and the upkeep.

 

The best idea soon was discovered to run it as a guest ranch. Many of our Illinois customers and friends were among our first guests to the ranch. In the beginning, our three children and their friends took care of the guests. More family came to help. For 14 summers my cousin Coco and her two daughters, Kris and Kay,worked hard and pitched in. 

Not only family helped but the people of Grand County were and still are great supporters. The people of Grand County are strong and courageous and resilient. They have to be to make it all work, especially in the cold and snowy winters. The best decision we ever made was to come to Grand Lake. 

Having been widowed for many years, I decided to divide the ranch with my children and turn the guest ranch over to my grandson, Travis Busse, who has stuck with his Granny through thick and thin and has seen to it that my dreams of the ranch have been fulfilled. Besides being a guest ranch it is now a destination wedding venue.

Currently my passion is to help those who want to live healthy and happy. I have been a massage therapist and nutritional consultant for over 45 years. My client base is not only in the county but extends all over the world. 

I work 10 hours a day helping others live their best lives now. I take time to ride horses and dance whenever there is a wedding or special occasion. I hope to continue setting a good example for others to take care of their Holy Temple. I believe in miracles and have seen hundreds. 

It’s all about Jesus. All the health rules are in the Bible. I am blessed and want to bless as many people as I can before I go to Heaven.

I tell everyone if you “Live Right, You will Die Right.” I shall die healthy and strong. God does give us our dreams and our needs, not always our wants. He knows what’s best for you. He made you and you’re special. No one else is like you!

        Fred Garrett

Fred Garrett of Granby came to Middle Park in 1957 as an oil well driller from Oklahoma. He met and married a local girl, stayed in Grand County, and helped to develop one of Grand County’s signature businesses.

 

He worked for an oil company that was drilling test holes on government land and drilled an oil well on Cottonwood Pass. During that time he met Carolynn Pharo, whose father Glenn Pharo owned and operated an auto, truck, and ranch implement dealership in Granby. 

 

Carolynn and Fred raised seven children, many of whom are still living and working in Middle Park. Holly Zastrow and Shelly Zagone are both teachers. Mike Garrett is in the automobile business, Pat Garrett is in construction on the East Coast, Lori Tenny is a nurse, Becky Johnson is a teacher and Bob Garrett is in the equipment rental business.

 

Fred came from a farming background in Oklahoma and, before he moved to Grand County, he farmed during the day and worked in the oil fields at night. It was a background that would serve him well in Colorado and placed him at a pivotal time in agricultural history as the ranching world in the Rocky Mountains took steps to embrace mechanization.

 

When Fred first started working for his father-in-law, he worked in the auto body shop. Within a couple of years, he bought into the business and embarked on a 44-year career as an auto, truck, and implement dealer at what locals will remember as Middle Park Auto. The influence of his business extended into Jackson County and Fred estimates about half of his business was in Walden and North Park.

 

Fred notes that Middle Park Auto, for many years, was the only wrecker service in the county. It was a time, he said, that a business had to embrace all aspects of the business. In today’s world, auto dealerships are becoming more of a retail outlet and cars can be purchased, financed, and delivered without ever leaving the comfort of home.

 

Middle Park Auto based its reputation and business model on service. That became vitally important when Ford Motor Company pulled its support and name in 1991 and Middle Park Auto had to become an independent operation. In addition to sales, Middle Park Auto survived by hanging its hat on service, parts, and repairs. Fred’s son, Mike Garrett, now runs the business in Granby as High-Country Motors.

 

Ford Motor Company was also in the farm implement business and that is where Middle Park Auto and Fred Garrett were historically positioned to have a significant impact in Middle and North Park. It was during the 1960s that ranchers started to mechanize their haying operations. 

 

Though there was resistance to the “new ways” Garrett used his background, knowledge, expertise, and salesmanship to help ranchers try and eventually embrace haying methods that involved tractors, balers, pick-up wagons, and more.

 

Throughout that process, service remained the most important element of the business. The early days were tough, Garrett noted, because many of the new implements were not geared to the altitude and terrain of the high country.

 

Eventually, mechanization replaced horses, slides, and loose stacks of hay. The haying season,

Garrett noted, went from a three-month season to a three-week process. When Ford Motor Company pulled its support, the repercussions included losing the dealership for Ford-owned New Holland equipment, which had been a popular brand offered by Middle Park Auto.

 

Pioneering is often thought of in terms of blazing trails, homesteading, and log cabins. As those days fade further in the rear-view mirror, pioneering starts to include people and innovations that help set a new course of action or, even, points of view. Middle Park Auto was certainly a significant automobile dealership in the area, but it may have been its role in the mechanization of ranch equipment that will prove to be its most significant legacy.

 

Thank you Fred for your role in the history of Grand County. Your business model of service is one that businesses would do well to emulate. Congratulations on being selected as a Pioneer of the Year in 2020.

        Leigh Murphy

Leigh Murphy of Fraser has roots in Middle Park that reach back to the 1880s, when his great grandparents traveled from Austria and homesteaded on a ranch south of Granby. Leigh’s parents, Jim and Punk Murphy, purchased land in the Fraser Valley in 1934, land that is still owned and operated as a ranch by Leigh and his family.

 

Born in 1947, Leigh is a lifelong resident of Grand County. He and Deane keep their primary residence at the ranch located on Grand County Road 5 in the Fraser Valley. They also own a ranch near Roswell, New Mexico and they split their time between the two cattle ranches.

 

The Middle Park Fair and Rodeo is proud to honor Leigh as a Pioneer of the Year for 2020. Leigh and Deane were honored as Citizens of the Year in 2012 in appreciation of their service and support for 4-H and the annual county fair held in Kremmling.

 

Leigh and Deane have two children, Sabrina and Andy, who are assuming the reins and responsibility of the family operation. Like their father, Sabrina and Andy showed and sold 4-H animals at the Middle Park Fair and participated in the rodeo events. Leigh said he showed lambs and steers at the fair and the kids showed lambs, steers and pigs.

 

A favorite pastime for Leigh has been team roping, something he has enjoyed until the past few years. Throughout his life, he has also roped in several events and ridden bareback broncs as well as bulls.

 

The Murphy family has found a good balance of ranching between the New Mexico and Colorado cattle operations as they ship their yearlings from New Mexico to Colorado. The climate conditions are certainly different in the two locations with Colorado having the advantage of irrigation. The location in New Mexico is located in the high desert and it is strictly a dryland operation.

 

Sabrina and her husband Justin live at and operate the New Mexico operation, while Andy and his wife Paige are based at the Colorado ranch. Leigh and Deane help in both places and enjoy their three grandchildren.

 

Involvement with the Middle Park Fair has been a part of their lives for many years. Leigh was superintendent of the beef show for over 20 years and he served on the Fairboard as vice-president for two terms and as president for two terms. Deane was the leader of the Flying Heels 4-H Club and helped with the annual quarter horse sale when it was a part of the fair in the 1980s.

 

Leigh says that he has always enjoyed ranching and living in Middle Park. He notes that it is becoming increasingly difficult to ranch in the Fraser Valley as the number of people grows and development encroaches on land that was previously dedicated to agriculture.

Congratulations Leigh on being named a Pioneer of the Year.  You and your family are a significant part of the history of agriculture and pioneer life in Middle Park. That history has helped mold and make Grand County what it is today. The heritage of agriculture is a vital part of the history of our area.

 

Your involvement in other aspects of the county are also a testimony to your desire to make your community a better place in which to live.

        Geneva Sherman

Geneva Sherman was born Geneva Constance Rasmussen on September 17, 1930, on the family farm and ranch in Brunswick, Nebraska. She was born between two brothers and she had three sisters.

 

Geneva’s journey to Colorado began when she visited friends in Estes Park at the age of 17, and decided to stay. She worked in the Estes Park hospital, cleaning, taking care of patients and cooking. She met her future husband, Marshall (Whitey) Sherman in 1949 at a fall

festival in Estes Park.

 

Whitey and Geneva were married in 1950 at the ages of 21 and 19, respectively, in Chambers, Nebraska. Whitey worked for the Bureau of Reclamation, building high voltage power lines. His work caused them to move around frequently in the first year, before finally settling in Longmont, Colorado, where they lived for five years. 

 

During this time, their first children were born, Marshall in 1951, Lynn (Ruby) in 1952, and Michael in 1955. The family moved to Gunnison, Colorado in 1957, where Richard was born. In 1965, Whitey’s work brought them to Green Mountain Dam, where they became involved in many aspects of Grand County and the Kremmling community. 

 

They helped Karl Knorr and Paul Gilbert lead 4-H Blue Valley Sharpshooters and Conservation Club, teaching marksmanship, plant identification, and land conservation.

 

They attended and became involved in the Kremmling Community Church, where Geneva sang in duets and trios with Orlon Coulter, Gail Knorr, Ester Miller, and Lydia Dell. She also taught

Sunday School classes.

 

In 1970, they had the opportunity to move onto Blue River Ranch and to manage it for Harold Tonn. This move provided the opportunity for Michael and Richard to get involved in the 4-H Livestock Club, raising and showing steers, lambs, and showing horses.

 

Managing the ranch created lots of extra work for Geneva. With Mike and Rich in high school, Marshall and Lynn away at college, and Whitey working for what had now become the Department of Energy, Geneva was left doing much of the ranch work while every-

one was away.

 

The work included the whole spectrum of ranch work – working in the hay fields, feeding the cows in the winter with a team of Belgian horses, checking cows during calving, and hauling steers in the back of an old GMC pickup with stock racks. The pickup could only be kept on the road with much effort and persistence. And that work doesn’t include cooking meals, baking, feeding chickens and then off to Kremmling Community Church on Sundays as well

as its various events.

 

In 1973, Mike graduated from high school and took over the daily ranch work, giving Geneva a very welcome break from the physical work. It was in the 1970s that the family began to grow again. In 1971, Marshall married Linda Ellis, who was one of the “dam kids” from the Green Mountain Reservoir government camp and who was best friend’s with Marshall’s sister Lynn.

 

Marshall and Linda have four children who are all in Kremmling with their families. Shelly is the oldest, she is married to Brady Mathis and they have two children, Liberty and Benjamin. 

 

Tony was next in line and he married a Summit County girl, Melisa Seaman. They have two children, Tyler and Madison. 

 

Sandy married Tom Farley and she has three children, Cora, Katherine and Collin. Laree is now married to Wes Howell, she has two sons Levi and Chris Wellington, and two stepsons, Wyatt and Walker Howell. 

 

Lynn married West Grand classmate, Darrel Ruby in 1972. They have four children. Sherri is the oldest and she is single. Brent, after a stint in the US Navy, married Laurie and they have three children, Andy, Ella and Michael. 

 

Kristin married Joel Kingham and they have twin boys, Isaac and Owen. Leandra is the youngest and she is a kindergarten teacher and is single. Lynn passed away in 2014 after fighting cancer. Darrel and the kids are in the Arvada, Colorado area and still very involved with Geneva and family.

 

Michael married West Grand classmate Brenda Bock in 1977 and they have two children. Chad married West Grand classmate Carly Schake. Cheyenne married Josh Richert and they have two girls, Skyla and Kylee. Richard married West Grand kindergarten teacher Judy Moon in 1984 and they have two children. Cordie is married to Shane Stieve. Rich and Judy’s son Austin is single.

 

For Geneva, that is four children, 12 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren.

 

In 2002, Whitey passed away while he and Geneva lived on the Penny Place near Gore Pass. Geneva moved into Kremmling where she continues to live in the middle of town, in the middle of her family, and in the community that she loves. 

 

Geneva is a quiet warrior who supported her husband in his work, raised a family, worked hard, has an abiding faith in God, and brings a smile, peace, and hope to every situation. She helped to form Middle Park into the community it is with her hands for hard work, her love for the people in the community, and her unwavering heart for God. Thank you for all you have done, Geneva.

 

Congratulations Geneva on being named a Pioneer of the Year for 2020.

970-410-6737

PO Box 344, Kremmling, CO 80459, USA

©2020 by Middle Park Fair and Rodeo.