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Steamboat Living Magazine
To the more than 500 students who are taught at Soda Creek Elementary School, Tammy Farrell is Ms. Tammy. She is the face of Soda Creek. During school hours, Ms. Tammy, who has worked at the school for 23 years, helps preside over what she calls “absolute organized chaos.”
Many locals jokingly refer to the Yampa Valley curse as what keeps them in Steamboat. For Mike Kimmes and his family, it’s been anything but. “It’s that draw of nature and sense of community that’s kept us here,” Kimmes says. “There’s a great sense of belonging here, and everybody cares about each other.”
Jill Ruppel sits on the deck at Old Town Hot Springs, her bright green shirt the only thing that can match her pouring enthusiasm.
Look beneath the sets of local drummers and you’ll see something taking the percussion world by storm, all from the Copper Ridge business of local Bob Hyams.
Professional musician, camera store owner, portrait shooter, red-ski-suit-wearing photo seller, poster designer, custom woodworker, clothing entrepreneur. Rick Bear has been all those and more since moving to Steamboat in 1971. In the process, it’s put him in touch with countless locals and visitors and reaffirmed why he’s glad to call Steamboat home.
Donna Mae Hoots is a fourth-generation Routt County resident, her grandmother homesteaded next to Sleeping Giant, and the home where she lives with her husband and two daughters is built on the family ranch still worked by her brother, Larry Monger. But for a short time after college, the fashion merchandising degree-holder was an intern in Los Angeles.
Being a veterinarian means acclimating to every kind of furry or feathered animal an area might have. Steamboat’s creatures include everything from hulking moose to mewing kittens, which is exactly what Lee Meyring likes about his job.
Barry Castagnasso, 61, is a fourth-generation Clydesdale breeder who continues to produce many grand champions in the annual National Western Stock Show. “I like their temperament. I like their soundness,” he says about the horse he often refers to as the draft horse supreme.
All it took for Wayne Westphale to make Routt County his home for life was driving down Rabbit Ears Pass and seeing the Yampa Valley for the first time.
As the owner of dog-walking company Happy Tails, Lynne Miller’s clients always are wagging with delight to see her. The same can be said for their two-legged owners as well as everyone else she’s touched in her 40 years in the Yampa Valley.
Light and Don and Lesley Woodsmith share a unique relationship. Pay a visit to their 13th Street warehouse workshop, and you’ll be asked politely to close the door. “People always ask why we don’t have windows,” Don says. “We want to keep the light out.”
Since he retired from the U.S. Postal Service in November, Don Ciavarra has been staying busy on the 13 acres he and his wife, Kathryn, live on west of town. After joining the Postal Service in 1974 as a letter carrier in Denver, Ciavarra moved to Steamboat in 1980, when he quickly became the friendly face patrons see at the post office window.
Not many people have the opportunity to sample the country the way Dr. John Sharp and his wife, Patricia, have. She grew up near St. Louis, and he is from Monte Vista. They both attended William Jewell College outside Kansas City before living in Denver while John finished medical school at the University of Colorado. Two stints in the Air Force took the couple around the world.
Spend just a few minutes with Wendy Puckett, and you quickly feel like the world is yours. Those who know Puckett closely describe her as kind, motivational, an eternal optimist and a woman and mother with the highest integrity.
I realized it one weekday evening this May while kayaking the Elk River. The stretch is fast and clear, running east-west straight into the sun above Sand Mountain, which backlights its waves into a camera flash ribbon of white. It’s these waves that make the run so appealing.