Archuleta County Fair honorees announced

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Photo courtesy Ron Gustafson
Cindy Gustafson

By Lisa Jensen
Special to The PREVIEW

Each year, the Archuleta County Fair recognizes outstanding volunteers who have given countless hours and many years of volunteer service to help put on a wonderful event for the whole community.

Typically, these volunteers do not want this recognition and are simply happy to help out and be involved in our community. This year is no exception; however, we take the time to recognize these exceptional people:

Super Volunteer: Randy Schnose

Schnose truly did not want this recognition, saying he prefers to work in the background.

Schnose joined the fair board in 2012, when he was recruited to help out in the beer tent. He quickly accepted full responsibility for coordinating the beer tent, joined the board and has helped in every aspect of logistics imaginable, as well as all the things most people who attend the fair do not even imagine. Whether solving a water or electricity emergency, mapping the fair layout, pulling stuck vehicles out of the mud or responding to just about any call for help at any time, Schnose has been a hands-on volunteer every year.

What Schnose likes most about the Archuleta County Fair is how it brings the whole community together. Being involved with the fair has enabled Schnose to learn about the agricultural side of our community, something he previously knew very little about. Schnose appreciates being exposed to a way of life that was different from his own. He likes that the fair board is very personal — not a corporate board, but rather a group of people working together to accomplish something good for the whole community.

Super Superintendent: Melissa McDonald

McDonald has been a fair superintendent for several years, in charge of the Floriculture Open Class Exhibit. McDonald started out volunteering as floriculture superintendent, served as fair board treasurer for five years, was in charge of vendors and then returned to being floriculture superintendent.

A retired school teacher, McDonald loves to grow flowers and is an active member of the Mountain High Gardeners. She also enjoys knitting, crocheting and reading, and likes to stay busy with a flexible schedule. In addition to all she does for the fair, McDonald volunteers at least a few days a week at the Pagosa Springs Medical Center, the elementary school and Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts. Her list of volunteer positions sounds like at least a full-time job.

McDonald began volunteering for the Archuleta County Fair when she retired and wanted to do something. She likes the people she works with and loves that the fair is a small-town venue. Her favorite parts of the fair are seeing all the animals, the ranch rodeo and those yummy corn dogs.

Fair Dedication: Cindy Gustafson

Almost everyone who has lived in Pagosa Springs over the past 20 years knows Cindy and Ron Gustafson. Avid supporters of every local community event, from theater, dance and music to high school sports and the county fair, Cindy and Ron probably attended more local events in one week than many of us do in a year. Since Cindy’s passing in 2014, Ron has kept up the active schedule, saying this is what Cindy would have wanted him to do.

Cindy and Ron moved to Pagosa Springs in 1997 from Kansas City, Mo. From the time they first met, they participated in and organized social events in their community, a lifestyle they continued full force in Pagosa Springs. There is hardly an organization in town they did not support and volunteer for, and almost no community event they did not attend.

As Archuleta County Fair volunteers, Cindy could most often be found at the front gate, while Ron drove the kids’ train. An avid supporter of Archuleta County youth, Cindy enjoyed contributing to the 4-H Livestock Auction each year as an add-on sponsor. Cindy and Ron were Archuleta County Fair Volunteers of the Year in 2007. They have also been honored as Pagosa Chamber Volunteers of the Year and Hispanic King and Queen of Fiesta (despite neither of them being of Hispanic descent).

Cindy was born in 1936 and passed away on Dec. 3, 2014. Her husband, Ron, continues the busy schedule they enjoyed together, often attending three or more community events in one evening and driving back and forth from home to all his volunteer activities several times every day.