Nobody came to get Club 20’s cowpie award

Brief by Ellen Miller

Colorado politics – April 1997 – Colorado Central Magazine

Club 20 isn’t an exclusive bístro. A good brief description is that the organization serves as a chamber of commerce for Colorado’s Western Slope, plus Lake County.

It hasn’t been that long since environmentalists were about as welcome at Club 20 as Hillary Clinton at a cigar club. Or that Club 20 salivated at the prospect of big multinationals opening shop on the Western Slope.

But plenty of change was in evidence at Club 20’s annual spring meeting in Grand Junction March 7 and 8.

For one thing, a certified environmental activist, Gary Sprung of Crested Butte, now sits on the board as an official representative of Gunnison County.

For another, well, recall the grand plans of Exxon to wrest oil from shale on the Western Slope about 15 years ago — and how the big oil company pulled out overnight, throwing the economy for a loop.

Now Club 20 is presenting an annual award: The Big Cowpie or Exxon Trophy for “extreme insensitivity to the Western Slope.”

The Club 20 Executive Committee found many deserving candidates, but eventually narrowed the list.

State Rep. Norma Anderson, R-Lakewood, was second runner-up for her current attempt to divert Great Outdoors Colorado funds to the Front Range for school construction.

First runner-up was U.S. Rep. John Kasich, an Ohio Republican and chairman of the House Budget Committee, for trying to kill the Animas-La Plata water project.

And the winner was U.S. Rep. Gerald Solomon, R-N.Y., who used his influence to send U.S. Navy Seals to search the Gunnison Gorge for the body of a constituent who had drowned. Solomon also got the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to drastically lower the river’s flow during the unsuccessful search.

Club 20 officials noted that the congressman, who swings considerable clout as chairman of the Rules Committee, was unable to get the river drained, although he tried his best to do so.

The award resembles a cow flop, and not one of the potential recipients was in the audience.

— from Ellen Miller