Leckenby and Larson Pioneer Awards
Every year, the Leckenby and Larson Awards Committee associated with the Tread of Pioneers Museum presents two awards that honor people who have enriched the quality of life in Routt County. These citizens have served our public institutions and nonprofit organizations, preserved our local history or contributed significantly to the county’s heritage.
Since 1980, the Leckenby Pioneer Award
is given to a living person in Routt County who has resided locally for 30 years or more, demonstrates personal integrity and inspires youth. The Stanley L. Larson Award
has been given posthumously, since 1982, to former Routt County residents who have made significant contributions to the community.
For both awards, the individuals have shown strong involvement in community activities, such as volunteerism, supporting organizations, serving on various boards and committees, and working with youth and others to make the community a better place to live for all.
2021 Leckenby Award: Arianthé Stettner
“For the past 30-plus years, Arianthe Stettner has embodied a life of service, dedicating her time, talents and resources to her community, particularly in the field of historic preservation. Her contributions to the field cannot be overstated,” Emily Katzman and the Board of Historic Routt County wrote in their award nomination. “She helped build the organizational foundations of historic preservation in Northwest Colorado by co-founding the nonprofit organization Historic Routt County, serving as a charter member on Routt County’s Historic Preservation Board, and helping to establish the City of Steamboat Springs as a certified local government.”
In the 1990s, Stettner and a small committee of nascent preservationists formed Historic Routt County — originally a program within the Tread of Pioneers Museum — in response to the rapid demolition of historic structures and encroachment of new development on Routt County’s cultural landscapes. In the 22 years since becoming an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, Historic Routt County has become the voice and leader for the preservation and celebration of Routt County’s historic places.
“Stettner’s impact is extraordinary,” said Candice Bannister, Tread of Pioneers Museum executive director. “By passionately educating the public about Routt County’s special historic places and providing key leadership to preserve them, she has cultivated an enduring preservation ethic within our community that we can all follow moving forward.”
During her time in Steamboat, Stettner has also volunteered in a number of other capacities. She helped organize many of the Environment 2000 conferences, served as a trustee of the Yampa Valley Community Foundation for nearly nine years and was the board president of Colorado Preservation Inc. She also spent seven years on the Steamboat Springs City Council. The 3,800-acre historic Legacy Ranch was preserved during her tenure, and the Carver Power Plant was restored and integrated into the city’s new Centennial Hall.
Stettner played a leadership role in this project, which earned Steamboat recognition from first lady Laura Bush as a Preserve America Community. More recently, Stettner dedicated her time as chair of the Steamboat Springs Historic Preservation Commission, the Save Arnold Barn Committee and currently, Partners in Preservation, a collaboration with Historic Routt County and the Tread of Pioneers Museum. For her decades of service and leadership, Stettner was presented with the Hazie Werner Award and the Historic Preservation Medal from the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, among many other accolades.
2021 Larson Award: Alvin “Al” Wegeman
A multitude of Winter Olympic athletes produced by the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club over the years can be directly traced to the contributions of Al Wegeman, the club’s coach and ski instructor from 1944 to 1949.
The latter part of the 1940s through the early 1950s are considered pivotal to the development of competitive skiing — primarily ski jumping and Nordic combined — in Steamboat, and Wegeman helped the program expand and transition into high-level competitive instruction and training. Today, SSWSC is considered the premier training program in the country, having produced more Olympians than any other town in the nation.
Upon his arrival in Steamboat in 1944, Wegeman became the primary force in the certification of skiing as a physical education credit in the public schools, making the community the first in the state to have ski training as an integral part of the curriculum. Nationally, Wegeman was and still is considered a pioneer for his work in creating junior ski programs and for introducing skiing in the schools. A passion for skiing expanded, with approximately 95% of the population skiing, thus crowning the city with the nickname, “Ski Town USA.”
As the first full-time coach for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, Wegeman coached and influenced ski greats and Olympians, such as Katy Rodolph, Keith Wegeman, Paul Wegeman, Marvin Crawford, Buddy Werner, Skeeter Werner and Loris Werner.
Wegeman also managed the downtown swimming pool, coached the swim team and provided swimming lessons and instruction in first-aid and lifesaving. Cutting ski trails on Emerald Mountain in the winter rounded out his activities.
Wegeman’s awards and recognition included the Halstead Memorial Trophy in 1950 by the Southern Rocky Mountain Ski Association “for his outstanding contribution to skiing over the past year” and efforts in promoting skiing, both senior and junior, in this area. He also received a memorial award from the National Ski Association of America in recognition of his outstanding service in skiing and, in particular, to junior skiing.
In 1977, Wegeman was honored posthumously by being included in the first class inducted into the newly-created Colorado Ski Hall of Fame. Two of his sons, Paul and Keith, were inducted later.
The nominees of the Leckenby Pioneer Award
1. Have lived a total of 30 years in the county. The nominee does not have to be living here now.
2. Be involved with the community, responsive to community needs (past and present) and serve as a representative of the history of the community.
3. Demonstrate personal integrity.
4. Be inspirational to youth.
Past recipients of the Leckenby Award: Ferry Carpenter, Walt Webber, Lewis Phillips, Ayliffe and Henry Zehner, Dorothy Wither, John "Doc" Utterback, Margaret Rossi, Val Fitzpatrick, Bobby Robinson Sr., Evelyn and Quentin Semotan, Gordy Wren, Eldon Brummett, Effie Baily, Eleanor Bliss, Vernon Summer, Marvin Elkins, Pat Holderness, Lowell Whiteman, Dee Richards, Don Lufkin, Pete Wither, Elaine Gay, Bill Bowes, Natalie Stanko, Linda Long, Frances Wither, Sam Haslem, Dr. Bill Baldwin, Mary Jean Perry, Bud and Jane Romberg, Donna Hellyer, Judy Green, Peter “Mike” Yurich, Bill McKelvie, Bill Gay, Jim Stanko, Jerry Green, Marion Gibson, Noreen Moore, Paul and Ellen Bonnifield, and Jack Sprengle.
The qualifications for the Stanley L. Larson Award
1. The nominee must have lived in Routt County and must now be deceased.
2. The nominee must have made a major contribution to Routt County.
Past recipients of the Larson Award: Claude Luekens, James H. Crawford, Charles H. Leckenby, Dr. F.E. Willett, James Norvell, Charles Neiman, Minnie Hertzog, Carl Howelsen, Everett Bristol, Lulita Crawford Pritchett, Emma Willcockson, Bob Gay, Winnie Carrol, Charlotte Perry, Portia Mansfield, Joseph “Shorty” Hamidy, Thomas I. Lindley, William S. “Bill” Green, Gates Gooding, Dr. John V. Solandt, George Cook, Delano Scott, Sumner Hockett, Geraldine Elkins, Clarence Light, Delmar Vance Coyner, Robert “Bob” Moss, Chuck Fulton, John Fetcher, Bill Meek, Don Brookshire, Benita Bristol, Jan Vail, Jan Leslie, Lewis Kemry, Jim Golden, Lucile Bogue, and Leon Wilkins.
For both awards, the committee considers the individual's involvement in community activities such as volunteerism, supporting organizations, serving on various boards and advisory groups, and working with youth and others to not only preserve local history, but also to make the community a better place to live for all.
Candice Bannister, Executive Director
Tread of Pioneers Museum
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