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 persons who have enriched the quality of life in Routt County. These citizens have served our public institutions, 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; since 1982, the Stanley L. Larson Award
is given posthumously. The committee requests your help in assuring that people from all parts of the county are considered and nominated for these awards.
For both awards, the individuals have shown strong involvement in community activities such as volunteerism, supporting organizations, serving on various boards and advisory groups, and working with youth and others to make the community a better place to live for all.
2020 Leckenby Award: Jack Sprengle
Jack Sprengle was chosen for the 2020 Leckenby award. Sprengle moved to Steamboat Springs in 1941 at the age of 10. Sprengle graduated from Colorado A&M (now CSU) and served a tour of duty in Korea. After returning to Steamboat Springs to marry and raise his family, Sprengle's entire working career was as a well-known and helpful local banker.
Sprengle’s involvement with the community includes over 20 years as a 4-H leader and helping with livestock sales, as well as stints on both the Routt County Planning Commission and the Steamboat Springs City Planning Commission. He was an active member of the Steamboat Springs Lions Club, Holy Name Catholic Church, and spent 12 years on the Board of the Steamboat Springs Health and Recreation Association (now the Old Town Hot Springs). He also served on the Cemetery Board and has volunteered at Lift-Up and the Tread of Pioneers Museum for more than 20 years.
2020 Larson Award: Reverend Leon Wilkins
The Reverend Leon Wilkins was chosen for the 2020 Larson award. Wilkins began his Colorado ministry in Rangely serving as a Circuit Priest providing services in Rifle, Meeker, Craig, and Rangely. He was instrumental in finding priests willing to serve in those communities. In 1971, he accepted the opportunity to be the vicar at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Steamboat Springs and moved to the community. He continued serving as a Circuit Priest in Craig and occasionally Yampa.
In 1984, St. Paul’s accomplished parish status within the Diocese of Colorado, and Wilkins became St. Paul’s first rector, where he served in this capacity until his retirement in 1988.
Wilkins was instrumental in starting the local Ministerial Association. This coalition of local churches provided resources for indigent travelers passing through Steamboat Springs so they could have access to gasoline and overnight housing. St. Paul’s was a catalyst in the formation of this activity that became the precursor of Lift-Up.
“Reverend Leon Wilkins exemplified the pioneer spirit in his role as the ‘Circuit Priest,’” said long-time church member Nancy Kramer. “And he embodied compassion and caring in his devotion to his 'flock' in the Church. Through his many years of service in the war and ministry, as well as the various ‘walks of life’ that he followed, he developed solidity, compassion, and gentleness - qualities for which he will be dearly remembered.”
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.
We hope that you will submit a nomination for these awards. A short summary of the nominee would be very helpful in our decision-making. All nominations should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
. Please include your contact information and submit nominations by Sept. 17, 2021
. You may resubmit a nomination that was submitted in previous years. Our committee will review previous years’ nominees as well as current nominees.
Candice Bannister, Executive Director
Tread of Pioneers Museum
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