Sunday, August 2, 2015

Legacy of tradition, local activism and reaching out

For the the Searles, the trail always leads back to legacy, tradition, local activism, and a history of reaching out.
This week is no different.
Wednesday night, August 5, the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce Concerts in the Park series is extended with what Charlie Searle calls a "Shelleybration." in honor of his sister Shelley Searle Barber, (1958-2015) and a fundraiser for Open Arms Pregnancy Resource Center in Walsenburg. Naturally, Charlie's band, the ASHToNZ, are performing in Limbach Park in Monument, starting at 7 p.m.
Then Friday and Saturday, August 7 and 8, the Searles host 2015 Rocky Mountain Select Texas Longhorn Sale & Rendezvous at Latigo Trails Equestrian Center, not too far from Searle's Cherry Springs Ranch. That gathering, of course, has a philanthropic element benefiting the Semper Fi Fund for disabled veterans.
Longhorns, rendezvous, music, stock sales and the entertainment trail for the Searles is a long one.
"In 33 years of putting on Texas Longhorn Sales, we've learned that the most successful ones offer good cattle and a memorable social experience," says Stan Searle, Charlie's father.
Stan (and the rest of the family, as a result) have been involved in the Longhorn business since the early 1970s and formerly founded and published the Texas Longhorn Journal. Charlie worked as editor, and Shelley worked alongside. Stan's wife, and Charlie and Shelley's mom Lorna, was Ad Manager.
For the last 13 years, it has been a local Longhorn operation out at Cherry Springs Ranch (with other grazing ground out in Ellicott) on the former site of Gwillimville. Founded in 1869 by Gwillim R. Gwillim, originally from North South Wales, and six miles east of Monument on Highway 105.
"The cabin and hay shed in the bottom of the pasture dates back to the time of the town," noted Stan in recent tour during a Chamber event. Gwillimville was never incorporated. In its heyday, a cheese factory, creamery, store, blacksmith shop, several saloons, a post office, school, church and worker's quarters sprang from the earth around Cherry Springs and the source of Cherry Creek. The Gwillimville School was eventually moved to Monument, becoming Sunday school for the Presbyterian Church and in the 1980s, the former Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce building on Highway 105 in Monument.
In January of 1880, a Diphtheria epidemic broke out affecting brother of the founder's family Richard Gwillim's two daughters.
"In spite of all efforts, the two little girls passed away within a few days of each other. These girls are buried in the Spring Valley Cemetery," wrote Lucile Lavelett in her Monument's Faded Neighboring Communities. "Avery strange and sad coincidence happened that two children in every family in the neighborhood died of Diphtheria during that epidemic."
In 1895, Richard Gwillim's home burned, pretty much spelling the end of Gwillimville.
Stan Searle's career in the media business was not confined to Longhorns however and had fingers reaching out in several directions. Locally, he was the founder and manager of Tri-Lakes Cable, which was sold to Adelphia in 2000, (later becoming part of Comcast) and managed other trade magazines related to cable and other business.
Named among the top 100 Pioneers of the cable industry, Stan's heart however, was in the cattle business. Suggesting that some of his inspiration comes from legendary trail founder Charles Goodnight, Stan co-founded International Texas Longhorn Association and is a recipient of their prestigious "Charles Goodnight Award. The Goodnight-Loving Trail beginning with the "Gather" in Texas after the Civil War, goes through Monument, on into Denver. Charlie, a noted musician, photographer, writer, began his musical career at Alamo Village working for Happy Shahan, former partner of actor John Wayne in development of Alamo Village for the film.
Legacy, tradition, local activism, and a history of reaching out.


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