With the Mountain Area Home and Garden Show coming up, it’s only right to recognize Ron Catterson, one of the two founders of the show (Teresa Kahler being the other) back in 2005. The two had met at a joint seminar and brainstormed about how to get vendors involved in a local expo with money going back to the community.
To date, the show has donated more than $60,000 to nonprofit groups in Evergreen and Conifer, funneled these days through the Conifer and Evergreen Rotary clubs with specifications that the money be disbursed to local groups only.
The first show had just 35 booths, focused only on home improvements and was limited to a single day. Since then it’s grown to 80 booths, expanded to take in home and garden, and lasts for two days. The show alternates between Evergreen and Conifer each year, and at its peak had 1,500 visitors. This year it will take place at Evergreen High School on May 19th and 20th.
Ron, who was born and raised in Evergreen, couldn’t wait to leave what he and his friends referred to as “Everdead.” He attended Colorado College in the Springs, spent a semester at sea, literally traveling around the world and whetting his appetite for getting even further away from his home town.
Everdead had nothing to offer, he’d concluded. His father had conducted business from a home office on an eight-party phone line and been a volunteer firefighter. Not the life for Ron. After all, young people are able to see what their parents can’t….
Ron and a buddy spent more than four months traveling Europe (on $5 a day, as things used to be!) and Asia, including a month in Pakistan during a time the Pakistanis were trying to get rid of the Russians. “I really enjoyed Pakistan – the mountains, food, friendly people,” he said. “Nepal was the same. Burma was like the 1800s,” he said.
Having been exposed to dozens of other countries, he grew to appreciate the United States, realizing it’s not perfect but, he says, “It’s better than any other country I’ve been to.” After marrying and having children, he realized that Evergreen was a pretty nice place to grow up. In `91 he moved back with his wife and three children.
With a degree in geology, he found himself working in construction for 20 years, remodeling and flipping homes, taking him away from his family too much at a time when his children needed a dad in their lives. He’s since shifted to being President of Platte River Properties from a home office, managing oil and gas properties in eight states, and spending more time with his kids. But it was that interaction with vendors who served the remodeling industry that created the foundation of what has become the basis of the Mountain Area Home and Garden Show.
Now actively involved in scouting as an assistant scoutmaster, “I’m having as much fun as my kid.”
He’s part of implementing a new Scout campout in the Ft. Lupton area for boys 10-18, partnering 50 scouts from Evergreen’s Troop 737 with 35 from Denver’s inner city. It’s meant to dispel the perceptions that inner city kids fight off getting raped and mugged on a daily basis. “Evergreen’s a great community, but there’s a lack of diversity.”
He’s a strong proponent of scouting, feeling that it builds leadership skills naturally as the older boys are put in positions to teach younger kids. “They learn the values of doing what they’re told to do, respecting country, learning outdoor skills, and a spiritual aspect … producing good-quality older kids.
In retrospect, it was his growing up in Evergreen that provided the inspiration for how to live his life and how to give back, acknowledging that his parents’ involvement in politics, church, and the lives of others has influenced him in a positive way. He finds volunteering offsets the drudgery of paperwork that goes with his regular job.
With the infinite wisdom that comes from a 10-ear-old son, Ron learned on his 50th birthday, “Today, Dad, you’re on top of the hill.” Ron’s treating that as a plateau and enjoying the view.