The Mesa Verde Back Country Horsemen, a chapter of the larger Back Country Horsemen of America and Back Country Horsemen of Colorado, are offering a scholarship opportunity to high school students in the area.
The scholarship is being offered to local seniors in high school who plan to pursue a secondary education or trade in agriculture or outdoors. Other fields that would be accepted by the scholarship committee are natural resource management conservation and outdoor recreation.
“The scholarship is intended for seniors who are interested in furthering their education with horses, with livestock, with the backcountry and with the wilderness,” chapter treasurer Ellen Lein said.
The scholarship application was sent to over six schools in the area, and all interested students are encouraged to apply. The student picked by the chapter will be awarded a $1,500 scholarship to go toward tuition, housing, food or whatever the student may need as they pursue their goals.
“It's not limited just to colleges,” Lein said. “We've also opened this up for anybody pursuing a trade related to fields with livestock and the backcountry.”
The scholarship application is due by April 30. Those interested in applying can reach out to their school office and see if they have applications on hand, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lein told The Journal that they work on improving and maintaining trails while riding horses and enjoying the backcountry. The chapter, established in 1998, is a 501(3)(c) nonprofit.
“There’s multiple chapters in this area. We go out and do trail maintenance, and it's not just horse trails, other users, hikers, bikers and more. I think that's the three major users of trails and we do maintenance on these. We also do education in the area by teaching people how our horses respond to seeing people on the trail and seeing bikers on the trail. I know nationally, there's a lot of involvement in wilderness regulation. We have a voice,” Lein said.
In 2022, the group totaled 582 hours of service.
According to information provided on MCHS’s daily announcements regarding available scholarships, the Mesa Verde Back Country Horsemen are “dedicated to keeping trails open for all on public lands.” They also noted that they actively invest in growing young leaders to be good stewards of natural resources and to be responsible for land, the back country and their resources.
The Mesa Verde Backcountry Horsemen are always seeking new members, according to Lein. The next meeting will take place on Jan. 9 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. and those who are interested are welcome to join the meeting at First National Bank on Main Street in Cortez.
According to the chapter’s website, the organization is perfect for those who love horses and mules and love riding in the back country in solitude. The chapter also appreciates these things while also maintaining and give back to public lands.
“We are part of something bigger,” they said.