Interview with Ken Esarey of Simla, Colorado. Mr. Esarey begins by discussing the Colorado Cowboy Camp Meeting, held annually at the Smith Ranch near Simla, Colorado since 1956. Mr Esarey states that he has attended the camp meetings since they were begun in 1956, when he was seven years old. He describes the history of the annual camp meeting and the people involved in organizing it, his involvement in the meetings, how they have affected his life, and many of the activities at the meetings. He describes the prayer tree, where ranchmen and cowboys would share their spiritual ideas and bible verses. He talks about the socializing that takes place at the meetings, stories and songs shared around the campfire, and kids' activities. He next discusses his work in soil conservation on Colorado's eastern plains. He tells of how his father, Don Esarey, became interested in soil conservation while working on a farm near Vona and Stratton, Colorado, in Kit Carson County, during the 1940s. Don Esarey incorporated and refined terracing and contour plowing techniques, with assistance from the U.S. Soil Conservation Service, as a method of preserving the productivity of the soil. He defines and describes the terracing process and how it helps prevent soil erosion and conserve water. He goes into great technical detail about methods of soil conservation for farming on the Great Plains. He discusses irrigation farming and its possible damaging effects on the land and on the water table. At the time of the interview Mr. Esarey was living in Fort Collins and teaching school in Loveland, Colorado. He contrasts city living with growing up in the rural area of Colorado and describes the small towns on the plains of Elbert County. He ends by speculating on the future of the plains area of eastern Colorado.
Pikes Peak Region Oral Histories
The Pikes Peak Region Oral Histories collection contains audio interviews with long-term residents of the mountains and plains region of central Colorado, providing unique, first-hand accounts of the life, culture and historic events of the area. These voices from the past, recorded from the 1960s to the present, bring the history of the region vividly alive, as residents recall their struggles and triumphs as they shaped our region from the late 19th century to modern times.