Campers flock to Summit for Labor Day |

Campers flock to Summit for Labor Day

summit daily news
Summit County, Colorado CO

SUMMIT COUNTY ” Labor Day weekend provides an extra day off for most people and one last chance to celebrate summer.

For the self-proclaimed “Chuckwagon” crew, it provides a yearly chance to come and spend Labor Day weekend together camping on Dillon Reservoir.

This year the group consists of eight separate families with seven campsites between them. They estimate this is their 10th year coming to Dillon Reservoir and have brought as many as 40 people before.

“The camp folks aren’t very nice to us and I just don’t know why. I guess we can be a little loud sometimes,” camper Robin Ogren said with a laugh.

The group all lives in the Denver-metropolitan area, but are originally from states such as Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota and more. They all became friends through connections at work and other friends. Eventually it led to a softball team and from there the camp trip emerged.

“It was listed as one of the most beautiful campsites in Colorado in the newspaper, so we came up one year and have been coming every year since,” Ogren said. “We like it because it’s more rustic. We go to other campsites and they have all the electric and all the power and everything.”

Their typical activities are similar to what most campers are doing in the area this weekend ” walking, biking, fishing, shopping and, of course, stories told over a campfire.

“We like to make fun of each other when we tell stories, particularly one guy gets it a lot,” John Merna said. “He keeps coming back up every year, though.”

The group did add a new wrinkle to the trip this year, in the form of a fishing tournament. Everyone that wanted to enter put $5 in the pot. Whoever catches the most fish and the person who catches the biggest fish will split the money.

It’s a friendly competition, but not without ribbing from the contestants. The different groups yell at each other, poking fun at their inability to catch fish.

Ogren and Susan Merna even managed to make a joke about all the men in their group who keep changing their fishing positions.

“You know, all the men keep moving and so we decided we should to,” Susan Merna said as she shifted her weight in her chair and put her right leg over the left. “I think this position will be much better for catching fish.”

Sadly, Susan Merna and Ogren haven’t managed to catch any fish, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t enjoying themselves. In fact, the group plans and reserves their spots early to ensure their yearly return.

“We sign up for these spots in November. As soon as they open, we get these spots for this weekend,” John Merna said. “(We) have to reserve these spots before the first of the year.”

This trip has brought plenty of memories and even provided the “Chuckwagon” crew with their nickname.

The women pointed out one of the trucks with a visual illustration to describe the nickname. The picture had the comic-book character Calvin struggling to drag a wagon with a man passed out in it. It alludes to what the women described ” having to drag their men back from late nights, even if it required a little help of a wagon to do so.

For this group, that nickname describes exactly what this trip and Labor Day weekend is all about ” having fun, doing some outdoor activities and reminiscing.

Jonathan Batuello can be reached at (970) 668-4653 or

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