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Governors, premiers explore Summit

NICOLE FORMOSAsummit daily news
Summit Daily/Brad OdekirkWith the Canadian flag, Old Glory and the Colorado flag blowing in the background, Colorado Gov. Bill Owens stood outside the Great Divide Lodge at the base of Beaver Run Tuesday morning where he is hosting the Western Governors' Association conference. Because Governor Owens is chairing the the Association, he was able to pick the venue of this year's conference and he chose Breckenridge to highlight the charm of the Colorado Rockies. Governors from eight western states and premiers from three western Canadian provinces are attending the three-day conference.
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BRECKENRIDGE Despite a tight agenda, many of the governors and premiers in town for the Western Governors Association (WGA) conference are using any free time they have to get out and explore the Rocky Mountains.Ill be out tonight having a beer on Main Street, said Colorado Governor and WGA chairman Bill Owens. Were going out to the mayors house this afternoon and well be on Riverwalk tonight.Breckenridge Mayor Ernie Blake hosted the group at his ranch north of Silverthorne Monday afternoon.Afterward, the National Repertory Orchestra was scheduled to showcase its talent by providing the entertainment for the WGA and its guests at a dinner and gala at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge.Owens said he was happy that the members of the WGA were able to see a bluebird Colorado day, especially after Sundays rainy weather and brief snowstorm.Although, some were pleased to see the inclement weather.I appreciate the snow, said Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano. We havent had snow in Phoenix for years, actually.

Premier Ralph Klein of Alberta braved Sundays chilly weather to play a round of golf in Keystone.I froze, Klein said, but the course marshall said, You guys are used to it, youre from Canada.This trip is Kleins first to Breckenridge, though he said it reminds him of Banff, a popular resort area and national park in his home province.I feel very much at home here. Although the elevation is much higher, the mountains are the same, he said.The WGA hired Denvers Hip Consulting to plan several activities for the attendees family and guests during the three-day conference, including a mine tour, gold panning and horseback riding.About 45 people signed up for Sundays tour of the Country Boy Mine, including Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski and Saskatchewan Premier Lorne Calvert, said Megan Gilchrist of Hip Consulting.The same number signed up for Mondays horseback riding excursion along the Breckenridge trail led by Kingdom Stables, though no governors were planning on attending that trip, Gilchrist said.Another popular activity was Sundays Hummer tour of the town, which was attended by several of the first ladies.Breckenridge Ski Resort had been planning on opening the Peak 8 Fun Park for the group on Monday, but the equipment was too wet from the day before.Owens said the decision to hold the associations annual meeting in Breckenridge came from him, as chairman of the WGA. While many people suggested holding the conference at a hotel in Denver, he opted to bring it to Summit County.What we wanted to do is promote the mountains and the summer recreation activities, Owens said.Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext.229, or at nformosa@summitdaily.com


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