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Steamboat Magazine

Boat people

12/01/2004 01:00AM ● By Anonymous

Winter 2004:

Boat people

Cookie Lockhart Fast talkin', wise crackin', snazzy dressin' and gun totin' by Marles Humphrey     She struts and swaggers, her hazel eyes flashing under a ten-gallon hat. Perfectly manicured fingers efficiently transfer huge glasses, rimmed in pricey crystal, from her face to her hands and back again.    Cookie is on stage, using her deep voice and staccato delivery to engage and captivate her audience. There is no question why Cookie Lockhart was the first woman inducted into the Colorado Auctioneers' Hall of Fame.Stylish and sassy, Cookie Lockhart makes an undeniable fashion statement. Photo by Marjory Arbogast    Cookie's ascent to fame was hardly magical. Often the only woman in a man's world, she had to work extra hard to prove herself to her male counterparts.    "The older buggers would say, women don't have any business in the auction business,'" Cookie remembers.    Her father, Simon (Si) Lockhart, who claimed the first seat in the Colorado Auctioneers' Hall of Fame, didn't see it that way. His daughter had the talent and he had the experience, so it was natural that Si mentored his offspring.    By the time she was five years old, Cookie was wheeling and dealing. At her folks' riding stable in Steamboat Springs, she would approach tourists, asking sweetly, "Would you like to see my horse buck for a quarter?" Amazed at the daring of the diminutive rider, city folk would fork up the cash. With coins clutched in her tiny palms, Cookie would have her horse, Paint, rear up and take off.    "Easterners didn't knothe difference between rearing and bucking," Cookie explains, her eyes dancing impishly.    Cookie ultimately became a waitress at the Golden Slipper Restaurant at the Cherry Creek Inn, a job that led her into a career in modeling.    On the weekends, she came home to Steamboat to help her dad with his cattle business. Cookie loved driving a truck and challenged herself to move cattle to Denver in a 16-hour time frame eight hours each way.    When Si complained that Cookie's older brother, Dar, took two or three days to get the cattle to market and spent $200-$300, compared to Cookie spending none, Dar argued: "It's girls like Cookie I'm spending my money on."    In 1963, Cookie attended auctioneering school and graduated as the only woman in a class of 126.    Cookie was a phenomenon in the business. The Colorado Rocky Mountain News showcased her in a mid-1960s article called "Steamboat Springs Spieler Sweet, Shapely."    Although appreciative of the publicity, Cookie took offense at the headline.    "I don't mind them calling me shapely, but sweet?" she wisecracks.    By 1966, Cookie's unusual profession gained the attention of the producer of the popular television show, To Tell the Truth. She appeared as a contestant on the program titled, "Who is the real lady auctioneer?" Dressed in black chiffon with stage make-up, she looked more like a movie star than a cowgirl with a hair-trigger tongue. When asked by the panelists hoshe was able to talk so fast, Cookie replied: "It's easy. My father's an auctioneer and my mother's a woman."    Cookie isn't particularly dazzled by her fame. To her, it's just her job one in which she has presided over more than 500 auctions.    "I've sold bulls, buttons, buffalo and bulldozers; rabbits, rakes, ratchets and real estate," she says.    Her audacious manner and flamboyant style at age 66 are in direct contrast to Cookie's almost childlike vulnerability. Under her tough exterior lurks a heart the size of Texas. Close friends describe her as generous to a fault.    Even the adroit businesswoman admits to becoming emotionally involved with every family that engages her for an auction. Even when people are not forthright, she always trusts the next person.    "I believe everything they tell me," she admits. "I've never learned not to believe them." Writer Marles Humphrey, photographer Marjory Arbogast and artist Suzy Holloran are collaborating on a series profiling women of the West.Craig Kennedy Opening DoorsCraig Kennedy goes backcountry skiing.     That sentiment is expressed by many people who move to Steamboat Springs and Craig Kennedy is no exception.    The 32-year-old still loves skiing backcountry powder, blazing down a mountain bike trail, kayaking, rafting and four-wheeling.    Over the last nine years he has traveled, was featured on a Chilean extreme sports TV shoand followed a band on a 19-state tour. Oh yes, and he's also written a book for adventure travelers.    So, what else would Craig like to do?    "I'd like to get into horseback riding. It's supposed to be the most like walking," Craig says.    Craig has been in a wheelchair since a 1996 ski accident left him with a broken back.    "It was late spring conditions. I had never skied the run before. I hit the cat track. The next thing I remember is waking up and ski patrol taking me down the mountain in a sled," Craig recalls.    Flight for Life took him to Denver. After 10 hours of surgery, he spent 47 days in the hospital. Doctors told him he broke his T-10 and T-12 vertebrae and would have to wait two weeks for an assessment.    Craig's reaction?     "Doctors say they won't tell you that you will or won't walk again because they don't know. I counted down the days for two weeks. Then I made the decision that I could be miserable or happy. I've never been a miserable person, so it was an easy decision. The hospital sent in a psychiatrist, who asked hoI was doing. I said, I think I'm OK doc,' and he left. The bill was $400."    Craig lives life to the fullest, but there's one barrier, actually many accessibility. "I don't want to miss out on things. I want to make it work," he says.    Making it work can be frustrating as Craig and his girlfriend, Andrea Jehn, are finding. "People have their own interpretations of what accessible means," Andrea says.    She had spent three months researching a trip to Alaska for Craig's 30th birthday. Their lodging had a ramp system, but Craig's chair couldn't fit in the supposedly accessible shower. He had to shower with his feet hanging out.    "ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) is just a piece of paper. There is no one you can call. It's not going to get enforced unless you take it upon yourself," Craig says.    The shower scene, and a push from a friend, convinced the couple to write a guidebook for disabled travelers. Access Anything: Colorado Adventuring with Disabilities will be published by Fulcrum Publishing this spring. "It tells hoyou would make it work. Here is homany sets of hands you will need," Andrea says.    Their hope is to build awareness about the needs for accessibility. "There will never be less people with disabilities. If I'm going to live here, I want it to be accessible" Craig says.    On a scale of 1-10, they rate Steamboat a 7 or 8 not bad. They want visitors to knothat Steamboat has one of the oldest adaptive ski programs in the state. This January, Steamboat hosts the Adaptive World Ski and Snowboard Championships. "We want them to see that Steamboat is accessible so they will come back," Andrea says.    Craig and Andrea, along with Mohawkie, their 118-pound Akita/ Newfoundland service dog, do accessibility consulting for businesses and are researching their next adventure travel book about California.    "We want to do it all positively," Andrea says. Craig adds, "I'm still here to ski."Nancy Kramer She's Not Dreadfully Normal    You don't actually have to write the book, but you do have to figure out the title. My book's title is The Fear of Being Dreadfully Normal. Memoirs of an Overachiever."    Kramer, as Nancy and her friends call the executive director of the Steamboat Springs Arts Council, reflects on the collection of transitions, careers and roles in her life. From nurse and healthcare administrator to baker/business owner, arts advocate/non-profit leader, wife, mother, friend, singer, jokester and elected official (don't say politician).Nancy Kramer surrounded by art at the Depot. Photo by Ken Proper.    Just as every recipe has specific ingredients, precise measurements and its own distinctive flair, the recipe for Kramer combines cups of practical, dashes of pragmatic and huge portions of creative. "My creative side and pragmatic side have always come together," she says. Just don't let her get bored.    "I didn't want to do ordinary things and have an ordinary life, but didn't knowhat that meant for me. I wanted to do something that had positive results."    Noin her 11th year at the helm of the arts council and third year as a city council representative, Kramer has seen many positive results while trying to stay focused on the big picture, creating relationships and "fixing things."    "I've never shied away from a challenging profession or experience. In public service, as in care taking, I look forward to getting a chance to fix things," she says.    Living in Steamboat since 1974 (or was it 75? she wonders), Kramer emphasizes leadership and the core values recently defined by her staff of doing good work, professionalism, respect and pride. At the same time, she struggles with the importance of balancing time with husband, Lynn, and his two children, Tara and Alana, 35 and 39, whom she helped raise.    Her creative energies are expressed in her famous cheesecakes, singing with the Mountain Madrigal Choir and in a visionary approach to business and community organizations. She draws a distinction, noting that leadership is about doing the right thing and management is about doing things right.     "Keep in mind the greater good. In the end, whatever you are putting together will work out," Kramer says.    Steamboat, Kramer says, has afforded her the opportunity to expand the scope of her career and do more in the community. She notes that the dynamics of any organization are the most difficult part. "Staying dedicated to the big picture can be frustrating," she says and adds, "I'm intolerant to separatists."    "Steamboat is scary at times because you're under a magnifying glass in a small community. I've tried to do each one of my jobs well and be a good leader. Hopefully the community has benefited from me being in these careers at each transition. It was hard at times, and there has also been great joy," Kramer says.    A statue sits on her desk that Kramer thinks best personifies her own self-portrait. Displaying panache, flair, a sense of confidence, poise, strength and silliness, she says of the statue, "You want to be around her."    Realizing that she may be "developing a sage approach to life," Kramer says she's considering moderation. "I think I (accomplished) the title of my book. I don't think I'm dreadfully normal, but maybe I'm in complete denial."