Queen takes the reign

When Brighton resident Savanna Hamilton was in sixth grade, she was dying to have a horse.

“My dad promised me if I got all A’s that I could have a horse,” Hamilton, a senior at Holy Family High School in Broomfield, told the Denver Catholic Register. “I did, so now I have a horse.”

For the last five years, she’s been participating in the 4-H horse project, and been successful competing at local, regional and national levels. This year she earned another crowning achievement when selected as Adams County Fair Queen.

Hamilton’s reign began in March, following a year of training under the previous queen. She has taken this role as an ambassador in the community to heart, and credits in part her faith and experience at Holy Family in helping her to prepare for it.

“My faith has definitely strengthened me a lot; it helped me (decide to run for the position) and to be someone that people can look up to,” she said. “My faith inspires me to do more and reach out to organizations. I wouldn’t have come as far as I have without it.”

According to Adams County criteria, Hamilton was selected based on outstanding performance in academics, community service, leadership, public speaking, character and horsemanship. She has maintained a 3.5 grade point average at Holy Family with a course load that has included honors classes, served in various leadership roles with Adams County 4-H, and is a member of the Adams County Horse Bowl and Hippology teams where she has competed in state and national contests, and placed in the Top 5 at the All American Quarter Horse Congress three times.

At the Adams County Fair July 30-Aug 3, she was named Grand Champion in the Working Ranch Horse division and Reserve Grand Champion in the Western Division, earning her a spot to compete at the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo.

Hamilton also participates in public speaking, delivering a speech on the history of Adams County to help win the title of fair queen; photography, jewelry, drawing, and wood and leather work. This year she entered two paintings in the county fair that she created in the honors studio art program at Holy Family, as well as leather pieces she crafted in class.

“The community at Holy Family is great,” she said. “All of the students are amazing … you develop  relationships with everyone, and the teachers are nice.”

She has also become more involved in community service projects through the school.

“I do the volunteering any chance we have,” she said. “They make sure that we’re involved.”

Her volunteer work has including serving at Starlight Children’s Foundation, Ronald McDonald House and St. Augustine Parish in Brighton, her home parish.

She is grateful for the opportunity to attend a Catholic school.

“We go to church regularly,” she said of her family faith life with mom Kristie, dad Vince and younger brother Adam, 16. “But it’s different (when you go to Catholic school) because you pray more every day, usually every class period.”

The Holy Family community applauded Hamilton for her accomplishments.

“Savanna is a wonderful young lady,” said Principal Timothy Gallic. “We are very proud of her success. She is a joyful and happy person to be around.”

Hamilton plans to attend Colorado State University next year and major in equine veterinary science and business, in hopes of a career in horses and animal science.

“We’re proud of her,” said her father Vince. “She’s a good girl.”

Hamilton’s reign as Adams County Fair Queen continues through March 2015.

COMING UP: Team Samaritan cyclist goes ‘Everesting’ for the homeless and hungry

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When it comes to the daily sufferings of those who are homeless, there’s nothing like a 29,029-foot bike ride to keep things in perspective.

That’s exactly what Corbin Clement will be doing this Saturday, June 19, with a couple of his riding buddies as they attempt an “Everesting” ride to raise money for the Samaritan House homeless shelter in Denver. Starting at Witter Gulch Road in Evergreen, the three riders will climb Squaw Pass Road to a point in Clear Creek County and ride back down the hill for over eight laps, which amounts to roughly 190 miles in distance and the equivalent of the elevation of Mt. Everest in terms of vertical climbing – hence the name “Everesting.” Their goal is to complete the feat in 20 hours or less.

Oh, and they can’t sleep. It is, indeed, just as crazy as it sounds. Those who aren’t avid cyclists might be wondering, “How in the world do you train for something like this?” 
“For training, it’s been just more or less ride as much as possible,” Clement told the Denver Catholic. “The training is structured around endurance, and that’s of course what Everesting is. It’s just a lot of peddling. So, a lot of my training so far has just been trying to ride as much as possible and ride longer high elevation rides.” 

In March, an Irish cyclist set the world record for Everesting when he completed the feat in six hours and 40 minutes. Clement isn’t trying to set a record, but regardless, it’s quite a feat to undertake, even for a seasoned athlete like him, whose pedigree includes snowboarding and rock climbing. 

“Our ride will be the same thing, but it’ll be pretty different,” Clement said. “We don’t have any sort of special bikes or super focused diet or a really regimented plan or a crew that’s very well-instructed on how we’re going to tackle this. I’ve read a couple of things to just kind of make it into a party — have friends come out to support you, get people to join you on certain laps…that’s kind of the approach we’re taking.” 

Clement has already raised $5,200 for Samaritan House, with a current goal of $8,000. This is Clement’s first year riding for Team Samaritan, but his dad, Kevin, has ridden for the team for several years. When his dad offered to give him an extra kit and uniform, Clement accepted, but didn’t want to take it without doing something help the cause. He could’ve simply opted for a nice ride in the countryside, but he chose to do something a bit more challenging.  

Corbin Clement used to experience the challenges that homeless people face on a daily basis when commuting through downtown Denver to work on his bike. This Saturday, he will raise money for Samaritan House homeless shelter by “Everesting,” a 190-mile bike ride that is the equivalent of the elevation of Mt. Everest in terms of vertical climbing. (Photo provided)

“For some reason, the Everesting idea popped into my head,” he explained. “I think it’s one of those things that has a little bit of shock value for people who hear about it. It’s certainly something that’s gained more popularity and visibility in the last couple of years with endurance athletes. I wanted to choose something that would actually be a challenge for myself and something that I’d have to work towards.” 

Clement currently resides in Utah, but he used to live in Denver and commute by bike to work every day. During those rides to his office, which was located near Samaritan House, he would pass many homeless people and have conversations with them. This experience was also a motivating factor for his Everesting attempt for Team Samaritan. 

“It’s very different when you’re on a bike versus in a car because you’re right there,” Clement said. “If you stop at a stoplight and a homeless person is on the corner, whether or not they’re panhandling or something like that, you hear the conversations, or you’ll have a conversation with them. There are things you smell or you hear or you see that you just never would if you were in a car. So, it kind of made sense, too, with the biking aspect. It’s part of my community that I’ve lived and worked in for a very long time.” 

Clement’s Everesting attempt is one event in a series of endurance event’s he’s doing over the summer that culminates with the Leadville 100, a single-day mountain bike race across the Colorado Rockies. In that race, he will be riding to support young adults diagnosed with cancer by raising funds for First Descents.  

Both causes are near to Clement’s heart, and he said that while his Everesting attempt will be a form of “suffering,” it pales in comparison to what the homeless face day in and day out. This is ultimately why he’s riding and raising funds for Team Samaritan. 

“Any time we see a homeless person or people who have to live on the streets,” Clement said, “That is true suffering — true endurance — with no end in sight.” 

To learn more about Corbin’s fundraising efforts or to donate, click here.