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Have You Met?

Energetic, humorous and full of life, describes Rick Enstrom, the guy who’s most comfortable with a fishing pole in his hand. He’s a Colorado native who can’t stop talking about the beauty in this state. Now he has the opportunity to make it even better. Governor Owens has appointed him Chairman of Colorado State Division of Wildlife.

Rick attended St. Bernadette School in Lakewood, Colorado, where, he says, “I was raised by the nuns.” His mother was a lay teacher at the school, which meant Rick couldn’t get away with much; Mom knew about it before it even happened. In his words, “I had a relatively happy, secure and stable childhood. I grew up in a great neighborhood with a creek in the back yard. It was a great place to grow up.” When he was twelve years old, his family moved to Grand Junction to take over the family candy business from his grandfather. “My grandfather was a State Representative and a State Senator from Grand Junction, I began working on his political campaigns when I was thirteen years old and have been involved ever since.” While in Grand Junction, he lived in another ideal suburban location where he was able to spend his days in pursuit of every form of wildlife.

Rick laughingly tells his favorite childhood story. “ I was thirteen and was fishing with a friend. I caught the state record carp. When the game warden came to inspect it, he found the fish had been shot with a .22 rifle. I had hooked the fish, but it was too big to land, (36” and 27 ½ lbs.) I had caught it in a little farm pond. When I couldn’t land it, I sent my friend back to the house to get my .22. After a good lecture, the warden made us dig a hole four feet by four feet by four feet in that hard red brick soil and bury the fish. That was my first experience with the Division of Wildlife!”

After graduation from Mesa State, Rick went to work in the family business making candy and continued working on political campaigns. His career took a turn when he ran for his first County Commissioner position. “This old County Commissioner, Howard Roland, was in office for years and years and no one would run against him. As a lark, a friend of mine announced at a meeting that I would run. I decided, ‘What the heck,’ put a few dollars together and I won. I became the youngest County Commission ever elected. I was twenty four.” He went on to operate a record and video store for a couple of years, then went back to the candy business. “I opened an Enstrom’s for the family in Tivoli and one in Cherry Creek, which we’ve operated for twelve years. My wife, Linda, runs the two candy stores. I’m still working on campaigns and doing a stint as State Wildlife Commissioner. It’s the most sought after appointment in the state.”

What’s important in your life? My family. I just became a grandfather two weeks ago and have a new grandson.

What’s in your future? Finishing obligations to the state of Colorado, spending time at the ranch in Lamar and watching my grandkids grow up

What are your volunteer activities? Past President of Cherry Creek Chamber of Commerce, Firefighter with the Lookout Mountain Volunteer Fire Department, EMT with Highland Rescue Team, Chairman; Colorado Wildlife Commission, Board of Directors; Great Outdoors Colorado and various other responsibilities within the Department of Natural Resources

Which social event is your favorite? Denver Social Register Annual Membership Tea

Favorite restaurant? 240 Union

Who is the most interesting celebrity you have ever met? Ronald Reagan. When I was a young County Commissioner, he came to Grand Junction. I had to introduce him and I forgot what I was supposed to say. Reagan laughed it off. He has a great sense of humor.

If your life were a movie, whom would you want to play your part? Bill Murray

Do you have any pets? Yes, home has been a zoo, but we’re downsizing. Presently, we have a dozen cardinal tetras, Liz, our lab retriever, and a bearded dragon.

When you move, what will your home tell its next owner about you? Nothing! I’m going to make a disclaimer. This house ain’t talking!

What word describes you best? Wacky!

How would you like others to describe you? Focused

What was your first job? Cleaning toilets and dumping trash at Vega State Park on the Grand Mesa

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? There aren’t any…oh, I can be a little vindictive at times.

What is the trait you most deplore in others? Inability to follow through

What is your greatest indulgence? Tournament walleye fishing

What is the best gift you have ever given? When mom was sick I got a phony “Pope hat” and gave it to my mom along with a rosary from the Pope’s visit. She thought the hat was the funniest thing…

What is the best gift you’ve received? My children

What or who is the greatest love in your life? My wife, Linda

What is your current state of mind? Happy! I really am.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Having the opportunity to serve on the Wildlife Board

What is your most treasured possession? My ranch in Lamar

What is the quality you most like in a man? Ability to follow through

What is the quality you most like in a woman? Stability

Favorite books/writers? Hunter S. Thompson

What is the best advice you have ever received? Mom told me, “ Have fun everyday. The Golden Years aren’t as golden as they’ve been portrayed.”

Do you have a motto? No

What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you? My fish story, the Reagan introduction and there’s a lot of other funny stuff

If you could come back in another lifetime, what/who would you like to be? And why? Mark Twain. That boy had a sense of humor.

What are your hobbies? Other interests? Fishing, hunting, camping

Who is your mentor? I’ve had a number of mentors. Currently, it’s the former Speaker of the House, Russell George.

What would you most like to be remembered for? Leaving Colorado a little bit better than I found it

If you could go anywhere and do anything, what would it be? I’m doing it right now

What do you like about the town you live in? It’s an easy town to get along in, not stuffy, not pretentious and just sophisticated enough that you can do as much as you want or as little as you want

Rick, You were always destined for greatness. Since I have known you were always a "cut above" the others in our group. I can always reflect back with fond memories of the time we lost your Dad's fishing pole up on the Grand Mesa. Well at least for our efforts we came home with something. God bless you and yours my friend.
Laurence Valdez
19-May-04