Lamar Chamber of Commerce Hosts 103rd Annual Banquet

Ron Cook and Rick Robbins


The 2023 Lamar Chamber of Commerce annual banquet highlighted the community service and economic efforts of individuals and businesses in the local community.

2023 Chamber Banquet

County Commissioner, Ron Cook was presented with the Citizen of the Year Award for his on-going support of community activities including his 26 years of work with popular car shows for Oktoberfest and Lamar Days, his support of Toys for Tots for numerous years, the Prowers County Fairs, 911 parade and many more.  Cook served on the Lamar City Council for nine years, a term on the Lamar Utilities Board and is now entering his third term as Prowers County Commissioner.  The nominating letter also described many ‘behind-the-scenes’ charitable activities he his rendered locally on a personal level.

Rick Robbins

Rick Robbins, General Manager of Colorado Mills in Lamar received the Humanitarian of the Year Award.  The nominating letter stated that for the past 20 years, Robbins has contributed on many levels to such organizations as Lamar Rotary, Lamar Chamber, Prowers Economic Prosperity, Sparrow House Food Ministries, Cornerstone Resources, HOPE Center, Lamar Eagles Lodge and many of his actions have helped to serve the youth of the area and Lamar Community.

Melissa Bohl

Melissa Bohl received the Beverly Augustine, Business of the Year Award.  Owner/operator of the local flower shop, Thoughts in Bloom, Bohl has helped reach out through her business to the community since it opened in 2004 on South Main Street in Lamar.  A member of Lamar Partnership Incorporated, Zonta, Lamar Honkers and the Chamber of Commerce, she has participated in the annual LCC regional Career Development Event.  Bohl helps promote Lamar by association with the annual Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, an invitation-only event for float decoration based on academic and professional accomplishments.

Kolbe Brubacher

A new entry for the banquet, the Upcoming Business of the Year award, was presented to Kolby Brubacher, owner of the Colorado Drink Company on South Main Street in Lamar.  A former business teacher at McClave high school, Brubacher entered the business field himself, opening the Colorado Drink Company last year, bringing his expertise as an instructor to create his own flourishing company, serving made-to-order beverages.  That success lead into an expanded menu for food items allowing a new partnership in his operation.  Brubacher’s business has offered material and financial support by donating gifts and clothing for local children and families during the holidays.

Melonee Marcum 2023 and Gabrielle Hammer 2023 Chamber Presidents

2022 Chamber President, Gabrielle Hammer Nieschburg, stated that her past three years with the chamber has allowed her to further realize and appreciate the value of what rural communities have to offer.  She highlighted past, familiar chamber events such as Lamar Days and Oktoberfest along with new developments including the seasonal Farmer’s Market/Craft Fair or the fund-raising Glow Golf tournament at Spreading Antlers Golf Course.  Nieschburg also expressed thanks to chamber manager, Val Baldwin for her efforts to keep things running and finding sponsors for the events and to Karen Moreno of Buzzard’s Roost for that business’s support.

Marcum, Valerie Baldwin and Nieschburg


2023 Chamber President, Melonee Marcum mentioned the opportunities for the new year to bring new ideas and businesses to Lamar and extended an invitation for the community to join in chamber enterprises to help benefit the town and economic growth of the area.  Marcum urged residents to help support local businesses with local shopping and support.

Quyntyn Johnson of LV Petroleum

The Chamber offered others in the community to speak about recent economic developments and efforts by their organizations including Quynton Johnson, Senior VP of Operations for LV Petroleum, the new owners of TA Center on North Main, Lamar.  Johnson highlighted the anticipated arrival of KFC as well as another food outlet at the Center as well as outreach efforts to support the Lamar community in a number efforts.  Dr. Linda Lujan, President of Lamar Community College, noted the long history of support for the community through LCC for over 70 years and urged residents to disregard those who say economic progress can’t be accomplished in the area.  Cheryl Sanchez, Executive Director of PEP, Prowers Economic Prosperity, highlighted commercial and recent employment advances in the county as well as PEP’s support to develop new housing interests in the area.

On a municipal level, Lamar Mayor, Kirk Crespin and City Administrator, Rob Evans, detailed how the City of Lamar has helped advanced community life with business incentives, infrastructure development and how community involvement can be crucial to developing a forward-looking program for local residents.

The banquet enjoyed a large turn-out at the Lamar Eagles Lodge Friday night, with about 140 persons served by Lucky’s BBQ and catering.  The gathering included five members of the La Junta Chamber of Commerce.  Representative Gregory Kolomitz said both communities will continue to engage with each other on projects of mutual benefit.

By Russ Baldwin


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