Gilpin rodeo arena dedicated as the Allen Memorial Arena

Gilpin County Fair

By David Josselyn

On Saturday, July 24, 2021, with hundreds of people in attendance, Gilpin Archwood 4H and GCART dedicated the outdoor arena on the fairgrounds in the memory of fallen firefighters Cody and Shelby Allen. On December 11, 2020, Cody and Shelby succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning while sleeping in their home. The Allen’s were prominent, well-liked, active members of Gilpin County with a joie de vivre like no other. In their honor, the arena was renamed “Allen Memorial Arena” in a touching equestrian-themed ceremony. Two riders, Dannika Sternlicht carrying the American Flag and Rebecka Allen carrying the Redline Flag (a black and white American flag with one single strip in red) rode into the arena leading the Diamond SR Carriage carrying the family members of Coby and Shelby. After lapping the arena, they paused for the following message:

“Today we will be dedicating the Arena in memory of two incredible people that embodied the meaning of community. Cody and Shelby loved spending time here at the fairgrounds. If there was an event or Fair at the arena, you’d be sure to see them here participating, or helping out whether it was them putting on the event or not. Not only would they be seen at any and all events they could attend, but you would catch them volunteering with GCART keeping the facility at the ready for any evacuees that needed a safe haven, as well as just meeting family and friends here to enjoy spending time together with their horses. So it only seems fitting to have the arena named the Allen Memorial Arena after Cody and Shelby.”

“Gilpin Archwood 4H has also dedicated all their series in memory of two community members who exemplified everything that 4H is about as mentioned in the 4-H motto. I pledge my HEAD to clearer thinking, My HEART to greater loyalty, My HANDS to greater service, and My HEALTH to better living for my club, my community, my country and my world. Cody and Shelby always had the ‘can do’ attitude with anything they were faced with. These two had hearts of gold and were some of the most selfless people you would have ever met. Cody and Shelby volunteered their time to the betterment of the community. They did this through many different avenues such as their service as firefighters, volunteers with GCART, and mentored the younger generations of the community. Not to mention they were always a phone call away for anyone who needed a helping hand. Cody and Shelby lived life to the fullest with a smile on anytime you saw them.”

Announcer Kevin Armstrong asked for a moment of silence, followed by the singing of the National Anthem by Dannika Sternlicht. As Dannika’s first a capella note broke the silence, the emotionally charged breaks in her voice as she tried hard to keep tears in check choked the audience who could freely show their emotion. It would have been hard to find a dry eye on the fairgrounds. After the Anthem, the family members walked by the new wooden sign, “Allen Memorial Arena” in memory of Cody and Shelby, some taking the time to kiss their hand and lay their kiss on the sign.

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