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Grand Canyon Author to Present Lecture and Slide Show at USU

Friday, Mar. 09, 2007

March 9, 2007

Contact: Eriek Hansen (435) 881-5416
            LOGAN — Riverman Bert Loper is known as the “Grand Old Man of the Colorado,” and for those who know his story, he is recognized as a legend. Loper is the subject of a new book by award-winning author Brad Dimock and the subject of a lecture to be presented at Utah State University.
            Dimock will provide a 45-minute slide show and lecture based on his new book “The Very Hard Way: Bert Loper and the Colorado River.” The event is Friday, March 23, at 4:30 p.m. in USU’s Natural Resources Building, room 217. The event is free and all are invited.
            The speaker is sponsored by the USU Student Subunit of the Bonneville Chapter, American Fisheries Society, and the College of Natural Resources Student Council.
            Loper died at his oars in a Grand Canyon rapid at the age of 80. He began his river running on the San Juan River in 1893, and spent much of his life working and living among the branches of the Colorado River. By the time he died, he was said to have spent more time on the river than anyone ever had, and covered more miles of its main forks than anyone else ever could.
            Loper came West at age 16 to work on his uncle’s ranch in southwestern Colorado. He worked as a ditch digger and mule skinner before migrating to Telluride and the life of a hard-rock miner. His 50 subsequent years as a river runner began in 1893 when the silver market collapsed and the mines closed. Loper acted as lead boatman on the 1921 government survey of the San Juan, and the following year for the Green River survey. He first ran the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon when he was 70.
            Dimock, who has spent nearly 35 years as a riverman himself, will tell Loper’s story. His 2001 work “Sunk Without a Sound: The Tragic Colorado River Honeymoon of Glen and Bessie Hyde,” won the National Outdoor Book Award.
            The author’s book about Loper and his life will be available at the lecture for purchase and signing.

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