July 2019 Newsletter

Reflecting with Rhonda: Five Years In

By Dale Dauten, Syndicated Columnist

Rhonda Ciacco was with her family in Colorado when she decided that she needed a break, a real break, something restful, going someplace so far away from people that there wasn’t even cellphone reception, someplace to just “zone out.” For most people “zoning out” means a long nap or a quiet evening with a visit from Ben and Jerry. For Rhonda, it meant getting on her granddaughter’s horse, a barrel racer named Pine, and riding alone to the top of The Grand Mesa, the world’s largest flat-top mountain.

The Grand Mesa in Colorado

Peaceful? Rhonda tells the story…

“I was just reaching the top when the sky turned black and it got real quiet. Then the hailstorm started and then the drenching rain. I leaned over and patted Pine on the neck and he looked back at me and snorted. Then he reared up and took off. I think we set a record for getting down that mountain.”

I suppose it’s a fitting bookend to last summer, when all the troubles at Silveridge and The Resort came rolling in. As Rhonda recalled it,

“The storm that did all the damage at The Resort was last year on July 9th. Exactly a month later, on August 9th, we had the storm that collapsed the roof at Silveridge. I remember telling everyone back then that if there was a storm coming on September 9th I would find a hole to crawl into and not come out.”

We got Rhonda reminiscing because it’s been five years now since she took over as General Manager of Silveridge and The Resort, and we thought that was a fine time to get her reflect back on her tenure as GM.

Rhonda Ciacco (who stopped telling us how much she hates having her photo taken long enough for a half-hearted half-smile)


Unsurprisingly, last summer ranks as the low point of her years at the two parks. She reflected on the two very different kinds of awful that summer:

“At The Resort, we had 147 units damaged and the night of the storm we had 17 streets that were impassable. What I remember most about that night was George [that’s George Igualt] and the Maintenance guys and all the neighbors who came rushing to help. We couldn’t have made it without them.

“Then, at Silveridge, the damage was mostly limited to the clubhouse. My most vivid memory of that night was crawling under the collapsed roof and through the debris, making sure no one was in there injured or trapped inside.”

As everyone realized at the time, it was amazing that there were no injuries.Even so, recovering from the storms was no simple matter, especially at Silveridge. “It’s been a year of meetings,” Rhonda says with a sigh. “We had meeting after meeting – permits, structural engineers, the gas company, insurance adjusters, construction companies. Then we had meetings to pick new carpet and flooring and paint and furniture. But, now we’re finishing up the last of the projects and we’re looking forward to a full, happy season.”

(She added that in addition to the upgrades at the clubhouse, there’s a new improvement coming to the Silveridge pool area: music. Speakers are being placed around the pool and they will be playing music supplied via DirecTV.)


We also asked Rhonda about her favorite moments as GM. She thought about that a while and then said, “There are so many, but you know what I love best? All those times when someone comes back to the park or maybe it’s their first stay, and they come up to me to volunteer and say, ‘How can I help?’ Those are the people and the moments that mean the most.”

Then Rhonda added, “But I also love the dinner shows, and the work of the Sunshine Friends. And it’s great having Al [LaCanne] and George [Igualt] as bosses — they always have my back.”


Although the countdown to the new season begins as soon as the last one ends, Rhonda has a couple more adventures planned for this summer. But as we’ve come to learn, she’s never far away from Silveridge or The Resort: “I have some trips coming up, but, rest assured, I’ll have my phone with me.”