Dr. Joe Sertich, Curator of Dinosaurs for the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, works on the plaster cast of Pops. Jerri Mapelli Gustafson and Terri Mapelli DeMoney (daughters of Roland “Sonny” Mapelli) and their families were in attendance the day Pops was transported to the museum.


WELD COUNTY, CO — If you’ve been to the Weld County Centennial Building (from 1986 to 2011) or the Weld County Administration Building (from 2011 to date), you’ve likely seen him…Pops the Triceratops; Weld County’s Official Fossil.

Discovered near Briggsdale in 1982 and donated to the county by the landowner, Roland “Sonny” Mapelli, in 1986, the first complete Triceratops skull found in the state is taking a field trip to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science for the next nine to 12 months for study and repair. The fossil was transported to the museum Friday, October 16.

“This is really exciting for the residents of the county,” said Commissioner Chairman Mike Freeman. “Many people aren’t aware this piece of history was discovered right here in Weld County. Now with the help of the museum, we’ll be able to learn more about this impressive fossil.”

The county was contacted by the Denver Museum of Nature Science’s Curator of Dinosaurs, Dr. Joe Sertich, in 2018. Dr. Sertich express the desire to study the fossil and offered to have his staff clean and repair it in return. Because the fossil was donated to the county with the stipulation it be on display in a county building for residents to enjoy, the county, the museum and state worked together to make sure this project would allow for both the study of fossil and the return of the fossil to the county.

“The museum has been great to work with,” said Commissioner Freeman. “And the community is starting to get excited about the project and the updates.”

The public is invited to follow along with the Pops the Triceratops project on www.discoverweld.com as well as on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (search for @popsthetriceratops) as stories and content about the fossil and Weld County’s ancient history will be shared during the time Pops is gone.

The county is also reaching out to various community partners such as the Poudre Learning Center, the High Plains and Clearview Library Districts and Weld County school districts to share news and develop events related to this project to as many residents as possible.

Submitted to The BARN by:

Jennifer Finch, Weld County Communications Director

By Tucker Allmer - The BARN

Tucker Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.