For Christmas 2020, Monica Chen of Sacred Rim Event Planning in Pinedale wanted to introduce a new event. “My husband and I moved to Pinedale in February of 2019,” Monica shares. “Our first Christmas in the town was that year and as tradition, we drove around to look at Christmas lights. We were sad to see that not many people decorated. So [in 2020], we decided to put on a Christmas Light Competition in hopes of lighting up Pinedale. With the crazy year, I wanted to help bring some extra joy during the Christmas season through beautiful light displays.”
This free event was brought to Pinedale through Monica’s company, Sacred Rim Event Planning. Both residences and businesses were invited to compete. An interactive map was provided for the community to drive around and look at the lights, then vote on their favorites.
As with all new community events, Monica took some notes on things that worked well and things that needed some tweaking. (I sure do know all about that myself!) Overall, it was a success and Monica’s energy in Pinedale and around the area can be felt through her Instagram work – check her out @sacredrimeventplanning , where she talks about her wedding & event planning services, but also unique rentals available!
Do you have a new Wyoming community event or some 2020 spirit to share? We want to share it with our community! Email me at email@example.com!
Doyle Vaughan, of Jackson, and Daniel Hawkins, of Greybull, are the latest inductees into the Wyoming Aviation Hall of Fame for their work in the field of aviation.
With the Wyoming Aviation Hall of Fame celebrating its 25th anniversary, organization leaders wanted to mark the milestone by inducting two individuals this year.
Daniel J. Hawkins operated highly specialized aerial services, including mountain flying, firefighting, search and rescue, surveying and hauling. An experienced fixed wing pilot, Hawkins also was a highly experienced helicopter pilot who used helicopters in a variety of applications. He was co-owner of Hawkins & Powers Aviation Inc. and co-owned several fixed-base operations in northern Wyoming, including Sky Aviation in Worland, Powell Aviation and Big Horn Airways in Sheridan.
Hawkins began working for Greybull-based Avery Aviation in 1964. He later purchased the company with Gene Powers in 1969, changing the name to Hawkins & Powers. Known for its innovations in aerial firefighting techniques and slurry delivery systems, Hawkins & Powers operated for more than 35 years before closing in 2005.
Hawkins was a pioneer in the use of helicopters in mountain flying, search and rescue, the energy industry, agricultural and rangeland, and wildlife applications. In 2000, he received the Helicopter Association International’s prestigious Robert E. Trimble Memorial Award for his mountain flying accomplishments and innovations and, in 2006, the Meritorious Service Award for his outstanding service to the civil helicopter community.
Hawkins had numerous memorable moments in a helicopter, including placing a bison monument on top of Cedar Mountain, west of Cody, to mark the site where Buffalo Bill Cody wished to be buried. He also appeared as the helicopter pilot in the 1968 John Wayne movie, Hellfighters, filmed near Casper.
Hawkins logged more than 30,000 flight hours in his 60 years of flying. He passed away on June 28, 2006.
Doyle Vaughan began flying in the 1950s. His professional flying began in Texas, where he joined an air service company. In 1962, Vaughan was selected by the U.S. Army to be an instructor pilot at Fort Wolters, Texas. While a U.S. Army Primary Helicopter instructor, he received the Gold Safety Certificate. After his service, he was hired by Hughes Tool Company as a corporate pilot.
Vaughan came to Wyoming where, beginning in 1969, he operated a fixed-base operation at the Johnson County Airport in Buffalo. In addition to offering fuel and maintenance, he offered flight instruction, aerial spraying, a helicopter service, fire lookout and geological surveying.
After a brief period as a line captain with the newly formed Federal Express, Vaughan joined another new company, Southwest Airlines, in April 1973. Vaughan was the 18th pilot hired to fly for Southwest. In 1984, the Vaughan family moved back to Wyoming where they settled in Jackson. Vaughan saw an opportunity for expanded commercial service and advocated for Southwest to serve Jackson Hole. In 1985, he was honored to fly the first Southwest flight into Jackson. He flew for Southwest until he reached the Age 60 Rule in 1993. While at Southwest, he logged more than 18,000 hours in the Boeing 737. Vaughan also was a charter pilot for Jackson Hole Aviation.
After retirement, Vaughan remained active in aviation by promoting flying in the area. He was involved with career days at Jackson Hole High School and the local Young Eagles program. He worked closely with Wyoming Senator John Barrasso for support of the Fair Treatment for Experienced Pilot Act that was passed by Congress in 2007, raising the commercial pilot retirement age to 65. He served on the Jackson Hole Airport Board from 1999-2009. While serving on the local airport board, he worked closely with Grand Teton National Park officials to find mutually agreeable solutions, including improving runway safety while addressing environmental impacts. Vaughan served the citizens of Wyoming by serving on the Wyoming Aeronautics Commission from 2009-2020.
Vaughan logged more than 28,000 flying hours. Vaughan passed away on Oct. 7, 2020
The Wyoming Aviation Hall of Fame first inductions occurred in 1995, when Ralph Johnson, Harold Slim Lewis, Dillard Pic Walker and Samuel Phillips were inducted. The hall of fame is a non-profit, publicly supported, tax-exempt organization dedicated to honoring individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the establishment, development and/or advancement of aviation in Wyoming.
The WAHF maintains a display case that includes plaques with the inductee biographies, as well as artifacts. This case is scheduled to be placed in the new Laramie Regional Airport Terminal in the spring 2021. For more information about the hall of fame, to nominate an individual, or to make a donation, please call Board Chairman John Waggener, in Laramie, at (307) 766-2563.
The Fourth Annual Big Horn Basin Folk Festival is coming up soon. The festival is part of the Gift of the Waters Pageant Days week-end, Saturday and Sunday, August 4 and 5, 2018, in Hot Springs State Park, Thermopolis, Wyoming. The festival program includes a robust line-up of activities for the whole family, along with Wyoming’s own artists, craftsmen, musicians, storytellers, artisan and guild members’ demonstrations.
“There will be a variety of art and music activities for kids and the whole family to choose from on both days”, according to Festival Committee head Toddi Darlington. “You can pick up a schedule at the festival and find exact times and locations”. Activities on Saturday include Sun Fabric art and owl rock painting in the Kids Being Creative Activity Tent plus the Color Thermopolis Mural, roping, and a singalong with V, the Gypsy Cowbelle with handmade instruments on The Green. The Buffalo Steel Drum band will be playing too. Ghost Stories at The Pavilion start around 7:30pm, after the Pageant.
On Sunday, there will be additional activities in the Kids Being Creative Activity Tent, including Sallie Wesaw and Friends with hands-on iris basket making — plus there will be demonstrations and storytelling on both days around the festival that will be for the whole family to enjoy. Food will be available both days.
The festival is part of the Gift of the Waters Pageant Days weekend. The Pageant tells how the hot springs were transferred to the state by the Native Americans on the Wind River Reservation. It will be performed starting at 6 pm in the area around the Big Spring Saturday and Sunday evening, and is free and open to the public. T-Shirts for both the Folk Festival and the Pageant are available to buy in advance at Thermopolis Print Zone/Discover Thermopolis, 521 Broadway.
The Big Horn Basin Folk Festival is open to the public without charge. It is sponsored by Hot Springs Greater Learning Foundation, Kiwanis International and Hot Springs State Park with support from National Endowment of the Arts, Wyoming Arts Council, IMtour, Wyoming Independent Music Initiative and Hot Springs Travel & Tourism. Additional support is from Hot Springs County Education Endowment, Las Fuentes, Thrivent Financial and Pinnacle Bank.
James Fuller, historian & owner of Discovering History and Heritage in Cheyenne, has just released his new book, The Wyoming Blizzard of 1949: Surviving the Storm, and is traversing the state over the next two months. Follow the schedule below to find a location near you – this is a fascinating story of survival captured in a book that will be a wonderful addition to any Wyoming lover’s library.
About the book…
A Frozen Frontier
Snow, wind and frigid temperatures devastated parts of Wyoming and neighboring states in 1949. For nearly two months, towns and ranches were marooned by enormous drifts, some reportedly eighty feet tall. The storm stranded hundreds of motorists on the highways and stalled nearly two dozen trains at depots throughout the state. Communities pulled together to assist not only their neighbors but anyone unable to escape the snowstorm. The death of motorists and livestock weighed heavily on the minds of Americans as news spread nationwide. Author and Historian James Fuller recounts these harrowing stories of tenacity and fortitude.
BOOK SIGNING DAYS/TIMES/LOCATIONS…
*Times are subject to change – stay tuned to the Discovering History and Heritage Facebook page for updates!
July 16 Noon-4 pm Cheyenne Depot Plaza, Cheyenne
July 17 1-4 pm Wyoming National Guard Association, Cheyenne
July 19 2-4 pm Weston County Museum, Newcastle
July 23 5-6 pm Goshen County Library, Torrington
July 25 6-8 pm Natrona County Library, Casper
August 4 10 am Wyoming Historic Governor’s Mansion, Cheyenne
August 5 12 pm Uinta County Museum, Evanston
August 10 6-8 pm Grand Encampment Museum, Encampment
August 15 9 am Wyoming State Fair, Douglas
August 16 7-9 pm Dubois Museum & Wind River Historical Center, Dubois
August 17 6-9 pm Riverton Museum, Riverton
August 29 6-8 pm Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum, Buffalo
August 30 7-9 pm Rockpile Museum, Gillette
September 3 9 am – 1 pm Meeteetse
September 4 1-3 pm Hot Springs County Museum and Cultural Center, Thermopolis
September 27 5 pm Rock Springs Library, Rock Springs
Laramie Dance & Arts Center presents “The Buried Moon Ballet” May 4&5
“The Buried Moon Ballet,” an original production by Jordyn Brummond and featuring costumes handmade by Beth Brummond, appears on the Laramie High School Auditorium stage on Friday and Saturday, May 4 and 5. Performances are 7:30 pm Friday, May 4, and on Saturday, May 5, a matinee at 2:30 pm, followed by a final evening performance at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $10 for adults, $7.50 for children for the evening performances; matinee rates are $8 adults, $5.50 children. Seniors are $7.50 for evening performances and $5.50 for matinee. As an added bonus, families can donate $2 of their children’s ticket price to their elementary school PTA or preschool, and seniors can donate $2 of their ticket to the Eppson Senior Center!
Brummond is a pointe, ballet, modern and lyrical instructor at Laramie Dance & Arts Center (LD&A), and has been since summer of 2014, when owners Levi and Kati Hime purchased Laramie Dance Center. The Himes changed the name of the center in 2015, moving it away from its ballet-centered previous focus to one that includes ballet among many types of dance, art, music and movement. Multiple performances featuring the diverse programming at Laramie Dance & Arts Center happen throughout the year, including Irish, belly dance, cheerleading, hip hop, tap and more. The center also is home to Snowy Range Music Together (a music and movement program for babies through preschoolers and a loving adult), and Snowy Range Taekwondo.
This is Brummond’s third original ballet production, taken from inspirations in fables and classic tales. Jordyn creates the story line, characters, selects the music and creates the choreography all by hand. She directs all rehearsals and coordinates team bonding events for the dancers. Participation in the ballet is an additional, optional activity offered to the students at LD&A, and is an inexpensive activity for the participants. Brummond donates her time and expertise to weekend rehearsals over the course of many months, and the students’ cost is the cost of their shoes and other garments needed to support the costumes.
Jordyn’s mother Beth Brummond creates the dancers’ costumes by hand every year. “These are incredible, priceless creations,” co-owner Kati Hime says. “The sewing is exquisite, the fabrics they choose are beautiful, and you couldn’t find hand-tailored costumes like these at a low price. They are truly one of a kind. We are so fortunate to have Beth’s passion on display on stage for these young ladies.” The costumes this year take on a celestial theme, with a beautiful surprise twist!
This year’s production follows the plight of the moon, who is stolen and buried. Villagers must take it upon themselves to find the moon and restore it to its rightful place in the night sky, surrounded by the stars that guard it. This is a family-friendly story and performance that is sure to delight all ages. LD&A dancers will also be on hand for a meet and greet photo op with young ballet hopefuls after each performance in the lobby way!
Tickets are available at the door or ahead of time by calling 742-6767. Laramie Dance & Arts Center is a welcoming program that accepts all levels and ages of people who are passionate about the arts. See their schedules, class descriptions and more at laramiedancecenter.com.
Designs produced by Paul Ditty as well as seniors in UW’s textiles, fashion and design program via the Department of Family & Consumer Sciences, College of Agriculture are part of an annual exciting fashion this Saturday, April 21 at the UW Union Ballroom at 7 pm. The Annual Kaleidoscope Fashion Show is a student led and produced event that happens every spring at the University of Wyoming. Kaleidoscope showcases unique, handmade designs from students, community members, and alumni. Admission is free.
Following is a sample of a few seniors participating in this year’s event …
The Anne Collection
The Anne Collection is a ready-to-wear, eco-friendly line inspired by French Provincial furniture and its color palette. I wanted this line to be comfortable, flattering, and versatile. The open backs and form-fitting pieces creates an edgy, confident energy while the bamboo/cotton knit fabric makes these garments comfortable enough to spend all day in.
By: Yair Sanchez
Salvaje is a collection of African safari & savannah colors and animal prints. Salvaje embodies the motto of being yourself. The word salvaje translates to wild – when you think of the wild you think of freedom, being fierce, being independent, strong, but most importantly being who ever you want to be. That is what’s seen on the runway, with some risqué, modern fashion. This collection can be worn to a cocktail event, parties or red carpet events when wanting a more simplistic look.
Triforium investigates parallels in fashion and architecture. The selection of Gothic architecture allows for the conceptual and visual expression of my existing interests in balancing elegance with darkness. This period of time comes with an air of fantasy and boldness; this is represented with striking silhouettes and sculptural applications of steel rod. The title is representative of the forms I borrowed from architecture of the time, but it is also symbolic of the middle ground between light and dark.
by Nikka Solatorio
This collection was inspired by fairy tales and folklore, each of the individual garments are deities and spirits from Filipino fables. It is meant to be whimsical and lively where the main focus are on the details of the garments; such as the embroidered floral appliques and hand-sewn beading.
Want to give a Sweet Wyoming Gift, no matter where you are? It’s online and EASY! Visit Serendipity Confections for a special deal that lasts through Saturday, November 25 — and visit them online after November 25 as their holiday yumminess keeps giving no matter what day it is!
Noso Puffy Patches was launched in Summer 2016, using a combination of crowdfunding and direct retailer outreach to make the patches accessible to the widest range of consumers, just in time for the biggest outdoor season. Based in Jackson, Wyoming, and manufactured in the USA, NOSO presents Puffy Patches, the fashionable do-it-yourself repair and embellishment patches for clothes and outdoor gear.
NOSO Puffy Patches are the coolest all-purpose patches that fix rips, holes and gashes, or just a lack of personal style. Make your jacket eye catching, not for the holes, but for the design you’ve created. Personalize your long-life gear like sleeping bags, tents or the apparel you love most, whether it’s a nylon windbreaker or down jackets, anything can be revamped or restored.
When your favorite jacket springs a leak, NOSO Puffy Patches save the day with style and versatility. Super easy to use, Puffy Patches are made of 30D nylon ripstop, uncoated and down proof with a high tenacity and heat/light inhibiting qualities. NOSO’s adhesive lasts longer than others on the market. No sewing necessary, the heat-activated technology creates a permanent bond without an iron. Just throw it in the dryer or better yet, leave it in the sun to activate. Puffy Patches are incredibly durable and can withstand extreme weather conditions and multiple washes, without gumming up on the sides.
“I am extremely excited to launch NOSO Puffy Patches,” says Kelli Jones, Founder at NOSO. “I wanted to find a better way to extend the life of your favorite gear, as well as an outlet for users to express themselves in the outdoor space. It has been an amazing process, and I’m thrilled with the product and the possibilities.”
To extend the life of your gear, or express your individuality, Puffy Patches are available in six different colors, thirteen shapes, and five variety packages of three. They are available for purchase online!
Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi Invites Wyoming High School Juniors to Apply for Senate Page
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., is encouraging Wyoming juniors in high school to apply to be a Senate page for the fall session in Washington, DC.
There are 30 page positions in the U.S. Senate each session. One of those positions is reserved for Enzi to sponsor a student from Wyoming to serve as a page. The deadline for applications is June 27.
“Along with allowing students a front row seat during debates in the Senate, pages have the opportunity to explore the nation’s capital and interact with students from across the country,” said Enzi. “The program provides experiences that participants will carry with them forever.”
Pages play an important role in the day-to-day operations of the Senate. Duties consist primarily of delivering correspondence and legislative material within the congressional complex. Other duties include preparing the chamber for Senate sessions and carrying bills and amendments to the appropriate people on the Senate floor.
Pages attend classes at the U.S. Senate Page School until 9:45 a.m. and then work until 4:00 p.m. or until the Senate adjourns for the day. The Senate Page School provides the necessary requirements for a junior year course of study.
Fall page eligibility is limited to rising juniors in high school who will be 16 or 17 years old by the date of appointment. Applicants must have a minimum grade point average of 3.0.
Pages live in Webster Hall located near the Capitol and receive a stipend to cover the cost of the residence. Breakfast and dinner are provided daily.
The fall session runs from September 5 to January 26. Applications and additional information can be found here. Further questions can be directed to Dianne Kirkbride in Senator Enzi’s Cheyenne office at 307-772-2477 or Dianne_Kirkbride@enzi.senate.gov.
Pioneer Museum Sheep Shearing Day — A Wonderful Woolly Day!
text & images courtesy Pioneer Museum, Lander
On the prettiest day of the spring so far, over 300 people came out to Lander’s Pioneer Museum to celebrate the history and heritage of the sheep industry in Fremont County and have fun.
It was the third annual Sheep Shearing Day, which has been a popular spring event at the museum. Designed to recognize the long history of the sheep industry in the area, there were shearing demonstrations, crafts for kids, a petting zoo, horseback rides and talks on the history of sheep. Sponsored by the Lander and Riverton McDonalds, it was the first Kids Exploration program of the summer.
A new addition this year were lamb burgers grilled up by the Fremont County Pioneer Association. The lamb was provided by the Wyoming Wool Growers Association (WWGA), and was a huge hit with people.
Amy Hendricks of the WWGA said one of their missions was to get people more aware of how important the sheep industry still is to Wyoming’s economy. The fresh lamb is just one product produced in the state by the industry.
John Farr of Encampment did several talks on the history of the sheep business from the time of Christ to the present. “What a wonderful event,” he said. “It’s a great way to get young people involved in our history.”
According to Museum Curator Randy Wise, Sheep Shearing Day will be back. “We are always adding new things and making it a bigger, better event.” Wise said that there are many events throughout the summer at the museum, from Treks and Speakers to kids exploration programs. Two upcoming events for kids are Kids Gold Panning Day May 11, and Pioneer Arts and Crafts June 10.
Call the museum to sign up (space in the two kid’s program is limited) or check the museum website www.fremontcountymuseums.com for more information.
click the image for ticket purchase to experience An Evening with Garrison Keillor
Join Chabad Wyoming for a Passover Seder you will remember for a lifetime!
Relive the exodus, discover the eternal meaning of the Haggadah, and enjoy a community Seder complete with hand baked Shmurah Matzah, an international selection of Kosher wines, and an elegant dinner spiced with unique traditional customs.
Experience the liberation and freedom of Passover. Discover the Seders relevance today.
First Seder: Monday, Aprl 10 at 6:30 pm … Wort Hotel, 50 N. Glenwood, Jackson
In this & future blogs, we’ll feature writing by students of the University of Wyoming’s Family & Consumer Science Department, within the College of Agriculture. A select number of professors have chosen to provide student papers & projects to be displayed via our blog and new e-magazine. Keep an eye out for more topics on parenting, growth & development, learning, relationships, nutrition and more!
“Blood is Going to Come From WHERE?!”
by Jordan Kucera and Alyssa McElwain, PhD, CFLE
Across generations, women can recall their personal experiences in early adolescence when they encountered their first period. For some women, this experience was welcome and expected, whereas others experienced shock, distress, and confusion. Research suggests that these experiences can have either positive or negative associations with becoming a woman based on the information (or lack thereof) young girls receive prior to their first period or menstruation.
On average, girls get their first period around age 12-13; however, there is great individual difference and girls can get their period between ages 9-16. Some parents miss the window of opportunity to prepare their daughters because puberty is occurring at younger ages. Research shows that when discussions take place before puberty, young girls have a more accurate understanding of what will happen to their bodies and a more positive outlook on becoming a woman. For this reason, it is a good idea to begin conversations about puberty sooner rather than later.
Information about menstruation typically comes from our mothers, but also comes from friends, female relatives, books, magazines, school, the internet, movies, and television. These sources may provide conflicting, inaccurate, and even pessimistic perspectives about menstruation. For example, girls sometimes think they cannot use tampons until they are older or that they should not be physically active during their period, neither of which are true. Some girls receive little to no information and feel confused about this important aspect of the female body.
A study conducted with early adolescents (youth ages 10 to 14) who had not yet begun menstruation, found that few girls were knowledgeable about the menstrual cycle. Many girls reported negative attitudes about menstruation and some even compared their menstruation to having an illness. A majority of girls believed that their periods would bring incurable and unavoidable pain that would prohibit them from participating in social activities or attending school. One study found that some girls believe they need to hide their menstruation from family members and friends (especially males). Although a majority of girls thought that having your period was a sign of maturity, many girls persisted in having negative beliefs such as the idea that menstruation is embarrassing, uncomfortable, or even shameful.
Lack of information and misunderstandings about periods can lead young girls to feel overwhelmed and extremely frightened about what is happening to their bodies when they encounter their first period. Research shows that poor overall experiences with menstruation are linked to low self-esteem, poor body image, and issues with sexuality. Accurate information, provided at earlier ages from a variety of sources that include not only the mother, but also informative education programs can allow girls to have a better overall experience and view menstruation more positively.
Knowledge is power and accurate, positive information provides young girls with more optimistic and all-encompassing knowledge regarding the processes involved in maturation. See the talking points below for important information to include in a conversation with the young girl in your life.
Period-Positive Talking Points:
Menstruation is a healthy and normal part of being female.
You can continue to have a normal, active life during your period.
The women in your life have your back! We’ve all been there and are understanding, so don’t be afraid to ask questions or even ask a stranger for a pad or tampon if you need one.
Girls start getting their period at different ages and bleeding usually occurs for 5-7 days each month, about every 28 days. It’s normal for some women to get premenstrual symptoms (PMS) like cramps, headaches, and bloating before their period.
Amann-Gainotti, M. (1986). Sexual socialization during early adolescence: The menarche. Adolescence, 21, 703.
Burrows, A., & Johnson, S. (2005). Girls’ experiences of menarche and menstruation. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 23, 235-249.
Newton, V. (2016). Positioning periods in context: Contemporary discourses and dilemmas. In Everyday Discourses of Menstruation (pp. 49-70). Palgrave Macmillan: UK.
Moore, S. (1995). Girls’ understanding and social constructions of menarche. Journal of Adolescence, 18, 87-104.
Rembeck, G., Möller, M., & Gunnarsson, R. (2006). Attitudes and feelings towards menstruation and womanhood in girls at menarche. Acta Pædiatrica, 95: 707–714.
Uskul, A. K. (2004). Women’s menarche stories from a multicultural sample. Social Science & Medicine, 59, 667-679.
I was up in Laramie, Wyoming last weekend visiting my grandparents with my sister. We came up to visit them for two weeks when we were kids and wanted to relive some of the memories. Saw a mama moose and two babies right off a trail in Vedauwoo and caught the beautiful scenery in the Snowy Range Mountains.
As we prepare to launch our new Wy Woman & Family Magazine website & first online magazine, we want to hear from you! We’re looking for stories of Wyoming kids (of any age!) doing good things for others!
Helping someone in need … volunteering to help others … giving comfort to a person in need … being nice to someone … big or small, we want to hear it all!
No prizes, no gimmicks, no giveaways — just a chance to applaud Wyoming kids for being amazing.
We’re going to blog & share these stories as they come in, so don’t wait! Each story will include the child’s first name and town where they live. Pictures are welcome, but not required. Please include a statement on your willingness to publish your child’s first name, Wyoming home town and photo (if included/desired) on our blog.
Email to firstname.lastname@example.org – no deadlines, we’ll keep them going as they come in!
Search the hashtag #wykidsaregood to find our stories that we share …
A Trip Down Memory Lane in Sheridan plus Buffalo and Two Mountain Passes
By Bill Sniffin
As readers of this column know, I am no fan of the “new” JC Penney Company.
It is my contention that old James Cash Penney (whose first store was right here in Wyoming, in Kemmerer), is spinning in his grave as how his successors have managed to ruin that company.
But I loved the old Penney’s and I took a trip down memory lane at that company’s long-time store on Main Street of Sheridan recently. There, smack in the heart of the town, is an old-fashioned Penney Store, complete with a basement, a half upstairs and, well, the only edifices missing were the pneumatic tubes sending sales tickets flying around the store.
My first Penney store experience was in Oelwein, Iowa, and it was a scene right out of the movie, A Christmas Story. And that store 60 years ago looked just like the one there in Sheridan today.
Here in Lander, when I first came to work at the Journal, one of our biggest advertisers was the JC Penney Store, again, right in the heart of our downtown. And yes, it had a half upstairs and it had a basement. I think tubes were still there which would whistle sales tickets from the various cash registers back to the bookkeeping department. Even by today’s standards, these tubes were space age. Amazing. They provided a way to quickly move information around prior to the age of computers.
On this trip, we took two different scenic drives on our way to and from Sheridan.
First, we traveled to Greybull so we could take US 16 up Shell Canyon and over the mountain. The weather was beautiful and we even stopped and checked out the Dinosaur tracks outside of Shell. Also, took a photo of the canyons there at the Big Horn Mountains that seem to form a “W” and a “Y” — is that there or was I just imagining it?
Near Burgess Junction I ran into Ed Kingston at the Elk View Inn. First met Ed 15 years ago. He has done well and aged better than me. The lodge is beautiful. It and Bear Lodge plus a few other lodges make that area a snowmobile and ATV mecca.
We encountered terrible fog descending into Dayton and on our way to Sheridan and settled into a rainy trip.
Bob Grammens and Kim Love had me on the radio for a couple of mornings and that was sure fun. Radio appears to be struggling in some communities, but not Sheridan. Lots going on in that area. Don’t touch that dial!
Although energy is a big deal in the Sheridan area, you would not notice it by how the Main Street feels. It is certainly lively including a new store started by a 13-year old boy. Amazing. His name is Luke Knudsen and he started a store called The Old General Store, which features antiques.
Another neat store is the Best Out West store owned by Christy Love, Kim’s sister.
The remodeled Sheridan Inn is a real treat. The old strucure originally built by Buffalo Bill Cody is now a true modern classic.
One of the premier craft breweries in the state is the Black Tooth establishment, which exists in an old auto garage. Great beer and a great location.
Our trip was designed as loop drive so we headed south to Buffalo and were impressed by how busy the Sports Lure store was there in the main business district. Small towns are lucky to have local-owned stores like it and the Office to cater to local needs.
It is hard not to love Buffalo’s Occidental Hotel. What a beautiful job its owners have done to restore it.
This is the heart of Longmire country but despite looking for them, none of the characters were to be seen on this day. Longmire is the name of a popular TV series based on books by Craig Johnson of Ucross.
While in Buffalo, I also looked for the infamous “Bench Sitters,” made popular by the Sagebrush Sven columns in the Buffalo Bulletin. It was the wrong time of day to see them, too, I guess.
Heading home, we headed up into the cloudy Big Horn Mountains over Tensleep Pass. Ran into fog, rain, slush, snow and wind but got through it. Lots of highway construction on the very top. The flag people were dressed like Eskimos.
Worland and Thermopolis were both quiet on this wet Friday evening, although it was sure tempting to take a dip into a hot thermal pool on a cold, wet shivery night. But we kept on going.
Got home just as the sun was going down, which was our goal. Hate that driving at night in a storm.
What a great loop drive it was, though. The passes were full of amazing color. I am sure the rain and snow pretty much wiped out most of those pretty leaves, which impressed us at the time. This all occurred during the fall solstice, which here in Wyoming, truly marks a real change of seasons.
A new regional fair to celebrate rural living in the Rocky Mountains is coming to Laramie September 24 and 25. It’s been said there’s no such thing as an original idea, but according to Gayle Woodsum, a long-time community organizer and founder of the fair’s sponsor, Feeding Laramie Valley, mixing great traditional ideas in a new way can result in something better than the original.
The Higher Ground Fair is designed to bring together a truly diverse mix of participants and fairgoers as it provides space for valuing the intersection of music, art, food, cultural awareness, traditional family farming and ranching, new agriculture, gardening, health and wellness, social action, animals, the environment and sustainable living, as a means of learning from each other to create a better future for all Rocky Mountain communities in the six states of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming, and the Native First Nations that also call the region home.
“This is a challenging time in our world,” says Woodsum, for whom the Higher Ground Fair has long been a dream. “Individuals and communities are inundated by messages of fear and hate, underscored by the growing reality of health, economic and social disparities between people of privilege and people just struggling to survive. Yet, this is also a time of incredible ingenuity and hope coming from people determined to find community solutions to worldwide problems.
“Residents of the rural Rocky Mountains have always honored the grandeur of their environment by being resourceful, capable and tenacious. The Higher Ground Fair is an opportunity to celebrate their history and simultaneously set a new stage for leveraging community forces to develop creative possibilities for a better world — a stage that also promises a lot of fun.”
Organizes of the Higher Ground Fair have spread their reach wide to launch this new event with something for everyone: musical concerts and dance performances; art exhibits and workshops; agricultural displays and demonstrations; a llama and alpaca performance and fleece show; food vendors featuring regionally sourced ingredients; inspiring educational workshops and presentations; companion and wilderness animals; regional arts and crafts vendors; a kids adventure zone; gardening, composting and recycling exhibits — all at one event. All designed to bring people together who typically enjoy such offerings in separate environments.
Vendor and display booth spaces are being offered free of charge this debut year for the Higher Ground Fair, with participation applications being accepted for consideration as long as space remains available. A large volunteer corps will be responsible for the fair’s complex infrastructure, with volunteer recruiting incentives including free t-shirts, free fair entry, free lunches and free on-site camping. Fairgoers over the age of 12 will pay a $10 entry fee at the gate, $8 in advance; with tickets for elders 65 and over going for $8 at the gate and $6 in advance. Children 12 and under are free. Contact and other fair information can be found at www.highergroundfair.org, by calling 307.223.4399 or emailing email@example.com.