Big Horn Basin Folk Festival – Catch it this August 6-7 in Thermopolis!

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click on the image above for a full list of Big Horn Basin Folk Festival Events & Details!

“Hear Me Now” — Wyoming Storytellers Take Spotlight

By Ellen Sue Blakely

Images provided by Hot Springs Greater Learning Foundation

For a full schedule of presenters during “Hear Me Now” Storytelling Circle, August 6-7, see Other weekend events include the Gift of the Waters Pageant Days, Kiwanis Craft Fair and the Big Horn Basin Folk Festival, with music performances all day, demonstrators, workshops, food vendors, juried art show & sale and kid-friendly activities.

When we were kids and all the cousins gathered for the annual Fourth of July ice cream and watermelon feast, our great aunt Kate kept all of us in line by expounding on a “haint” she called “Rawhide and bloody bones.” For years, we assumed Aunt Kate had made up this scary haunt of a creature.

It turns out that Kate had borrowed and adapted “Rawhide” from an Irish tale — probably one she had heard as a child from her grandparents who had come from the Emerald Isle. Aunt Kate is long gone; but, to this day, her scary rendition still brings chills and laughter to the now-aging cousins.

That’s the power of story. If you have ever sat around a campfire and told (or listened to) ghost stories or tall tales, you know its spell. Those who study stories as an art form say telling stories is the oldest art form; and from it grew poetry — rhyming was a way of remembering a longer story.

Although there has not been an organized effort at preserving Wyoming’s stories in recent years, our people have always been inveterate storytellers. Mountain men told plenty of whoppers when they gathered at the fur-trading rendezvous. Music and storytelling were common in the Native American tipis, cowboy bunkhouses, farmhand shacks and homestead cabins. It still is. Given half a chance, today’s outfitters, hunters and fishermen will regale listeners with tales about the “ones that got away.”

This year, Wyoming is taking a step to share our long-standing storytelling tradition at “Hear Me Now,” the state’s first organized Storytelling Circle. (The concept of a “storytelling circle” harks back to those days of campfires and tipis.) The event is part of the Big Horn Basin Festival, August 6-7, 2016, in Hot Springs State Park, Thermopolis. “Hear Me Now” is sponsored by Hot Springs Greater Learning Foundation with a ThinkWyoming grant from the Wyoming Humanities Council. Additional support comes from the National Endowment for the Arts, Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund and Wyoming Arts Council.


“Hear Me Now” will be moderated by Spencer Bohren, nationally known musician and storyteller. Although Bohren now lives in New Orleans, Wyomingites still claim him as their own since he grew up in Casper, and his family still lives and plays music there. Bohren maintains strong ties with the state, presenting educational programs in the schools and public performances in Wyoming communities throughout the year.

Professional storytellers telling tales throughout the day are Michelle King, Basin; Catherine Ringler, Powell; Marilyn Braaten, Thermopolis, and Jennisen Lucas, Cody. The group recently formed the Big Horn Basin Storytelling Guild to promote the art of storytelling.

Echo Klaproth, Shoshoni, former Wyoming poet laureate, and Dick Hall, Thermopolis, cowboy poet, will bring poetry into the tent. Mike Hurwitz, who will be performing at the Big Horn Basin Folk Festival during the weekend, will drop by with his own brand of Western stories. Karl Milner, who specializes in mountain man skills, will add a story or two from the mountain man era. Annie Hatch, Wyoming Arts Council folk arts specialist, will give a bit of historical perspective on the art of Wyoming storytelling. Miss V, sometimes called “The Gypsy Cowbelle,” will talk about her adventures homesteading in Wyoming.

As a special feature, Spencer Bohren will perform his nationally acclaimed “Down the Dirt Road Blues,” 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m., Sunday, August 7, in the Storytelling Tent. Bohren uses historic music instruments as he tells how one song moved from its African roots to blues to rock and roll.

“Hear Me Now” is free and of interest to all ages. Visitors can “come sit a spell” and — if you are so inclined — you can even add your own tales — true or otherwise — during the open microphone opportunities.

After all, if you don’t tell your favorite story, who will?

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Ellen Sue Blakey of Thermopolis is a textile artist, rug braider, author, musician and occasional storyteller. You can hear and see her story about rug braiding and Depression-era women on youtube. If you attend the Storytelling Circle, look her up, say the magic words “Uncle Charlie”; she may just tell you the story of Charlie, the sheriff’s hat, a blackberry pie, and how he came to Wyoming.


July Excitement in Pinedale & Laramie!

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It’s a big time of year across Wyoming – JULY!! Green River Rendezvous in Pinedale, Wyo Rodeo in Sheridan, Laramie Jubilee Days, Cheyenne Frontier Days, county rodeos, OH MY! So much fun! Excited to help promote it all … Check out the images for both the Meet Me on the Green Pageant & Parade (part of Green River Rendezvous in Pinedale), and Laramie Jubilee Days’ schedule of events …

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EXPLORE WYOMING: Mountain View Hotel, Centennial


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On April 1, Levi & I were treated to a night at the Mountain View Hotel, a historic establishment in Centennial, just about 30 miles west of Laramie on US Highway 130. Due to our crazy lifestyle with our businesses, we weren’t able to make it until later that Friday evening. However, the owners, Kat & Mike, were kind to us and showed us around, regardless of the hour – part of that Wyoming hospitality that they literally offer around the clock.

Fine hospitality at the Mountain View Hotel isn’t a new phenomenon, but it is something Kat & Mike are proud to continue. Opened in time for the June 4, 1907 arrival of the Laramie Plains, Hahn’s Peak Railroad opening, the establishment was dedicated in a “golden spike” ceremony. Painted white with black trim and built at a cost of $8,000 at the time, it boasted 20 guest rooms, a dining room and a “most improved system of plumbing” – never mind that the bathrooms ended up in the stables. Today, you can find the historic register books and china in the nearby Nici Self Museum.


The hotel has received a lovely face lift by Kat & Mike, and its rooms and suites include a restaurant serving breakfast and lunch, coffee roaster and espresso bar. Kat & Mike showed us the suites that make a great stay for a small group, and work well for snowmobilers, hunters, summer vacationers… We discussed how the hotel also makes a great stay for wedding parties getting married in the Snowies – many groups rent the entire hotel for their wedding party to enjoy historic accommodations prior to the big day.

Our room was the Mountain Sage Room, a comfy space with two queen beds and a beautiful en suite bathroom. I had to grab many pictures of the eye-catching antiqued ceiling. We settled in with snacks and a late night Myth Busters marathon, and ended the night soaking in the peaceful silence that I remembered from nighttimes of living in the Snowies as a kid.

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In the morning, the room had a lovely sunlight glow and still remained peacefully quiet. I prefer to wake up to a good book, especially on the weekends, so I grabbed my Doris Kearns Goodwin The Bully Pulpit (a great read if you like presidential – or just Victorian – history like I do!) and waited for Levi to wake up. Meandering downstairs, the smell of freshly roasted coffee greeted us and Levi, our family java hound, made a beeline for the espresso bar while I thanked Kat for a great & peaceful night’s stay. Families of snowmobilers were enjoying breakfast in the quaint restaurant, and since we had to rush back as we had a full day of parties with our Laramie bounce house business, I eyed their plates greedily and noticed everyone was having a good meal. There were lots of options for Levi when it came to his coffee, and he went for black with a little extra milk to go. The early spring sunshine was bright and there were still hints of snow – winter season adventure may have been winding down, but you wouldn’t have known it to see the cars with skis and snowmobiles go swishing by through Centennial on their way to the Snowies and Snowy Range Ski Area.

If you’re heading to Laramie or Saratoga to partake in the beauty of the Snowies or enjoy Laramie Jubilee Days, you must make a stay at Mountain View Hotel high on your priority list. After all, if you’re right there and adventuring, you’ll want to fall into a comfy bed that’s nearby and enjoy fresh Joe in the morning. Why not do all that with a little history besides? And when you’re there, be sure to take the hop, skip and jump across the highway to the Nici Self Museum and learn the history of the area. Gold star for those who can email us and let us know where the village got its start and its intriguing name …

Til the Next Adventure …

Kati Hime, Editor

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The Living Wyoming SE WY Hardcover Book now taking orders


The Living Wyoming: A Photographic Tribute, Exploring the Southeast Quadrant

Read about Rich, Bo and their books in our upcoming Wyoming Lifestyle Magazine Spring & Early Summer 2015 issue – almost complete!

The first hardcover “The Living Wyoming: A Photographic Tribute” book, by Rich Rosenfeld and Robert (Bo) Edgerton, will be released and available for shipping on June 10th. Pre-order your copy between March 25th and April 19th, all of which will be hand numbered and signed by both contributors. ONLY pre-ordered books will be hand numbered and signed. Pricing on pre-orders will be $38.95 each and will include postage within the lower 48 states. As an added bonuses, for ALL pre-orders, Bo will be giving out a “PDC” Promotion Discount Code for 10% off any image from the book that you would like to have printed. Any Size! AND we will also offer those that pre-order the first book, a 10% discount when they pre-order our second book, covering the Southwest Quadrant, when it becomes available.

To order you can either go to “The Living Wyoming” Facebook page at Use the link on the left side of the page or type the link into your browser: or go to the Mystic Light Images page at Bo will have the information and links pinned to the top.
Please contact Rich & Bo by e-mail at: – if you have any problems ordering or have any questions.

LODGING: The Bentwood Inn B&B, Jackson Hole, WY

visit our website & read the current issue

For a beautiful and relaxing experience in Jackson Hole, visit The Bentwood Inn B&B in nearby Teton Village. A short drive from downtown Jackson, and a short drive to the slopes, The Bentwood Inn offers luxury and ambiance year-round. Outside Magazine called The Bentwood “One of North America’s best Ecolodges,” and as soon as you pull into the drive you’ll see why. We greatly enjoyed our own stay, with a lovely gas fireplace, spacious bathroom and a delicious night’s sleep.

Visit their website to learn more about The Bentwood Inn B&B – and when you’re planning your next Teton vacation, check them out!