People gather at 1 Depot Plaza in downtown Cheyenne for the annual New Year's Eve Ball Drop. (Matt Idler for Cowboy State Daily)

2022 In Wyoming Defined By Conflict, Inflation, Change And Prosperity

in Wyoming Life/News

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By Renée Jean, Business and Tourism Reporter
Renee@CowboyStateDaily.com

It was a year of conflict and change for many, but no matter how great their losses, they still gathered with loved ones and friends – and sometimes even strangers – to celebrate a new year.

Brianna Given, 23, of Cheyenne, for example, has broken up with two boyfriends in 2022, one of them on Christmas Day. She also lost her grandmother in September.

Despite the recent breakup, she was still there with bells on at the Cheyenne Ball Drop at 1 Depot Plaza wearing a glittering, sequined dress that flattered her figure, sipping New Year’s cocktails and toasting a New Year with champagne.


Brianna Givens writes down her New Year’s resolutions for a fresh start and a prosperous 2023. (Renée Jean, Cowboy State Daily)

Time To Celebrate

Givens found the dress on sale at better than 50% off, along with matching shoes and a handbag, also more than 50% off. 

She used a small portion of Christmas money to pay for the attire, to pick herself up and dust off for a better 2023.

Despite all the adversity, 2022 still had its shining moments for Given.

“The best part of 2022 was watching my baby, GraceLynn, smile and walk for the first time,” she told Cowboy State Daily during the Cheyenne Ball Drop party. “We also celebrated her first birthday.”

GraceLynn is named after her grandmother, Given added.

“We wanted to do that before she passed away,” she said.

For New Year’s resolutions, Given is planning a move to Nebraska for a new life and new job. She’s also making resolutions to save money — even if it’s only $5 a month — to someday visit Paris with her daughter.



Politics Equals Early Retirement, New Home, New Career

For Gary Patzer, the best part of 2022 was retiring.

“After 33 years of law enforcement, I got my sanity back,” he told Cowboy State Daily. 

Patzer has moved to Wyoming from Colorado, and is now self-employed teaching investigators and other executives a non-confrontational way to communicate during interviews to get better results from their investigations. 

The worst part of 2022 was definitely the politics, Patzer said. 

“But what I mean by that is different levels,” he said. “There was the debacle with Trump.”

But beyond that, and more importantly to Patzer personally, there were enormous changes to his law enforcement career in Colorado, changes that contributed to his decision to retire.

“The way people feel about law enforcement has changed 180 degrees,” he said. “They used to see us as helpful. Now they see us a problem. The mayor even protested against us.”

Leaving Colorado for Wyoming has been great, Patzer said. 

“I’ve never been happier,” he said. “This place, the towns, the people are friendlier. People help each other. People here still live by the Code of the West.”

For 2023, Patzer hopes to see more work for his investigative interview classes.

“I see it making a difference around the country,” he said.


Betsey Hale and Gary Patzer were among guests at the annual Ball Drop in Cheyenne. (Renée Jean, Cowboy State Daily)

Building The Wyoming Brand

Cheyenne LEADS CEO Betsey Hale, meanwhile, said the year was one of success for Cheyenne, which continued to see growth in its economy and put together many good projects for continued future success.

On a personal level, Hale’s father turned 90, which she said was “awesome.”

The only bad thing she could think of was the Wyoming wind, which she felt was more prevalent in 2022, with higher speeds.

For 2023, she’s looking for continued success and opportunity for Wyoming as a state.

“I think it’s never been a better time to be a Wyomingnite,” she added. “Wyoming is the envy of other states. In Wyoming, we ride with the brand. You do what you have to do for the place you love.”


Larissa Akhmetova and Azat Akhmetova, far left, dance the night away at the Cheyenne Ball Drop on New Year’s Eve. (Renée Jean, Cowboy State Daily)

Inflation Is The Worst

Larissa and Azat Akhmetova were new arrivals giving the Wyoming brand a try in 2022. They moved to Cheyenne from Texas.

“We love how friendly people are, the nature, the city, we’re excited to build community,” Larissa Akhmetova told Cowboy State Daily.

For her, the worst part of 2022 was overall inflation.

“We were expecting, like, half the rent in Cheyenne,” she said.

“We were at a ski resort recently,” Azat Akmetova added. “You know it’s bad when the wealthy people at a ski resort are making inflation jokes.”

For 2023, the couple hopes to meet new people and make new friends. 

“I’m an artist,” Larissa Akhmetova said. “I hope to meet more people in that community.”


Jazmyn Wyman and Evan Thompson pause from dancing for a moment to pose for a photo. (Renée Jean, Cowboy State Daily)

Turning 30 Not So Bad

Jazmyn Wyman and Evan Thompson were among recent arrivals to Wyoming as well last year.

“We moved to Cheyenne, bought a house, got a puppy, got a kitten, and a baby bunny,” Wyman told Cowboy State Daily. “He met my dad and my mom in Florida and he started a new job. I did, too.”

The year 2022 for them was “amazing,” Thompson said. 

“I started a new job, Jaz and I got dating down, really dating,” he said. “We’ve been on some great trips.”

The worst part of 2022 was losing her uncle, Mark Spalding, Wyman said. 

And turning 30.

“I’ve been all over the place with (turning 30),” she said. “But, honestly today, I feel OK with it. Thirty seemed so old when I was young.”

Dancing, Thompson suggested, makes both feel young again, like 20.

For 2023, the couple hopes to do more traveling, and has already laid down a plan to make that happen.

“Were going to Vegas in two weeks,” Thompson said. “Florida in October.”

“And Mexico in May,” Wyman added.



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