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Trespassers Cited At Kanye West’s Ranch

in arts and culture
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In unrelated incidents, a pair of young men were caught trespassing on Kanye West’s Cody area ranch in recent weeks.

Park County authorities filed misdemeanor criminal trespassing charges against the two, though one of the cases — against a 22-year-old Denver man — is set to be dismissed because of concerns about the defendant’s competency.

Drew C. Togher, a 22-year-old delivery driver, reportedly traveled from his residence in Denver to West Lake Ranch this month.

“I was going to see if I could meet Kanye West,” Togher explained in court last week.

He passed multiple no trespassing signs before being stopped by security personnel early on the morning of Sunday, June 14. After spending roughly a half-hour trying to get Togher to leave, the security officers called the Park County Sheriff’s Office at around 6:15 a.m., charging documents say.

When Deputy Ethan Robinson arrived on scene, he found Togher acting “agitated and impatient.”

“I asked Drew if I let him go with a citation if he would come back, and he responded impatiently while looking around that he would not,” Robinson said. However, believing that Togher would “likely return to the property and create more issues,” the deputy arrested him.

When Togher appeared in Park County Circuit Court the following day, he seemed confused about the proceedings and asked for several of the advisements to be repeated multiple times and spoken more slowly.

When Circuit Court Judge Bruce Waters asked Togher if he had a mental disability, the defendant said that “I hear stuff” and described it as being like a “pirate’s curse.”

Togher sought to plead guilty to the misdemeanor trespassing charge, but Judge Waters entered a not guilty plea on his behalf and appointed an attorney for him over concerns about his competency.

Deputy Park County Attorney Jack Hatfield recommended that Togher be released on a signature bond — citing in part a lack of any past criminal charges — with strict orders to stay away from West, his family and West Lake Ranch.

Judge Waters warned Togher that he could have no contact “in any way shape or form with Kanye West, or any member of his family, including extended family members.”

“So no contact directly or indirectly, no attempts to text him, email him, contact him through social media,” Judge Waters advised Togher. “There’s to be no contact with them in any way shape or form, any of them, do you understand me?”

“Same go for him?” asked Togher, referring to West.

“No, this applies to you,” Waters said. “You are not to have contact with him for any reason.”

Togher then asked what would happen if the musician and entrepreneur contacted or messaged him.

“Yeah, I think that’s a long shot; I don’t know,” the judge responded. However, “if he contacts you, you are not allowed to speak with him, talk to him, have anything to do with him. Do you understand that?”

Togher said he did, but he soon asked the judge to go over the bond conditions again.

“I can’t think about the guy at all?” Togher asked at one point, also asking for the definition of “indirect” contact, followed by questions about, “What if I get, like, a signal?” and finally, “what if they’re [messing] with me?”

Judge Waters ultimately decided he would not be releasing Togher on a signature bond and instead set bond at $5,000 cash and ordered a mental evaluation.

“I am concerned for your mental wellbeing. … I have doubts about your ability to comply with bond conditions,” Judge Waters told the defendant.

Togher spent the rest of the week in jail, but was later released to his mother, who traveled from Pennsylvania to Cody to pick up her son and take him home, Hatfield said. The prosecutor said he plans to dismiss the case without prejudice, “and charge [Togher] again if he comes back to Mr. West’s place.”

“Hopefully,” Hatfield said, “he’ll just stay away.”

Meanwhile, the prosecutor is continuing to pursue a Powell man, 19-year-old Henry Waters, who was reportedly caught on West’s property back on May 19. In that instance, Henry Waters was stopped by security personnel, who reportedly noted that his pants were down.

“He admitted that he was masturbating there on Mr. West’s property,” Hatfield said during a Friday court hearing.

In a follow-up interview, Hatfield said that, according to the account given to the sheriff’s office, the defendant said he had simply been looking for a place to pull over.

“He [defendant Waters] stated he did not know he was on private property or who lived there, but they must be very important” given the security personnel, Deputy Robinson reportedly wrote. However, Hatfield said the defendant had passed a half-dozen no trespassing signs.

Defendant Waters pleaded not guilty to criminal trespassing on Friday and was released on a signature bond pending further proceedings.

Among other bond conditions, “do not have any contact in any way shape or form with one Kanye West or any member of the West family,” Judge Waters, no relation, advised the defendant, adding, “you are not to be on the property, on the driveway, on the entrance or within the boundaries of that property in any way shape or form.”

Defendant Waters said he understood.

A trial is tentatively set for Aug. 13.

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Longmire Days Cancels In-Person Activities; Craig Johnson Shares Update On Sheriff

in arts and culture/Coronavirus/News
Longmire Days
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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

While the Buffalo celebration in his honor may be moving to a new online venue for 2020, Sheriff Walt Longmire continues to do exactly what he’s always done in the face of the pandemic.

Wyoming author Craig Johnson was asked to write a passage describing what his fictional sheriff, the inspiration for a popular television show, might be doing as Wyoming works its way through COVID-19. His response had the sheriff tackling his job the same as he’s always done.

“With only two cases of COVID-19 in Absaroka County, Wyoming, Sheriff Walt Longmire continues to do his sworn duties along with visits to the one case at the Durant Home For Assisted Living and the second, a musician who contracted the illness at a Cowboy Poetry Festival in Pocatello, Idaho,” the update on Johnson’s Facebook page read. “Everyone is hoping for the best concerning the octogenarian, but community sympathy for the musician is mixed in that he is an accordion player…”

The humorous narrative came as organizers of Buffalo’s Longmire Days announced that instead of postponing the annual celebration because of the coronavirus, they would cancel all in-person activities.

However, there will still be a Longmire Days, it will just take place in the virtual world. From Aug. 13-16, there will be watch parties of the “Longmire” TV series and other virtual events held in place of the in-person event.

Longmire Days is an annual event held in Buffalo every summer that celebrates the series of books featuring Sheriff Walt Longmire written by Wyoming author Craig Johnson. The books served as the inspiration for the television series “Longmire,” which is currently streaming on Netflix. There were six seasons and 63 episodes produced over the course of the series, all starring Australian actor Robert Taylor as the fictional Wyoming sheriff.

The decision was made to cancel the in-person Longmire Days events out of concern for the safety of attendees and the potential risk of spreading the coronavirus.

“The safety of everyone, as always, is foremost in our minds and we feel that the risk to the fans, actors, and our community is just too great,” the organizers wrote on the Longmire Days website.

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Wyoming State Fair On As Planned

in arts and culture/Coronavirus/News
Wyoming State Fair cattle show
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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Although the coronavirus pandemic has caused most of Wyoming’s major rodeos to cancel, the Wyoming State Fair is going to go on as scheduled.

The fair, which is held in Douglas, will take place Aug. 11-15. According to organizers on the fair’s website, there will be an “extensive health safety plan” in place.

“We have long been a gathering point for generations of families, while providing a quality educational experience and entertainment for all who have attended,” organizers wrote on the website. “The Wyoming State Fair is a celebration of all things Wyoming and showcases our pride in our traditions, agriculture, innovation, industry, youth, entrepreneurs, artists, entertainment and so much more. This year will be no different.”

While several major rodeos in Wyoming have been canceled by the coronavirus, Gov. Mark Gordon said in May that state officials were doing all they could to make sure the state fair and county fairs continued in some fashion.

Organizers of many county fairs across the state are looking at curtailed schedules to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, with several focusing only on 4-H and FFA events and canceling accompanying attractions such as carnivals and night shows.

However, state fair officials plan on a full slate of activities, including a concert by country group Reckless Kelly and singer Jeremy McComb, who will perform on Aug. 13. Tickets for the concert will go on sale July 3.

Other grandstand entertainment will include pig wrestling on Aug. 11, a PRCA rodeo on Aug. 14 and a demolition derby on Aug. 15.

More information about the fair and its new safeguards will be offered in the coming weeks. A current schedule of events can be found here.

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Garth Brooks To Appear At Cheyenne’s Terry Bison Ranch (Sort Of)

in arts and culture/News
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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Country music superstar Garth Brooks is going to appear at Cheyenne’s Terry Bison Ranch on June 27.

Well, he’ll appear there and at more than 300 other outdoor theaters across the country (and Canada) during a unique concert event. Brooks will perform a show in Nashville and broadcast it across the country.

“Summer is here! We’re so excited to invite you to an exclusive, first-of-its-kind concert,” the Terry Bison Ranch wrote in the Facebook post announcing the event.

Brooks told Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts that he was looking to do a show during the pandemic but none of the options seemed to work until he ran into someone pitching the drive-in idea.

“This one guy came to me and said they could put 300 – 400 drive-in theaters together if I would put a concert together solely for the drive-in,” Brooks said.  “We can have families jump in the car and come out on a Saturday night. It’s pretty cool.”

The country singer said the drive-in experience should be much better than it was when he was growing up.

“Remember that speaker you hung on the window?  Well now, you can tune the concert right in to your own car radio so you can blast it or blare it for as long as you want with the windows up or the windows down,” he said.

Tickets go on sale at 11 a.m. Friday at a cost of $100 per car or truck.

Brooks is listed as the best-selling solo albums artist in the United States by the Recording Industry Association of America.

He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2012.

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Wyoming State Museum Reopens With Safety Measures In Place

in arts and culture/Coronavirus/News
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By Mari Heithoff, Cowboy State Daily

With the loosening of health rules designed to slow the spread of coronavirus in the Cowboy State, the Wyoming State Museum is welcoming visitors back. 

On June 9, the museum in Cheyenne reopened, with full measures in place to ensure the safety of its visitors. 

Museum Director Mark Brammer explained that the museum’s hours of operation will be somewhat limited to allow for extra cleaning and sanitation and added there are designated weekly hours for vulnerable populations, such as senior citizens to visit the museum. 

The number of visitors allowed inside the museum at one time was boosted to 50 recently with the relaxation of the state’s rules limiting atherings.

While some of the exhibits have been modified or temporarily removed, Brammer explained that the museum still has plenty to offer.

“I think the biggest change is that we’ve had to close the hands-on habitat room,” he said. “We look forward to reopening it once everything returns to normal. Other than that, we’ve removed some touchable displays and touch-screens just for the time being, until we feel it’s safe to bring them back.” 

“All of the information from touch-screen displays can now be accessed by a smartphone or computer, so it won’t hurt the museum experience,” he added.

Brammer said he hopes the museum will return to normal operations eventually and added officials will keep up with the latest health standards to ensure a safe experience for everyone. 

“We’re really working hard to keep the experience as normal as possible for everyone,” he said. “We look forward to seeing more and more local visitors and out-of-state tourists.”

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Casper’s Beartrap Summer Festival Canceled Due To Coronavirus

in arts and culture/Coronavirus/News
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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Another 2020 Wyoming event bites the dust due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Tuesday, the Beartrap Summer Festival organizers announced that they would cancel the 2020 event, but confirmed the festival would return Aug. 7-8, 2021.

The planned headliners for the Casper festival for this year were the Charlie Daniels Band and Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers. Although they won’t appear at the 2020 festival, they will headline next summer, with Hornsby headlining on Aug. 7 and Daniels closing out the Aug. 8 performance, organizers said in a statement.

“The [bands], along with us and everyone in the venue, live entertainment and concert industry are reeling from the current climate for gatherings of our size in the era of ‘social distancing,’ and deeply regret that this year’s festival is to be one of the many impacted by COVID-19,” the organizers wrote on the Beartrap website.

No tickets had gone on sale due to the coronavirus concerns, but if anyone happened to obtain tickets from donations or another way, they will be honored for the 2021 festival.

“It’s our hope that the light at the end of the tunnel will continue to shine brighter in the months ahead and lead the way into the eventual return of more musical merriment like ours – and we will dearly miss seeing you in the meadow this year,” the organizers wrote.

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C.J. Box Says “Big Sky” Series Still On Track For Fall ABC Debut

in arts and culture/News
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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The coronavirus pandemic has put a hold on a number of movies and TV shows, but C.J. Box’s “The Big Sky” isn’t one of them.

Box announced the development Friday on his Facebook and Twitter accounts, posting a link to a Deadline story that showed “The Big Sky” would get a full first season commitment, when it was originally commissioned just for a pilot episode.

“Still on track for this fall on ABC…,” Box wrote in his Facebook post.

The show is being created by legendary TV writer and producer David E. Kelley, who has also created shows such as “Big Little Lies,” “Boston Legal,” “Ally McBeal” and “Mr. Mercedes.” Kelley will write multiple episodes and serve as the showrunner for the first season.

The show will focus on private detectives Cassie Dewell and Cody Hoyt, who team up with Cody’s estranged wife, Jenny, to search for two sisters who have been kidnapped by a truck driver on a remote road in Montana. The detectives soon find out those aren’t the only girls who have disappeared, racing against time to stop the killer.

The cast will inculde Kylie Bunbury as Cassie Dewell, Katheryn Winnick as Jenny Hoyt and Ryan Phillippe as Cody Hoyt.

“(The television series will) be dark and scary,” Box said in an interview February. “A lot of people who have read it say it is one of the creepiest things they’ve ever read. The pilot I read scared me, even though I knew what was going to happen.”

Box will act as an executive producer on the series, as well.

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Golden Globes: Taking Our Licks From Hollywood

in arts and culture/Column/Dave Simpson
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By Dave Simpson

PEACOCKS: The annual award show season – always good for a horse laugh out here in Deepest Frozen-Tundra Flyover Country – kicked off last week with the Golden Globe Awards.

This is when preening, self-absorbed peacocks who I couldn’t name if you held a gun to my head, dress up like they’re going to the prom, and gather for a feed folks like us could never afford, and slobber all over each other over movies that Corn Belt types like myself have never seen, and will never see.

This is an exclusive gathering of rich people with big hair who like to whine and complain about how rotten the country that made them so rich and glamorous and superior really is.

They view it as an opportunity to make rubes like us aware of all kinds of problems.

The last movie I paid actual money to see was “Forrest Gump,” which was released 25 years ago. So, if you do the math, it has been a quarter of a century since I saw an actual movie, which no doubt excludes me from the award show target audience.

The only interesting part for me was waiting for the next obscenity-laced kick in the pants, as these vacuous Hollywood boobs took the opportunity to show us their great compassion and vast knowledge of politics and foreign affairs.

(I will say that if you’re only going to see one movie in a quarter century, “Forrest Gump” was a pretty good movie to see. It was swell. The star, Tom Hanks, reportedly shares the Hollywood belief that anyone who voted for Donald Trump is stupid and hopeless, but he’s smart enough to keep it under his hat. He has the brains not to lead the parade of Hollywood Trump haters.)

So anyway, despite a warning from host Ricky Gervais that nobody is interested in their loopy political beliefs, the beautiful people nevertheless gave the rest of us the dickens for electing a president they loathe with theatrical gush and histrionics. One award recipient/foreign policy expert predicted that we are “on the brink of war” with Iran, thanks to the evil Trump. And they fretted, of course, over climate change, striking a major blow by eating a cow-emissions-free vegan dinner. (I wonder if they’ve heard that vegetables scream when you pick them.)

They were in fine form, using lots of filthy language – during family viewing hours, no less – that had to be bleeped out as they lamented the country many of the rest of us like just fine.

Who on earth would want to go see a movie put together by awful people like these?

I don’t know about you, but I’m good for another 25 years without seeing a movie.

THAT SAID: I’m not like the beautiful people above (duh) complaining about major aspects of life in America. But there are some minor irritants that come to mind. Stuff that we tend to notice more at this time of year when we’re stuck inside and can’t escape to the woods, and which wouldn’t take too much ding-dong effort to fix.

Some that come to mind:

People on TV who insist on all talking at the same time. The more interesting the subject is, the more frustrating it is when everyone talks at once.

Pundits/hosts who insist on asking long, detailed questions with multiple examples baked in, that go on so long that nobody can remember what the first part of the question was. (Sean Hannity and Joe Scarborough are the absolute worst, and should be sentenced to diagram their sentences.)

Guys who walk around naked in the locker room at exercise, like they’ve got a blue-ribbon entry in the county fair.

Cell phone rings built into advertisements to get your attention. A pox upon them.

The “LIMU EMU” ads on TV. Lord, have mercy.

Selfish imbeciles who block traffic waiting for a great parking space at Walmart. I’ve mentioned this before, but they endure, like bed bugs. Get the tar and feathers.

Those white plastic sleeves that soda crackers come in, that fight you every inch of the way.

Telemarketers. Keel hauling is too good for them.

Tailgaters.

Hollywood award shows.

Dave Simpson began his journalism career at the Laramie Boomerang in
1973. He has worked as a reporter, editor, publisher and columnist at
newspapers in Wyoming, Colorado, Illinois and Nebraska. He lives in
Cheyenne.

Historian publishes book about Nimitz visit to Cody

in arts and culture/Community/military
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By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

A Cody historian has turned his attention to a visit to the area by a famous World War II naval officer.

Bob Richard’s newest book documents a visit to the Cody area by Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz and several other military leaders in 1946.

The book consists largely of photos taken by Richard’s father Jack Richard, a secretary to U.S. Sen. E.V. Robertson, who represented Wyoming at the time.

Nimitz played a major role in WWII, commanding the Pacific fleet and accepting the surrender of Japanese forces in 1945. 

Robertson invited Nimitz and others to Wyoming after the war and Richard accompanied the group as it traveled from Cheyenne to Jackson, Yellowstone National Park and Cody.

The resulting photographs, Jack Richard’s first color photos, are contained in the book “Fleet Admiral Nimitz and Naval War Heroes’ Historic Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park Visit.”

“They fished, they swam in (Yellowstone Lake), then they boarded an old yellow bus and they came to Cody, stopping at our ranch on Rattlesnake Creek,” Bob Richard said. “At the age of 9, Adm. Nimitz patted me on the back and said ‘I hope someday that you’re an officer like your dad and his brother Bob.’”

Richard has published a number of books focusing on the Cody and Yellowstone areas. His first, “Yellowstone Country,” also features the photography of his father.

Other books by Richard serve as visual guides of the Yellowstone area.

“Everybody continues to buy them and they give them to their guests,” he said. “When they want to get (the guests) out of the house for the day, they give them the book on the North Fork and say ‘Go find all the rock formations.’”

Richard is himself an accomplished photographer. One of his shots, showing two bears near a sign that reads “Leaving Yellowstone National Park,” is a picture traditionally given as a gift to Yellowstone employees as they retire.

Richard said he has sold more than 600 copies of the photograph, which he took decades ago.

Something different for the New Year — a mac&cheese festival

in arts and culture/Travel
Mac&Cheese Festival
The team from HQ Southern Barbecue in Casper serves up a sampling of macaroni and cheese as part of the 2018 “Noon Year’s Mac&Cheese Fest” in Casper. (Courtesy photo)
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By Cowboy State Daily

A New Year’s celebration for those who love macaroni and cheese and may not be able to stay awake until midnight is on tap in Casper on Dec. 31.

The “Noon Year’s Mac&Cheese Festival” will mark the arrival of the new year 12 hours early in events to run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 31 at a civic auditorium known as “The Lyric” in downtown Casper.

The festival, in its third year, features macaroni and cheese samples from restaurants across Casper, said Julie Schmitt, marketing manager for Casper’s David Street Station, an outdoor events facility across the street from The Lyric.

“It kind of stemmed from the idea we are a family friendly facility,” she said. “We wanted to crate something fun for families to go to and we wanted to host a fun countdown event. And what draws people more than food?”

Kustom Koncepts in Casper created these trophies for the winners of the 2018 “Non Year’s Mac&Cheese Fest.” Trophies and bragging rights are on the line again on Dec. 31 as the annual celebration takes place in Casper. (Courtesy photo)
Kustom Koncepts in Casper created these trophies for the winners of the 2018 “Non Year’s Mac&Cheese Fest.” Trophies and bragging rights are on the line again on Dec. 31 as the annual celebration takes place in Casper. (Courtesy photo)

Free samples of the macaroni and cheese will be given away, with larger servings available for purchase.

The countdown to noon will begin at 11:59 a.m. and the winning “People’s Choice” and “Kids’ Choice” macaroni and cheese chefs will be announced at 12:45 p.m., Schmitt said.

The winners will earn a special trophy created by Kustom Koncepts, along with bragging rights.

“So the … winners will go home with a trophy and the glory of being the top mac and cheese people in town,” she said.

In the past, up to 1,000 people have attended the event, braving sometimes inclement weather to get to The Lyric, Schmitt said.

“Wyoming people are hearty people,” she said.

For more information, visit David Street Station’s website.

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