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Chips will fly in Encampment during Woodchoppers Jamboree

in Community/Travel

By Cowboy State Daily

The chips will fly in Encampment this weekend as competitors from around the region gather for the town’s annual Woodchoppers Jamboree and Rodeo.

Participants will face off in a number of competitions based on skills common to the timber industry, such as sawing through logs using hand saws and power saws, wood splitting and axe throwing during the event.

Celebrating its 59th year, the celebration to be held Saturday and Sunday got its start when lumberjacks, unable to get into wooded areas because of wet conditions, would get together to compare skills, said Doreen Harvey, who organizes the woodchopping events with her husband Ron.

“When they were unable to work in the springtime … they thought it would be fun to get together for a competition,” she said.

Events such as the handsaw competitions grew from skills lumberjacks had to possess to bring lumber out of the forest, Harvey said.

“A lot of the competitions are based on what the timber industry used to be,” she said. “Handsawing and chainsawing are no longer the predominant way that they log.”

But competition by both men and women remains brisk, even though a number of participants are not involved in the timber industry.

“Some of them are just sportsmen who like to compete in things they are good at,” Harvey said.

Competitors come from a number of states, such as Colorado, South Dakota and Utah, in addition to Wyoming, she added.

Woodchopping events will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday and will feature contests such as tree felling, using a handsaw, a team handsaw competition, using a chainsaw, axe throwing and pole throwing, where contestants are tasked with throwing a large piece of timber as far as they can.

Points are awarded in each competition and the man or woman with the highest point total at the end of the weekend will be named the Rocky Mountain Championship Lumberjack or Jumberjill.

Several events will also be held just for fun, Harvey said, such as the “Mad Loggers Chainsaw Throw,” where competitors attempt to throw a heavy replica of a chainsaw as far as they can — just as frustrated loggers do when their chainsaws won’t start. Plenty of activities will also be available for children, Harvey said, such as a greased pole climb, a sawdust pit and axe and pole throwing competitions for youngsters.

“We’re trying to keep it a family-friendly event,” she said.Wyoming Rodeo Association-sanctioned rodeos will also be held Saturday and Sunday.

“(The Woodchopper’s Jamboree) is a good side-by-side event for the rodeo,” Harvey said. “Rodeo is also a big thing in this town.”

Other event during the weekend include a pancake feed and parade on Saturday and a melodrama on both Saturday and Sunday.

For more information on the Woodchoppers Jamboree and Rodeo, visit

In Cheyenne, The Metropolitan’s neon sign an homage to building’s history

in Community/Food and Beverage

Downtown Cheyenne, long a seesaw of forward momentum and stumbles backwards, is lighting up with some new neon (and looking downright sophisticated) as The Metropolitan Downtown nears completion.

“We want to see this corner shining bright,” said Metropolitan Marketing Manager Katy Rinne.

The corner of 17th Street and Carey Avenue is certainly about to become a hub of activity with the opening of the new restaurant and a new municipal courthouse across the street.

“Huge focus on food. Huge focus on atmosphere. Huge focus on service. And the art of all of those things. Neon for our sign tied into that. It’s a piece of art,” said Rinne.

The restaurant anticipates opening in late June.

Quilting in the spotlight during Green River’s ‘Quilting on the Green’

in Community/Travel
Tuesday Travel Quilting on the Green

By Cowboy State Daily

The centuries-old art of quilting gets its moment in the spotlight this weekend with a show, classes and lectures all dedicated to quilts at Green River’s Expedition Island.

“Quilting on the Green,” a celebration of the art of quilting and the artists who put quilts together, will be held Friday and Saturday, drawing quilters and vendors from throughout the region who will display their works and their wares, said Sue Hermansen, a member of the Quilting on the Green Committee.

“We have people from Colorado who have submitted quilts and we’re going out to Lyman to pick some up this afternoon,” Hermansen said. “I believe I have one from a lady in Utah.”

The celebration, now in its 29th year, features a display of all the quilts submitted for judging. Prizes will be given for first- and second-place finishers in each category.

There will also be a “people’s choice” award and a special award handed out by Green River Mayor Pete Rust.

From 150 to 200 people are expected to visit the display each day to get a look at judging results. The visitors come from all over, Hermansen said.

“We have a couple of women who come from Oregon and Colorado and they meet their sister here to do Quilting on the Green,” she said. “It s a nice way for them to get together.”

Quilting began centuries ago as a way to use up scrap fabric, but the practice evolved into an art form often featuring elaborate patterns, Hermansen said.

“A long time ago, that was how people used up their scrap,” she said. “They didn’t have a lot, so they used scraps, pieces of flour sacks and different things to make quilts.”

Events will begin Friday with the opening of the quilt show at 10 a.m., followed Friday evening by a “trunk show,” where well-known quilters and instructors talk about some of their works. This year’s featured quilter is Marci Baker from Fort Collins, Colorado.

The quilt show will resume on Saturday, when half- and full-day classes on techniques and quilting skills will also be offered.

Vendors from around the region will be on hand both days, Hermansen said, showcasing products including quilting materials, sewing machines and patterns.

Several quilts will also be offered for raffle.

For more information, visit Quilting on the Green’s Facebook page.

Smith: Botanic Garden a success despite climate, altitude

in Agriculture/Community

Cheyenne’s Botanic Garden thrives despite the city’s lousy growing climate, its low population and its elevation, according to the man who directed the facility’s operations for 40 years.

Shane Smith, who retired as director of the Botanic Gardens in 2018, said the city-owned facility has succeeded thanks to the undying optimism of its volunteers and staff members.

“There were a lot of frustrating times where money was tight and things would be going wrong and vandals would come and destroy things and we just couldn’t get things repaired,” he told Cowboy State Daily. “But we were optimistic and had just great volunteer support.”

Smith, who is considered the founder of the Botanic Gardens, said it is rare for a community the size of Cheyenne to have such a facility.

“You would never put a botanic garden in a city this size,” he said. “Usually, you need a half a million people to support a botanic garden that has a professional staff and a grounds and a conservatory.

In addition, Cheyenne has a growing climate that is less than ideal, said Smith, who now volunteers as executive director of the “Friends of the Botanic Garden.”

“Cheyenne has one of the worst garden climates in the lower 48,” he said. “We’re number one in the nation for hail, number four for wind, 6,000-foot elevation, we have a lot of days of winter without snow cover. So I always say you’d have to be kind of an idiot to put a botanic garden in a town this size with a climate this way and I’m that useful idiot.”

In recognition of his hard work with the Botanic Garden, the Cheyenne City Council recently named the facility’s grand conservatory the “Shane Smith Grand Conservatory.”

A day of family fun at Hyattville Cowboy Carnival

in Community/Travel
A day of family fun at Hyattville Cowboy Carnival

By Cowboy State Daily

Pie contests, sheep dog trials, a quilt show, horse races and many more activities are in the spotlight in northern Wyoming this weekend as Hyattville holds its annual Cowboy Carnival.

The carnival, now in its 16th year, will be held Sunday, drawing hundreds of people to the small community for what is described as a day of family-oriented fun.

“What we focus on is trying to make it a good family event, where we don’t have a lot of drinking and all of this other stuff,” said Linda Hamilton, treasurer for the Hyattville Community Center.

The day’s activities, which also include a fun run and photo show, are designed to raise money for the Community Center, a former elementary school that is now used as a hub for events ranging from weddings to reunions.

“We use it for weddings and funerals, any kind of event that anybody wants to host that they don’t have enough room for in their home,” Hamilton said. “There’s a gym, people can come in and do inside activities.”

The building also features a small library and exercise room and is operated for the benefit of residents of Hyattville, which is 41 miles northeast of Worland.

“Hyattville is a tiny little town … and there just aren’t any places to host events and places to take kids to let them run off steam and energy,” Hamilton said. “That was the goal, was to be able to use this building for all those activities.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Hyattville has an average population of 81, and Hamilton said many of those residents are involved in staging the day’s activities.

“We have a good community that steps forward to do this,” Hamilton said. “It’s quite an event and it’s amazing that we can pull a community together and have them do this much.”

The event usually draws from 400 to 450 people, Hamilton said, and raises an average of $10,000 to help with the community center’s maintenance and operation.

Helping raise part of that money is the annual silent and live auction featuring items donated by area residents.

Bob Herman, who is in charge of both auctions, said the events available for sale vary widely.

“To be quite honest, it’s fairly random,” he said. “We get a certain amount of agriculture-related stuff. Certain people are more artistic and will make jewelry. There are usually a couple of paintings and we’ve had a quilt donated.”

Activities begin at 10 a.m. with the 5K run-walk and the final event is the live auction taking place at 3:30 p.m. In between will be horse racing — featuring riders from across the area — children’s events such as pony rides, a petting zoo and “Pony Express” stick horse races, a photography contest, a quilt contest and a pie contest.Also scheduled for the day are sheep dog trials — where working dogs are put through their paces herding livestock — and a shooting competition.

Many of the events, such as the quilt show, photo show and live music, will be held in the community center. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children and $25 for a family and includes a barbecue lunch.

More information on the Cowboy Carnival can be found by visiting the Hyattville Community Center’s website at or the Hyattville Cowboy Carnival page on Facebook.

Longtime Arch lobbyist Schaefer remembered as untiring Wyoming supporter

in Community

A longtime representative of Wyoming’s coal industry is being remembered as an untiring supporter of Wyoming who set the tone for those who spend their time in the Capitol lobbying legislators.

Greg Schaefer, a longtime Arch Coal employee and lobbyist, died May 10.

Schaefer, who also served as a University of Wyoming trustee, was remembered by colleagues as a steadfast backer of Wyoming’s energy industry.

“He was always a champion not only of the coal industry … but the energy business,” said Wendy Lowe, a lobbyist and longtime friend of Schaefer. “And he really set the tone for how you lobby in Wyoming. He was very gracious, very kind, considerate, vocal, opinionated, always stated his mind. But he was a very fair-minded individual.

Marion Loomis, the former executive director of the Wyoming Mining Association, said Arch’s  former vice president of external affairs was also a strong supporter for the state itself.

“He was an avid Wyoming fan,” Loomis said. “He was a real cheerleader for the state of Wyoming wherever he went.”

Jonathan Downing, a former lobbyist, agreed.

“No matter what type of challenging issue that might come up, even if it didn’t involve mining, he was always one of those advocates for Wyoming and trying to make it better in the various ways that you could,” he said.

Schaefer was always ready to help those he worked beside, said Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr, a former lobbyist.

“I was one of the few females (lobbying in Cheyenne), I was in my 20s and he could have been chauvinistic, he could have been not helpful, condescending, and he was anything but,” she said. “He was always just so generous and so open and so respectful.”

Services are to be held Friday in Gillette.

Wyoming letter carriers participate in ‘Stamp Out Hunger’

in Community

By Cowboy State Daily

Letter carriers across Wyoming will be taking part Saturday in what is believed to be the biggest one-day food drive in the country.

Letter carriers are leaving blue plastic bags inside mailboxes for “Stamp Out Hunger,” a nationwide effort to collect food for the hungry.

People are asked to fill the bags with food items and leave those bags at their mailboxes Saturday. The food will then be distributed to local food banks and pantries, such as Cheyenne’s Needs Inc. and the Salvation Army.

Barbara Fecht, executive director of Needs Inc., said the donations will help feed the 12 percent of Laramie County residents who live below the poverty level.

Fecht and Salvation Army Lt. Mistie Lamb said the need for donated food is constant.

“I think we have a lot of people who are working really hard, but wages are low, rent is high, the cost of living is high,” Lamb said. “Money goes to … keeping a roof over their head, to keeping their heat on, to keeping kids clothed … instead of buying food.”

Friends remember Lynch as always working to help others

in Community

By Cowboy State Daily

Friends of a well known Cheyenne photographer who died in April remembered him as someone who was always willing to help others.

Jim Lynch, 77, died Friday, April 27. He was well known as a photographer and as the founder of a charity to gather coats for needy children, as well as a longtime volunteer for Cheyenne Frontier Days.

Randy Wagner, a fellow photographer and friend of Lynch’s, remembered him as someone who was always willing to help out.

“He’s just (got) a magnetic personality,” he said. “He’s always willing to work, he’s always there, just a great guy. The kind of guy you don’t meet very often, but you’re always glad you did.”

Lynch was responsible for creating “Coats for Kids,” a charity aimed at providing new coats to needy children in Cheyenne. Since it was created, it has put more than 10,000 coats in the hands of children in the city.

Jeff White, who worked with Lynch at Frontier Days and eventually took over the Cheyenne City Council spot once held by Lynch, said the charity was the result of Lynch’s upbringing in Boston.

“He knew what it was like to go without during the winter months,” White said. “It stuck with him and when he had the opportunity to try and do something about it in our community, he did. And he did it very well.”

Lynch served as the personal photographer to former Gov. Mike Sullivan, who commented on Lynch’s sunny disposition.

“Jim Lynch brightened a room with his positivity, his quiet intellect and his hard-to-hide Boston/Irish heritage,” Sullivan said. “He was a gentle giant who was of great help to me, a friend to so many … and Cheyenne and Wyoming are in better places for his presence.”

A memorial service will be held at Cheyenne’s Plains Hotel on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Train engineer explains the origins of the ‘Big Boy’

in Community/Transportation

Rail enthusiasts from around the world are looking to Cheyenne this weekend as the the largest steam locomotive ever built begins a trip to Utah.

In this interview with the Cowboy State Daily, former steam locomotive engineer Bob Krieger — a member of the Sherman Hill Model Railroad Club, Inc. — discusses the Union Pacific Big Boy Locomotive and explains the allure of steam engines and trains in general. The model train layout in the background is in operation and can be seen every weekend at Cheyenne’s Frontier Mall.

WyoCon features costumes, trivia contest, gaming

in Community/Travel
WyoCon features costumes, trivia contest, gaming
Family members get their superhero on during a past WyoCon at the White Mountain Library in Rock Springs. This year’s WyoCon, to be held Saturday will feature events including a cosplay contest, a pop culture trivia game, panel discussions and presentations by Wyoming authors. (Photo courtesy of White Mountain Library)

Costumes, video gaming and panel discussions on major pop culture topics are on the schedule for this weekend’s WyoCon at the White Mountain Library in Rock Springs.

The WyoCon, now in its third year, is a one-day celebration of fandom and pop culture to be held form 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, said Aaron Volner, a public services librarian.

“It’s our attempt to bring a small slice of some of that larger ‘con’ experience here to southwestern Wyoming,” he said.

Events will include a small vendor hall, a pop culture trivia contest, video gaming and panel discussions on popular television series and movies such as “Harry Potter,” “Dr. Who” and “Firefly,” a science fiction television series that ran for only one season.

“Locally, we’ve got a very big ‘Firefly’ following here,” said Volner, the main organizer for the event.

Other activities will include presentations by Wyoming authors, a cosplay contest and themed “selfie stations” where people can take pictures of themselves with different pop culture-themed backdrops.

“The Dugout,” a game and comic store in Rock Springs, will also set up board games in the library, Volner said.Past WyoCons were held in 2016 and 2017 and Volner said the most recent event drew slightly more than 300 people.

For more information, visit the library’s website.

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