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Cowboy Skill Games

Cowboy Skill of Wyoming Presents $5,000 Check to Wyoming National Guard Association

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By staff reports

One of Wyoming’s most ardent supporters of the military was on-hand at the Wyoming National Guard in Cheyenne on Saturday to present a $5,000 donation to support the annual Wild West Air Show.

Members of the Cowboy Skill Games of Wyoming coalition, Air Show Director Maxwell McMilan, and Tiffany Hayes of the Wyoming National Guard Association, stood in front of “Lady Liberty” — a B26 Marauder which saw action in World War II — for the formal check presentation.

Coalition member and owner of Cheyenne’s Paradise Pinball Bob Burnham said the group was honored to sponsor the air show — especially this year.

“We are humbled on the 20th anniversary of September 11 to be a part of this great event,” Burnham said. “The patriotism on display this weekend is unparalleled.”

Attendees witnessed a 9/11 bell ceremony followed by remarks from Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon and a special Vietnam veterans pinning ceremony before the airshow kicked-off Saturday afternoon.

“Our Wyoming families have the utmost respect for our military, our law enforcement, fire departments and all of our first responders,” Burnham said.

“This is just another opportunity where Cowboy Skill can say thank you to the women and men who serve our great country,” he said.

Just weeks ago, Cowboy Skill was the top-level sponsor at Cheyenne Frontier Days where the organization hosted dozens of airmen, sailors, and soldiers.

On “Military Monday,’ Cowboy Skill arranged for two airmen to be honored for their heroism in front of 15,000 people attending the rodeo.

The two F.E. Warren Air Force Base airmen were responsible for catching a fugitive and rescuing a 10-year-old who had been kidnapped since December, 2020.

Cowboy Skill of Wyoming is an organization comprised of Wyoming-owned vending companies which distribute Cowboy Skill games across the state.

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Cowboy Skill Games Honors Wyoming Deputy Sheriff Who Saved Two Women From Drowning

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More than 20,000 people gave Natrona County Deputy Sheriff Dexter Bryant a standing ovation on Saturday as Cheyenne Frontier Days paused the rodeo in order to salute his heroism.

Bryant, a guest of Cowboy Skill Games of Wyoming, was asked to stand in front of the sell-out crowd as the rodeo announcer thanked him for saving the lives of two drowning women earlier in the month on the North Platte River.

“The Natrona County Sheriff said Bryant saved two lives that day because of his immediate heroic actions,” rodeo announcer Garrett Yeriga announced to the applauding crowd.

“Ladies and gentlemen today we present to you, Natrona County Deputy Sheriff’s Officer Dexter Bryant.  Tell him that he’s a hero!” Yeriga said.

“Deputy Bryant, God bless you and thank you for your selfless and heroic act of service,” he said.

Bryant, who stood for more than a minute as the capacity crowd thanked him, was invited to the rodeo as a guest of Cowboy Skill Games, a top-level sponsor of Cheyenne Frontier Days.

Bryant, and his wife Amy, enjoyed the rodeo and the Blake Shelton concert later that evening.

Earlier in the week, Cowboy Skill Games hosted two F.E. Warren Air Force Base airmen who saved a kidnapped child from an armed fugitive. Like Dexter, they received public commendation during the Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo.

According to reports, on Saturday afternoon, the Natrona County Sheriff’s Office dispatch received a report about an inflatable raft carrying five people down the North Platte River that had been punctured and sank.

Of the five people onboard the raft, none were using safety flotation devised. One person swam safely to shore and two managed to climb onto an island in the river.

The remaining two women grabbed onto branches overhanging the river from a tree on the island. However, they were unable to get onto the island due to its steep bank, a swift current and their lack of energy.

Bryant was the first to arrive on scene and began communicating with the two women in the water. One was running out of energy and couldn’t hang onto the branch much longer and her friend was afraid the woman would drown if she let go.

Bryant knew immediate action was critical to the situation and couldn’t wait for responding watercraft. He removed his vest, gun belt and boots before putting on a life-jacket and swimming to the island.

He then pulled both women out of the water and onto the island. Eventually, everyone was reunited on the shore with the help of fire personnel and their watercraft.

“I am exceedingly proud of  Deputy Bryant,” Natrona County Sheriff’s Sgt. Mark Bahr said. “I believe he no doubt saved at least one, if not two lives today. This was a great representation of the selflessness of one of our deputies,  and it was a superb exemplification of the professionalism and superior competency of this office.”

Undersheriff John Harlin described Bryant’s actions as “incredible heroism that should be recognized.” Bryant has been with the department for more than three years.

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Cowboy Skill Games & Cheyenne Frontier Days Honors Wyoming Airmen Who Saved Kidnapped Child

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Cheyenne Frontier Days and Cowboy Skill Games of Wyoming on Monday honored two Wyoming airmen from F.E. Warren Air Force Base whose quick actions led to the rescue of a kidnapped child from an armed fugitive.

Airman Suzanne Pedro and Airman First Class Frank Shaw were honored guests in the Cowboy Skill Games sponsor box at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo as part of the rodeo’s “Military Appreciation Monday.”

Paul Goldean, a combat veteran of the 75th Ranger Regiment who is now president of Pace-O-Matic, the company which develops and distributes Cowboy Skill games, said Pedro and Shaw’s story was so inspiring he wanted to draw attention to it.

“We invited many soldiers to join us this week for Cheyenne Frontier Days. But Airmen Pedro and Shaw’s heroic actions really stood out. They are true American heroes and are exemplary of our military,” Goldean said.

According to the U.S. Air Force, while Pedro was guarding the gate at F.E. Warren AFB, a driver who was trying to get onto the base presented her with an unusual form of identification.

When the man and child in the vehicle refused to make eye contact with the airman, she quietly alerted her supervisors and wingmen on duty at the gate; the vehicle was subsequently detained.

It was then that the officers discovered the man was a fugitive and the child had been kidnapped since December, 2020.

During Monday’s rodeo, announcer Garrett Yerigan recognized Pedro and Shaw for their actions, prompting a standing ovation by 15,000 people attending the third performance of the 10-day rodeo.

Cowboy Skill Games hosted dozens of soldiers and sailors in its sponsor boxes on Monday. They were joined by Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon, First Lady Jennie Gordon, Cheyenne Mayor Patrick Collins, and Vice-Admiral Sean Buck, US Navy.

Pedro and Shaw were joined in the Cowboy Skill Games sponsor box by fellow U.S. Air Force service members including:

Senior Airman Joshua Morales, 90th Missile Maintenance Squadron
Airman 1st Class Zachery Ravlin, 90th Civil Engineer Squadron
Airman 1st Class Frank Shaw, 90th Security Forces Squadron
Capt. Stephanie Sanchez, 90th Operations Support Squadron
Airman 1st Class Skylar Reno, 90th Missile Wing Judge Advocate
Airman 1st Class Zachery Ravlin, 90th Civil Engineer Squadron

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Cowboy Skill Games of Wyoming Thanks Wyo Legislature For Passing Skill Games Legislation

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Cowboy Skill of Wyoming on Thursday thanked the Wyoming State Legislature and Governor Mark Gordon for supporting Wyoming small business with the passage of legislation that allows skill-based amusement games to continue to operate legally in Wyoming bars, restaurants, fraternal organizations, and truck stops.

The legislation formally recognizes that legal games of skill depend primarily on a player’s level of strategy and skill to win, not on chance.

Pace-O-Matic, the company that creates and distributes Cowboy Skill games, said the legislation in Wyoming was a great victory for many Wyoming small businesses which depended on legal games of skill to survive a tumultuous 2020.

“This past year was very difficult for the restaurant and bar industry,” Pace-O-Matic CEO Paul Goldean said. “We are so thankful to Wyoming state legislators for recognizing that skill-based amusement games are unique from a legal sense. We are excited about the future of the legal skill game industry in Wyoming.”

The legislation specifically removed a sunset date that was placed on skill games in 2020 that, in effect, allowed for a testing period to see how these games benefitted the aforementioned organizations and the State of Wyoming.

In under a year, and with just 232 locations in the state, Cowboy Skill games generated more than $2 million in tax revenues for counties, cities, and Wyoming’s education fund.

Mike Moser, executive director of the Wyoming State Liquor Association, said without these legal games of skill many bars and restaurants wouldn’t have been able to survive this past year.

“These legal skill games proved to be a financial lifeline for these 300+ small businesses, without of which some, no doubt, would have closed their doors,” he said.

Travis Sutton, owner of Sutton’s Tavern in Sheridan, Wyoming, said Cowboy Skill games were critical to keeping his business operating during the pandemic.

“I’m just grateful I had them,” Sutton said. “There are a lot of bars and restaurants in the state which had to close down and they’re not coming back. Cowboy Skill games provided my establishment income to keep my workers employed and allowed me to keep paying bills.”

That sentiment was echoed by members of the organization “Cowboy Skill of Wyoming” which was formed by Wyoming-based vending companies who came together and organized to promote legal skill games.

Bobby Jenkins, owner of Jenkins Music and Vending in Rock Springs, said he’s received dozens of phone calls and text messages from bar owners following passage of the legislation.

“If you go talk to the Eagle Bar in LaBarge, the Boulder Bar & Grill in Boulder, the Green River Bar in Daniel, or the Corral Bar in Pinedale, you’ll get a sense for how important Cowboy Skill games are to these small businesses,” Jenkins said.

“These are the bars and restaurants where the community comes together,” he said. “And you have to credit members of the Wyoming State Legislature who listened to their constituents. It’s a great day for Wyoming small business.”

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Cowboy Skill Games Gives $15,000 to Mullen Fire Volunteer Fire Departments

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(Pictured: Jon Essley, Tie Siding fire department; David Waylander, Cowboy Skill Games; Sean Davis, Centennial fire department, Harry Whitlock, Vedauwoo fire department; Guy Cameron (speaking), Cowboy Skill Games; Brett Wadsworth, Vedauwoo fire chief, Rhonda Waylander, Cowboy Skill Games)

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In a brief, brisk, cold, outdoor, socially-distanced, and masked ceremony, Cowboy Skill Games of Wyoming on Wednesday donated $15,000 to the volunteer fire departments in southern Wyoming which fought the Mullen Fire earlier this fall.

The organization, made up of Wyoming-owned amusement and vending companies, donated the funds to thank the volunteer firefighters in the area who fought the 177,000+ acre fire and to draw attention to how critical volunteer fire departments are in Wyoming.

“When the Mullen Fire first broke out, the volunteer fire departments in the area were the first of the scene. They were the first responders,” David Waylander, owner of Wyoming Amusement and member of Cowboy Skill Games, said.

“These people — volunteers — risked their lives for everyone who lives in the area and they should be commended,” he said.

Waylander, a founding member of Cowboy Skill Games, said the idea for a check presentation came about when the group met to discuss how they could help.

“We’re from Wyoming. We raise our families here. This is where we live our lives. Volunteer fire departments are critical to each community in the state. Our goal is to help raise the awareness of just how critical they are,” he said.

During the ceremony, Tie Siding Fire Chief Jon Essley said many volunteers took time-off from their full-time jobs and were working 14 hour days to fight the fire.

“These people spent a lot of time away from their families to help other families,” Essley said. “They were camping out a lot and weren’t able to go home at night.”

That these people are volunteers who give freely of their time with no pay is what former firefighter Guy Cameron said is so important for Wyoming citizens to understand. 

Cameron, who now serves as compliance director for Cowboy Skill Games, said the overwhelming majority of Wyoming communities are served by volunteer fire departments and their financial needs are real.

That sentiment was echoed by Vedauwoo volunteer firefighter Harry Whitlock who said the donated funds are “very, very valuable” as money from the county tax levies are tight.

“Our department will use the funds from Cowboy Skill Games to buy additional needed equipment for our fire trucks, our EMTs, and additional training,” Whitlock said.  “We certainly appreciate it.”

Wyoming meteorologist Don Day, whose family has had property in the Mullen Fire area for five generations, said he joined the presentation to help raise awareness to the value and the needs of volunteer fire departments.

“These men and women are the unsung heroes,” Day said.  “It’s a complete labor of love for these people. And if I can use my microphone to further the awareness of the importance of volunteer fire departments and to promote donations to these critical establishments, it’s the least I can do.””

The $15,000 check will be split evenly among the Centennial Valley, Big Laramie Valley, Central, Vedauwoo, Tie Siding, and Mountain Home volunteer fire departments.

Waylander said the hope is that Cowboy Skill’s donation can spur more donations to volunteer fire departments across the state.

Cowboy Skill Games of Wyoming is a group of Wyoming-based amusement and coin-op vending companies who offer legal skill games to restaurants and bars across the state.

These legal skill games have breathed new life into neighborhood bars, taverns, clubs, VFWs, American Legions, and other fraternal organizations across the State of Wyoming.

Earlier this year, Cowboy Skill Games purchased a new van for a Sheridan family whose van was stolen while they were receiving medical treatment for their child in Denver.

The organization also donated $10,000 to First Lady Jennie Gordon’s Wyoming Hunger Initiative, and hosted a free lunch for first responders in Casper.

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Cowboy Skill Games to Give $15,000 to Mullen Fire Volunteer Fire Departments

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Cowboy Skill Games of Wyoming on Wednesday will thank Volunteer Fire Departments for their efforts in battling the Mullen Fire which affected more than 177,000 acres in southern Wyoming.

The organization, comprised of Wyoming-owned amusement and vending companies, will donate $15,000 to the local area Volunteer Fire Departments at a check presentation ceremony at the Central Station in Laramie at 4287 North 3rd Street at 10am.

The goal is to thank the volunteer firefighters and to encourage statewide giving to Volunteer Fire Departments across Wyoming.

Representatives from Cowboy Skill Games, the Volunteer Fire Departments, and Wyoming meteorologist Don Day will all speak at the ceremony.

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