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Cheyenne Frontier Days, Other Locals Orgs Work To Help Victims Of Colorado Wildfires

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A number of organizations in Cheyenne are working together to help people in Colorado who have been displaced by wildfires.

Currently, there are eight wildfires burning across the state, but the two affecting northern Colorado are the Cameron Peak Fire (which has recently been declared as the largest in the state’s history) and the East Troublesome Fire.

The East Troublesome Fire has only popped up within the last week, but on Thursday, it forced the evacuation of much of the town of Estes Park. More evacuation notices are expected coming, as the fire is only at 5% containment.

But Cheyenne organizations, including Cheyenne Frontier Days, are offering up their services and help to those in need.

CFD CEO Tom Hirsig told Cowboy State Daily that the rodeo organization is offering up its grounds to anyone who needs to store their horses or livestock because of evacuation.

“We have things we can offer these people, so why not do it?” Hirsig said. “It’s already devastating enough that these people might lose their homes, but these poor animals have got to be terrified.”

CFD even posted the notice to its Facebook page, letting anyone know they could call 307-778-7263 for more information.

The offer is not unprecedented for CFD, as Hirsig noted that the rodeo has always been willing to offer up its stalls or corrals to farmers, ranchers or a cowboy/girl in need, but he said the offers have never reached this scale.

Currently, no one from Colorado has had to bring their animals to Cheyenne just yet (thanks to many of the northern Colorado livestock boards, who have been helping in the interim), but Hirsig hopes that people will take advantage of the opportunity, should it be needed.

“Cheyenne Frontier Days was founded on helping our community, and our community is bigger than just Cheyenne,” he said. “I think many organizations get caught up chasing the almighty dollar, but this just shows that things can be taken away in an instant. It’s a time in our world where we can see the good in people.”

Visit Cheyenne has also partnered with many of the hotels in the city to offer heavily discounted rates to those displaced by the fires.

The organization currently has a list of hotels and their discounted rates for wildfire victims, which will be updated.

“We are all praying for your safety and Cheyenne is willing to help in any way we can,” Visit Cheyenne wrote in a tweet.

Some of the firefighters from Laramie County Fire District No. 2 have been traveling to Loveland to help staff the fire station and give their Colorado colleagues a much-needed break, according to 9News from Denver.

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Park County Sheriff’s Office Saves Man From Shoshone River Drainage

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Shoshone Plateau SOS Cody – On Friday October 9th, 2020 at 3:41 P.M. the Park County Sheriff’s Office Communications…

Posted by Park County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, October 21, 2020

A man left stranded by a broken leg in a ravine near the Shoshone River was rescued by search and rescue personnel from the Park County Sheriff’s Office last week.

The sheriff’s office said its communications division received an SOS signal Friday from 38-year-old male hunter who had broken his leg.

The hunter was located in the South Fork of the Shoshone River Drainage on the Shoshone Plateau. He slid down a ravine, broke his leg and was unable to climb out, he told authorities.

A number of search and rescue personnel (including Park County Search and Rescue, Guardian Medical Helicopter and Sublette County’s Tip-Top helicopter) were able to reach the hunter and stabilize his injury. They then stayed with him overnight until a helicopter could be flown into the area Saturday morning.

On Saturday, Tip-Top “short-hauled” the hunter out of the area to a waiting Cody Regional Health Ambulance that was staged at the Majo Ranch. The man was then transported to Cody Regional Health.

A short haul rescue involves securing an injured person to a rope affixed to the underside of a helicopter. The rope and an attendant are lowered to extract the injured person using a full-body harness, also called a “screamer suit.”

The person is then transported, attached to the rope, to a more suitable landing zone.

Park County Sheriff Scott Steward expressed his gratitude for the search and rescue personnel.

“Being able to get to the victim and then staying overnight with him is a resource that is invaluable to the residents and visitors of Park County,” he said.

The six rescue members that stayed overnight were able to hike out to a landing zone the next morning after the victim was extracted and all made it home safely.

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C.J. Box’s “Big Sky” TV Show Trailer Draws 25 Million Views In First 3 Days

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The numbers are in and it seems that people are ready for the mid-November premiere of “Big Sky,” the series adapted from the Cassie Dewell novels of Wyoming author C.J. Box.

According to media reports, a trailer for the upcoming television series was viewed more than 25 million times in the first three days of its upload across multiple social media platforms.

“How big is Big Sky‘s trailer viewership tally of 25.5 million views over three days?” Deadline reported. “For comparison, the top [three] most-watched broadcast trailers at the 2019 upfronts, for ABC’s ‘Stumptown,’ ‘Emergence’ and ‘Mixed-ish,‘ amassed between 14.6 million and 16.1 million views across social media platforms in their first week.”

The trailer actually got most of its views from Twitter, 12.3 million to be exact. The other views came from Facebook (5.9 million), Instagram (4.1 million) and YouTube (3.2 million), totaling 25.5 million.

This is very good news for “Big Sky,” especially when many TV and film productions were shut down by health restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

Box shared the good news on his Facebook page, expressing his excitement about the series’ premiere.

“You know who helped make this happen? YOU DID! Let’s keep up the excitement and get ready to tune in Nov. 17th on ABC for #BigSky,” he wrote.

The series has already been ordered by ABC for a full first season.

The show will focus on private detectives Cassie Dewell (Kylie Bunbury) and Cody Hoyt (Ryan Phillipe), 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 show is being created by 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.

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Cody Outfitter: Bigots Not Allowed Our Store

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This is a tough thing to put into words. But, we’ve come to the conclusion that there are some people that shouldn’t…

Posted by Sunlight Sports on Tuesday, October 13, 2020

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The owners of Cody backcountry outfitting store are asking those who believe in bigotry or hate others not to patronize their store.

The Facebook posting by Sunlight Sports owners Wes and Melissa Allen came in response to reports that a same-sex couple in Wapiti were harassed for their sexual orientation last week.

The Allens took to their business Facebook page this week to condemn those who believe in bigotry, telling any potential customers that if they hate others for reasons such as sexual orientation, color or religion, they are not welcome in the store.

“If you hate your neighbors so much for who they are – who they love, the color of their skin, where they were born, where they worship, or any of the other things that make up that person – that you need to treat them differently or harass them or make them feel unsafe in their own home, don’t come into our business,” the owners wrote.

Last week, a same-sex couple in Wapiti were told by five of their neighbors that they weren’t welcome. The Park County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating the encounter.

The Allens noted in their post that Wyoming has good people, amazing geography and unlimited freedom, all reason they live in the state and have run the store for more than a decade.

The business owners commended the Cody community, saying its members have been “exceptionally good” to the business since the Allens took over.

“Make no mistake – we believe that 99% of [Park] county residents are good people,” they wrote. “Unfortunately, recent events have reminded us that some of them aren’t good people. Some of our neighbors are broken. They feel that it’s OK to let their hate spill out in a way that makes this a worse place to live for everyone, but especially for people that are different in some way from them.

As a family, as a business, and as part of the community we now feel like it’s our responsibility to stand up and say that what these broken people are doing is not OK in this community.”

The Allens pointed out Wyoming’s “live and let live” attitude and how Wyomingites tended to judge people on their actions, not how they were born.

The Allens encouraged anyone who positively contributed to Park County and Wyoming’s way of life to come in, say “hi” and shop with them.

However, if a customer feels the need to judge people on the way they were born, they are unwelcome in the store, the Facebook posting said.

“If you think it’s OK to make someone’s life worse because of who they love, stay out,” they wrote. “If you think it’s OK to make someone’s life worse because of what color they are, stay out. If you think it’s OK to make someone’s life worse because of where they were born, stay out. If you think it’s OK to make someone’s life worse because of their spiritual life, stay out.

“If you think it’s OK to make someone’s life worse because they are different than you, stay out.” the posting continued. “It would be fine if we never saw you again. Your hate is not welcome here. Everyone else, come on in.”

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Astronomer: “Phenomenal” Peak Viewing of Orionids Meteor Showing Days Away

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Here’s the good news: Wyomingites still have plenty of opportunities to see the Orionids meteor shower before it wanes in early November.

The bad news is that you’ll either have to stay up late or plan on waking up in the middle of the night.

The Orionids meteor shower is considered to be one of the most beautiful of the year, according to NASA, and is known for the brightness and speed of the meteors entering earth’s atmosphere. They can reach speeds of about 148,000 mph as they enter the atmosphere.

Max Gilbraith, plaetarium coordinator at the University of Wyoming, told Cowboy State Daily that the meteor shower can be best seen after midnight, usually around 1 or 2 a.m.

“Weather conditions are going to be the main concern, especially down in the southeast portion of Wyoming, where we have smoke from the Mullen and Cameron Peak fires,” Gilbraith said. “I would recommend getting anywhere high and dry, especially a place where you won’t have light pollution, like in Cheyenne and Casper.”

The astronomer also recommend not using binoculars or a telescope when looking for the meteor shower, as only looking at one spot (albeit magnified) will likely mean missing meteors in another portion of the sky.

Meteor showers occur when the earth passes through a “meteroid belt,” leftover “dust” from the disintegration of a comet, in this case, Halley’s Comet.

Gilbraith said the meteor shower will peak around Oct. 20, meaning that is when the most meteors can be seen in the shortest period of time. As recently as 2007, the meteor shower peaked at 70 meteors per hour, equaling just over one per minute.

“That is phenomenal, because there are usually a few dozen per hour, around 10 to 20,” he said.

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Tiny Dog Challenges Gigantic Moose In Pinedale; Ultimately Loses

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

While many wildlife encounters Wyoming can be considered “funny” or “terrifying,” this one could get the award for “most adorable,” at least for the day.

A clip posted to video sharing website Rumble is gaining momentum this week, since it shows the cutest guard dog in Wyoming defending some property from a significantly larger moose in Pinedale.

According to the description, the moose was nosing around the senior center, looking inside the doors and windows, but this wasn’t the moose’s first visit.

“A dog lives with there with a senior citizen,” the description said. “He is so brave, tries to protect his mom and doesn’t get hurt. The moose is walking away very friendly.”

It’s a wonder the moose can even see inside the windows, that’s how tall it is.

“He wants to get inside,” a person behind the camera commented.

Then, the mighty hunter comes charging in at the moose, who looks more confused at the tiny creature than anything else. The moose attempts to sniff the dog, who isn’t having any of this horned animal’s nonsense.

The moose gets the hint, walks away and the dog goes back to its owner, ready to protect another day.

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Worland Residents Drop 500 – 930 Pound Pumpkins From Giant Crane In Annual Pumpkin Drop

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

On Saturday, Worland residents gathered for a momentous event: the weighing and smashing of giant pumpkins in the town’s annual Wyoming Champion Giant Pumpkin Weigh-In and Pumpkin Drop.

In a 3-minute video, the viewer can get a bird’s eye view of a 170-foot crane used to hoist massive pumpkins high in the air on Saturday afternoon and then drop them to the ground.

Co-organizer Jay Richard told Cowboy State Daily that the pumpkins dropped ranged in size from a little more than 500 pounds to 930 pounds.

Volunteers signed up to have the honor of dropping the pumpkins from 170 feet to the ground, aiming at a giant inflated ball painted to resemble a coronavirus germ.

“You can’t quite see it in the video, but the ball we were dropping it on was supposed to be a coronavirus germ,” Richard said, laughing. “It said ‘Made in China’ and had some other things spray painted on it, but it’s a big coronavirus germ.”

Richard managed to nab the title of having the largest pumpkins, which were not among those that were dropped. His two largest pumpkins weighed in at 1,225 and 1,238 pounds, respectively.

After the pumpkins are dropped, many audience members take the pieces home to give to their animals or even to cook.

The pumpkins are grown from Atlantic giant pumpkin seeds and Richard said they are perfectly fine to eat, even though they might be relatively flavorless.

“I once had someone bring me a cake after the pumpkin drop and it was really good,” Richard said. “I’ll have people call me to ask what we do with the pumpkins after we drop them. We just get out of the way after they fall. People were still loading some of the pieces up when we left on Saturday.”

Richard added that he regularly gives the giant pumpkin seeds away and said there isn’t a trick to growing them. However, he pointed out anyone interested should have good gardening practices and a significant amount of room in their yard to dedicate to the giant squash.

“You have to have good seeds, good soil and good weather and maybe just a little good luck,” he said. “I grow three per year, two for showing and one for dropping.”

Richard’s gardening journey can be followed on Facebook here.

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Study: Wyoming Residents Don’t Need Loans (As Much)

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming came in almost dead last in a recent ranking of states where residents need loans due to the coronavirus.

According to personal finance website WalletHub, Wyoming was ranked 49th of the 50 states and the District of Columbia when it came to states whose residents were in the greatest need of some type of loan due to the coronavirus.

The loans ranged from payday to home equity.

Wyoming was 51st when it came to the number of times residents searched the Internet for information related to loans in general, but was No. 11 for searches regarding payday loans.

Wyoming was followed in the overall ranking by North Dakota and Alaska, respectively, in 50th and 51st place.

New York, Virginia and Washington state were the three highest-ranking states, meaning their residents needed loans the most due to the pandemic.

WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across four key metrics, which combined internal credit report data with data on yhe increased use of Google to search for three loan-related terms.

The analysis compared loan-related search interest values for August.

George Mason University professor Frank Shafroth suggested going to a trusted friend or relative if a person needs cash quickly instead of using a payday loan service. If that doesn’t work, he recommended a credit union.

“If a person has a trusted financial institution or bank, I would suggest meeting with a loan officer to assess what the credit implications might be,” Shafroth said.

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Teton County Residents Live Longer Than Almost Anyone Else in the U.S.

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Teton County residents are expected to live longer than most of the people in the United States, according to a recent analysis.

Last week, U.S. News and World Report released its ranking of America’s 25 healthiest communities and Teton County made the cut at number 16.

Teton County’s overall life expectancy is 83.5 years, compared to the national median at 77.9 years.

Teton County (population: 21,294) received an overall score of 81.8 out of a possible 100 in the report and was considered No. 1 when it came to infrastructure, population health and the environment. When compared to other rural, high-performing communities, Teton County came in at fifth place.

The county actually dropped in its score over the last year, as it was ranked the sixth overall healthiest community in 2019.

Its lower ranking likely stemmed from the county’s poorer scores when it came to equity (43), housing (47) and public safety (58). The county also ranked above average when it came to the population in the community without health insurance at 16%. compared to the nation’s median of 10.6%.

The highest ranking in the report went to Los Alamos County, New Mexico (population: 17,950), which received a score of 100. It was considered to perform the best when it came to population health, housing and the environment.

The lowest ranking of the 25 was Dallas County, Iowa (population: 66,135), which received a score of 79.1. The county was reported to perform best in the categories of infrastructure, economy and population health.

The news organization studied nearly 3,000 counties and county equivalents, measuring 84 factors that form and define the health of a community and its residents. It then narrowed that list down to 10 categories, ranging from the economy to public safety to housing.

The communities are scored on a 100-point scale based on their performance relative to one another across metrics and categories and are ranked based on those scores.

These 25 communities were narrowed down from the U.S. News and World Report’s ranking of the 500 healthiest communities.

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Wyoming Volunteers Build Beds For Needy Kids

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By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

On a blustery Saturday morning, a group of volunteers in Cody are sawing, sanding, cutting and stacking boards that will soon become a needy child’s very own bunk bed.

The person in charge of organizing the day’s event is Dan Frederick, president of the Bighorn Basin chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace, a national organization dedicated to making sure every child has a safe place at night to lay their head.

“They estimate that about 3% of the kids in the nation don’t have beds,” Frederick said. “And we’ve found that to be at least 3% in the basin.”

For more than two years now, the Bighorn Basin Chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace has organized “build days” about once a month to construct beds that will be distributed throughout the region. 

“We’ve got too many kids that are just sleeping, maybe on an air mattress, or on a pile of clothes on the floor, on the couch, something like that,” Frederick said. 

Families who may qualify for a bed can apply for one at, and many are referred to their local chapter by churches, schools, or other agencies.

The Bighorn Basin Chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace is one of three chapters in Wyoming – the other two are located in Cheyenne and in Rock Springs. 

Frederick said there is a definite need for more volunteers in other parts of the state.

“In Fremont County, in Natrona County, there’s some real needs over there, and I’m constantly getting bed requests from those areas,” he said

Frederick encourages people who may be interested in helping the effort to log on to and click on the box that says “get involved”.

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