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2023 International Airstream Rally To Be Held At Sweetwater Events Complex in Rock Springs

in Rock Springs/News
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By Rock Springs Rocket Miner, Cowboy State Daily

ROCK SPRINGS — For the first time in 66 years, an international rally dedicated to devotees of the Airstream travel trailer will be held in the will be held in Sweetwater County.

This isn’t some podunk event where people gather in a parking lot and look at an RV.

This is huge. The International Airstream Rally is expected to bring over 1,800 people and hundreds of Airstreams from 49 states and Canadian provinces to Rock Springs in June, 2023.

Executives of Airstream Club International on Tuesday signed the contract solidifying the Sweetwater Events Complex as the site for the annual get-together.

It means a lot of money too. Conservative estimates project that over $1 million will be spent in Sweetwater County during the event.

“Our visit with the executive team members was extremely successful. We were able to brainstorm how to set up the rally around the grounds and activities in Sweetwater County for rally attendees to participate in,” said Sweetwater Events Complex executive director, Larry Lloyd. 

During the rally attendees will meet fellow Airstream members, learn about the Airstream lifestyle and explore all the activities, local businesses and restaurants Sweetwater County has to offer. 

“There is a certain comradery among Airstream owners. Our rallies are a great opportunity to meet and bond with fellow Airstream owners. We also love to support the communities we visit and are planning a community service opportunity for our members to participate in,” said Airstream Club International corporate manager and rally organizer, Lori Plummer. 

Airstream International Club and the Sweetwater Events Complex are partnering with the Rock Springs Chamber of Commerce, the City of Rock Springs, and Downtown URA to ensure the community and local businesses are involved. As part of the rally, there will be a parade of vintage Airstreams through town for residents to enjoy.

There will be an open house during the rally where locals can tour vintage Airstreams, browse products from vendors and view Airstreams for sale. The City of Rock Springs will be hosting a special downtown event for rally attendees and the community at large to mingle and enjoy the town. 

Local food trucks will be featured at the rally and associated events throughout the week, local vendors will be invited to participate in the vendor fair, restaurants and business will be bustling with activity and gas stations will have increased traffic. 

“A motto of the Airstream International Club founder, Wally Byam, was ‘Fun, Fellowship & Adventure.’ We look forward to living that motto to the fullest by meeting and making new friends, learning about the Airstream lifestyle, and exploring all Sweetwater County has to offer at our 2023 rally,” said Plummer.

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School Bus Drivers Shortage Hits Sweetwater County School District No. 1

in Rock Springs/News
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By Trina Brittain, Rock Springs Rocket Miner

ROCK SPRINGS — Educators are teaching and students are learning but Sweetwater County School District No.1 is facing a shortage on school bus drivers.

School bus drivers have always played an important role in the lives of families in our community.

According to Joe Clingenpeel, Director of Transportation, 11 part-time drivers and four bus aides are needed.

“Bus drivers have a different kind of schedule – they may clock in and clock out three or four times a day, but they could still work five hours a day,” Clingenpeel explained. “It takes a very special person to tackle that kind of schedule, be a good driver and be good with kids.”

Clingenpeel pointed out, “Bus drivers have a huge influence on kids. They’ve helped a countless number of children and I’m proud of them.”

While COVID-19 is a big factor in the bus driver shortages nationwide, Nicole Bolton, Director of Human Resources, said that is not the main reason for the school bus driver shortage in Rock Springs.

“It’s hard to compete with private businesses when they offer better pay, more hours and benefits – that’s been the main concern here,” Bolton shared. “Often, drivers with a CDL can’t refuse a full-time position with benefits.”

“Being a part-time school bus driver is perfect for a select population,” Bolton revealed. “Our best drivers are the ones who retired and just needed something to do part-time.”

Bolton usually receives positive feedback from the school bus drivers.

“We don’t have a very high turn-over rate at all, in fact, I hear many drivers say that this is the most rewarding job,” Bolton said. “Most kids will go home and talk about their drivers more than anyone else – the students really love their drivers.”

“We have a top-notch training and safety program,” Clingenpeel said. “We’re not going to put anyone behind the wheel until they’re ready.”

He added, “Our drivers are very confident when they finish their training.”

Bolton and Clingenpeel agreed that the school bus drivers are “a genuinely awesome group of people who are phenomenal with kids.”

“Bus drivers play an important role in the lives of our community,” Bolton said.

Bolton pointed out that the district does not have a problem filling their full-time positions with benefits.

“That’s a perk for them if they want to start part-time and then make their way into full-time.”

Candidates for a school bus driver position must be 23 years old and have a good Motor Vehicle Record.

“This job is flexible with online classes,” Bolton mentioned. “It’s good extra income and the retirees, especially, love it.”

According to school bus driver, Kyla Witt, there are a few perks transporting children in Rock Springs.

“The beauty of being a bus driver is watching the town wake up and witness the beautiful sunrises,” Witt expressed. “I love driving in the morning, picking up my happy and tired students.”

Witt was originally a bus aide during the 2020-2021 school year. Soon, she decided to get her CDL and be a driver.

“It was honestly something that I was afraid of doing,” she admitted. “I didn’t trust myself driving a huge bus.”

“With a lot of encouragement from the great team I work with, I gained confidence. I was trained by one of the Top Ten Best Over the Road Driver’s/Trainers. I get excited to drive now,” Witt said.

According to Witt, trainees receive paid training.

“I didn’t have to pay for a single class,” she said.

“As bus drivers, we are the first person kids see in the morning and the last person they see at the end of their school day. We can start and end their day with some positivity. I have made new friendships with co-workers, and I truly care about each of my students who ride my bus.”

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Rock Springs Pulls Together To Raise Over $50,000 For Flood Victims

in Rock Springs/News
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By Tyler Johnson tjohnson@rocketminer.com

ROCK SPRINGS – The Rock Springs community doesn’t shy away from a challenge. Especially when it involves helping out a neighbor in need.

After a 100-year flood impacted many residents in late July, the citizens of Rock Springs pulled together like they have done time and time again.

So far, the city has raised a total of $52,933 to help at least 94 families and victims who saw their basements take on a large amount of water on July 28, according to Rock Springs Chamber of Commerce president Rick Lee.

“I’ve lived in Rock Springs all of my life and when we come to a situation where the community needs to pull together, this community always pulls together,” said Mayor Tim Kaumo.

On Sunday, Aug. 22, a Rockin’ from the Rain concert fundraiser was held at the Sweetwater Events Complex. Many volunteers and bands, including Wy5, Wyoming Raised and Zamtrip, donated their time to raise around $17,000 to help the people in need.

“The community of Rock Springs is always raising money and coming together to help people. I think it’s just because we’re a small community that sticks together and supports each other,” said Amber Kramer, a Rock Springs resident and member of the Rockin’ from the Rain committee.

The money raised will be distributed to the victims of the flood. The amount given will be determined by the damages that took place.

“No matter what anybody says about the damage that was caused by an over 100-year flood, if we didn’t have the infrastructure that we had in place, it would’ve been a lot worse,” Mayor Kaumo said.

“The unfortunate thing is that flood insurance does not cover basements and most residential areas don’t even provide flood insurance, so we have to take it upon ourselves to pull together, raise funds and help those families and victims associated with the flood to help them clean up their yards, their basements. We’re going to do that.”

The city will be collecting donations until the end of the week.

To donate, go to Rock Springs City Hall, located at 212 D St., or the Rock Springs Chamber of Commerce, located at 1897 Dewar Drive.

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