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Cowboy State Daily

Cowboy State Daily Welcomes Leo Wolfson To Team As State Government & Political Reporter

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By Jen Kocher, Cowboy State Daily

Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday announced the addition of Leo Wolfson to the digital news organization’s staff.

Wolfson will take over state government and political reporting duties for Cowboy State Daily effective immediately.

Jimmy Orr, editor of Cowboy State Daily, said the addition of Wolfson is an important hire for many reasons.

“As we carefully and deliberately grow our staff, we will choose people who already have a good understanding of Wyoming and Wyoming values,” Orr said. 

“Leo has done a great job at the Cody Enterprise and we have been impressed with his work for some time,” he said. 

Jim Angell, managing editor for Cowboy State Daily, said the state government and political reporting job is a plum assignment in Wyoming because reporters have direct access to decision makers without the intervention of a spokesperson.

“In Washington, D.C., everything goes through a spokesperson. That’s not the case in Wyoming. If the people voted for you in Wyoming, they expect to hear directly from you,” Angell said. “Of course that extends to our Wyoming delegation in Washington as well.”

At the Cody Enterprise, Wolfson covered politics, environmental issues, and courts and crime.

“When the chance to cover state politics for Cowboy State Daily came around it was an opportunity I could not pass up,” Wolfson said. “I couldn’t be more excited to cover those making critical decisions for the future of Wyoming. I’m also proud to be reporting for Cowboy State Daily, a news organization with great talent, a strong sense of ethics and an extremely bright future.”

“Leo is a real pro,” Angell added. “We are fortunate he’s joining our team.”

Wolfson is the latest addition to the to Cowboy State Daily since the news organization was acquired in February.

Last month, the voice of the Wyoming Cowboys, Dave Walsh, and Clair McFarland, formerly of the Riverton Ranger, both joined the organization.

Cowboy State Daily will continue to add journalists to cover a number of beats including energy, business and tourism, public lands and wildlife, and agriculture.

“We’re not stopping there,” Orr said. “This is just to get us to a firm starting point for Cowboy State Daily 2.0. We’ve got more exciting announcements to come. Stay tuned.”

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Dave Walsh “Voice of Wyoming Cowboys” Joins Cowboy State Daily

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By Jennifer Kocher, Cowboy State Daily

Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday announced the addition of Dave Walsh to the digital news organization’s staff.

Walsh, known as the “Voice of the Wyoming Cowboys” for calling the play-by-play of both football and basketball games for the University of Wyoming for nearly four decades, will write a weekly column for Cowboy State Daily beginning on Friday.

Jimmy Orr, editor of Cowboy State Daily, said the addition of Walsh is significant because it further signals that “we are 100% Wyoming.”

“Dave Walsh is Wyoming,” Orr said. “No one is more of a household name than Dave Walsh. We are thrilled to have him on our team.”

Walsh has called more than 1,500 games for the Wyoming Cowboys.  During that stretch, he called out the names of many UW legends who went on to play in the NFL and the NBA such as Josh Allen, Fennis Dembo, Theo Ratliff, Larry Nance, Jr., Jay Novacek, and Logan Wilson.

Walsh said he was looking forward to putting his stories down on “paper.”

“I’m so excited to tell my stories and share my Wyoming experiences, accumulated over the last 40 years,” Walsh said. “We’ll be recounting some unique and extraordinary games, and there have been many of those.”

Walsh said his column will have a sports hook but will be broader than just a recap of games.

“There are so many places and things to write about, but it’s the people who I have come in contact with over the years who have provided most of the memories, and fodder for these columns,” Walsh said.

Orr said Dave Walsh was one of the top-two targets for Cowboy State Daily. He said bringing both Walsh and Wyoming meteorologist Don Day to the team was a priority.

The rapidly expanding organization will soon announce more hires, including a state government/political reporter, an energy reporter, a business/tourism reporter and a public lands, wildlife, and agriculture reporter.

“And this is just the start. We’re just beginning,” Orr said.  “It’s an exciting time for Wyoming journalism.”

Walsh’s column will be published on Friday and joins columns by other Wyoming authors such as Bill Sniffin, Rod Miller, Cat Urbigkit, and Dave Simpson.

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Cowboy State Daily Signs Exclusive Contract With Wyo Meteorologist Don Day

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By Jennifer Kocher, Cowboy State Daily

Formalizing the partnership that Cowboy State Daily has had with Wyoming’s preeminent meteorologist for more than two years, the news organization announced on Tuesday an exclusive three-year contract with Don Day.

For nearly 30 years, Day has provided his daily weather forecasts to more than 70 radio stations in Wyoming surrounding states.

This contract, however, ensures that the DayWeather podcast can only be accessed from one news organization, Cowboy State Daily. The podcast is available every weekday morning in the Cowboy State Daily newsletter and on Cowboy State Daily’s YouTube channel.

Jimmy Orr, editor of Cowboy State Daily, said the signing was significant because of how much Day signifies and represents Wyoming.

“There are only two voices in Wyoming which are known by literally everyone.  That’s Don Day and Wyoming Cowboys announcer Dave Walsh,” Orr said.

“For decades Day has provided the most interesting, in-depth, and fascinating weather reports,” he said, “He goes so far beyond typical weather forecasters as he takes the time to explain weather phenomena and why things happen in the weather world.”

“No one is better than Don Day,” he said. “Everybody knows that and we are thrilled to keep Day home here at Cowboy State Daily.”

Day said he was pleased to continue to working with Cowboy State Daily on an exclusive basis.

“DayWeather is excited about this partnership with Cowboy State Daily,” Day said. “I have been impressed with the rapid growth of Cowboy State Daily and their laser focus on all things Wyoming.”

“Cowboy State Daily is a great vehicle to communicate important and timely weather information to Wyoming residents who have to constantly navigate the whims of Wyoming weather,” he said.

Besides providing meteorological reports to Wyoming and the surrounding areas, Day is also a meteorological advisor to many clients including famed illusionist and endurance artist David Blaine, Red Bull Stratos Sky Diver Felix Baumgartner, the aerospace industry and others.

The DayWeather podcast can be watched every weekday morning in the Cowboy State Daily newsletter and Cowboy State Daily’s YouTube channel.

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Wyoming Businessman, Philanthropist Buys Cowboy State Daily

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By Jimmy Orr, editor

A Wyoming businessman and philanthropist has purchased the assets of Cowboy State Daily, a Wyoming-based digital news operation based in Cheyenne.

B. Wayne Hughes, Jr., founder of the Hughes Charitable Foundation, purchased the digital news site effective Feb. 1, 2022.

Hughes said he purchased the news organization because of its reputation for presenting the news fairly and “straight down the middle.”

“In a sea of misinformation and disinformation, Cowboy State Daily is a bright, shining beacon of truth — not to mention optimism and fair-mindedness,” Hughes said. “In a time where information is dispersed so quickly, there’s not a lot of time — in many cases — to check to see if that information is accurate, but Cowboy State Daily takes that time.

“Cowboy State Daily represents a state and its unique culture that is still in touch with who it is, and that is very attractive to me,” he continued.

The news organization, which was founded in January, 2019, is staffed by a number of longtime Wyoming journalists including Jimmy Orr, Jim Angell, Leo Wolfson, Ellen Fike, Matt Idler, and Don Day in Cheyenne, Clair McFarland in Riverton, Bill Sniffin in Lander, Jen Kocher in Gillette, and Wendy Corr in Cody. Coy Knobel and Ike Fredregill also work as remote correspondents.

Wyoming columnists include: Dave Walsh, Rod Miller, Cat Urbigkit, Dave Simpson, and Aaron Turpen.

Hughes said Cowboy State Daily will continue to be based in Cheyenne and added he was looking forward to bolstering the operation with new staff.

He said the first hires will be a full-time political reporter and a full time reporter covering the energy industry.

“We will announce additional hires down the road,” he said. “Know this, I am committed to investing the resources it takes to build Wyoming’s most trusted and robust news organization.  Our state deserves it.”

Hughes is a full time resident of Wyoming where he resides in Jackson. Besides the Hughes Charitable Foundation, Hughes owns a number of businesses in Wyoming including the Esponda cattle ranch near Buffalo.

Cowboy State Daily was founded in 2019 by Annaliese Wiederspahn and Jimmy Orr.

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Merry Christmas & Happy New Year’s From Cowboy State Daily

in Cowboy State Daily

We will not be publishing during the last week of December so the Cowboy State Daily team can spend time with their families.

We appreciate your support and we’ll see you on January 3.

Bill Sniffin: We Can’t Do It Without You – Please Donate On WyoGives Today

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By Bill Sniffin, publisher

Across the Cowboy State, folks are making donations on Wednesday, July 14, which is known as WYOGIVES to non-profits.

Cowboy State Daily is a 501 c 3 non-profit and we rely on donations from our friends to keep publishing.

If you have not donated before, this is a great time to do so. Just click on the “donate” button  on our web site or on the newsletter and you can pay by credit card. 

Feel free to send a check to:

         Cowboy State Daily

         Box 900

         Lander, WY 82520

Now that is the kind of support we are getting from people all across the state.

During a recent donor drive, we have also heard so many wonderful comments from our readers, much like Walter Olson. Retired Army officer Olson walked up to me at a Rotary meeting, handed me a $100 bill and said: “That’s for Cowboy State Daily. Keep up the good work!”

Shauna Roberts of Cody sent a beautiful card with the inscription: “Thank you for the Wyoming News – just the facts – no spin!”

Marianne Bidart says: “Thank you for all the bear stories I am looking forward to hearing more about 399 and her four cubs.  How about a feature on Wyoming Ranch dogs at work or being silly?  This all makes me smile and have a laugh – we all need it. Many thanks to all at the Cowboy State Daily.”

Up in Buffalo, Brenda Bayliss writes: “Thanks for the news and keeping me in the loop!”

And finally, Linda Sue Golding of Dayton writes: “Keep up the good work!”

We hope folks will respond to this special day of giving. It will raise money, which helps us bring you the news every day in two big ways:  First, we send you this daily newsletter which we like to call Wyoming’s Morning News and second, with our big web page, which is updated all day long with statewide stories.

Because we have so many subscribers — lots of you folks do not realize you can go to www.cowboystatedaily.com at any time and see the news updated all day long. You can even scroll down the site and catch up on the news for the past week.

Most of our donors donate by clicking on the “donate” button and paying by credit card. Unfortunately, this does not allow for comments.  Thus, if you want to comment, please email them to news@cowboystatedaily.com or send comments to bsniffin@wyoming.com. We appreciate hearing from you.

During tough times like we saw in 2020, it helps to have someone to turn to. In the past year, Wyomingites turned to Cowboy State Daily in record numbers. We anticipated your questions and we provided the answers.

Thanks for helping us continue our mission of keeping Wyomingites informed. In a year when information literally saved lives, we came through, thanks in no small part to your loyalty, which means so much. 

Cowboy State Daily is owned by YOU.  We are a 501 C 3 non-profit corporation. With ownership comes responsibility.  We are reaching out to our 16,000-plus subscribers and asking you to make a tax-deductible donation to help us do our job.

“Don’t just watch us grow – join us” has certainly come true this past year as our subscriber list has surged.

Cowboy State Daily continues to grow.  We have been adding 1,000 new subscribers per month for the past year. That pace is actually increasing this year.

Whether you chip in with a donation or with your continued attention, we’re so grateful for your support.

Again, please click on the donate button to donate by credit card or send your check to: Cowboy State Daily, Box 900, Lander, WY 82520. Thanks!

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Special Riverton Event For Cowboy State Daily Subscribers

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Subscribers, donors, readers, and friends of Cowboy State Daily are invited to its first “News and Brews” event this year. 

This opportunity to meet Cowboy State Daily Publisher Bill Sniffin as he discusses the news outlet’s mission and discusses plans for future growth will be held at The Rusty Truck Restaurant at 4 p.m. Thursday, June 17. 

“We welcome all our friends to come visit and enjoy some refreshments and snacks,” Sniffin said. “We plan to talk about news coverage in Wyoming and the top stories we are dealing with.  We welcome in-person input from our friends on what kind of job we are doing and if there are ways to improve our media product.” 

Cowboy State Daily is Wyoming’s fastest growing daily digital media organization. 

There will be a cash bar at the event, which is scheduled to go until about 5:30 p.m., Sniffin said. 

Sniffin said anyone in Wyoming who would like to help host one of these events should email him at bsniffin@wyoming.com.

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Giving Tuesday: A Wonderful Time To Donate To Cowboy State Daily

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By Bill Sniffin, publisher

 Tuesday is known as “Giving Tuesday” and we would like to invite you to consider Cowboy State Daily for your giving.

If you are reading this right now, this means you are a subscriber to our free service.  But it takes money to provide this service and Giving Tuesday makes a lot of sense as a time to donate.

Cowboy State Daily has become very popular.  There are now 10,056 subscribers and we consider all of you to be the owners of Cowboy State Daily.

That’s because we are a 501 (c) (3) non-profit charity.  We have no owners in the traditional sense of business.  But there really are owners – Cowboy State Daily is owned by the people who use our service – YOU.

To keep this news service going, we need your financial support.
Since being asked to be publisher 11 months ago, it never occurred to me how important it is to stress who owns Cowboy State Daily.

With ownership comes responsibility.

That is why we are publishing this message looking toward Giving Tuesday. If you like reading Cowboy State Daily and want it to prosper and expand, please consider making a tax-deductible donation this year.  

As publisher, it is my job to raise money and keep the site going. Little did we know when taking this job that the twin negative dynamos of COVID-19 and a faltering Wyoming economy would smack us in the nose.

And yet, we keep growing. Our readers love what we are doing.  Not only are we growing on our website and on our Facebook page, but we are now averaging over 1,000 new email subscribers each month.

And with the help of forward-thinking advertisers like Black Hills Energy, Carbon County Tourism, SageWest Medical, and others, we have generated a small amount of advertising. We are always looking for more and ask that if you know anyone needing statewide advertising to contact us.

Grants from the Humanities Council and the Wyoming Business Council have also made it possible to keep publishing.

Now we are at the end of the year and since all donations to Cowboy State Daily are tax-deductible, we are optimistic that our readership and our other supporters will step up and help fund us for the upcoming year.  

If you decide to include us in the organizations that you support, our goal is to make you happier that you donated to us than any of your other choices.

We welcome your ideas on specific sponsorship of stories or features. Just let us know. We welcome your input.  Please tell us what you think of Cowboy State Daily.

Please consider clicking on the “donate” section on this newsletter or our web site to make a credit card donation.  Send your checks to Cowboy State Daily, Box 900, Lander, Wy 82520.  Thanks!

If you have already donated – thanks!  Please send this message to your friends who you think would be interested in supporting Cowboy State Daily.

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Cowboy State Daily Launches Memorial Day Funding Campaign

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By Bill Sniffin, publisher of Cowboy State Daily

Cowboy State Daily is Wyoming’s fastest growing digital daily news service.  As we celebrate this fact it is now time to reach out to our friends who share our enthusiasm for high quality news coverage of events here in Wyoming.  

This is a short fund drive, starting today and ending next Tuesday. During that time, we would ask you to please consider mailing a check to Cowboy State Daily, which will help us do our job. 

If you are reading this, it means we believe you are the kind of person who appreciates the importance of having an independent, high-quality Wyoming news source.

And that you are also willing to reach in your pocket to help financially support our effort.  We are reaching out to a group of folks who realize how important it is to have a Wyoming-owned and Wyoming-based news service that reports the news in a fair manner. 

We are fast-growing.  Our subscribers are up 45 percent in just three months.  Our readership through the daily newsletter, the web page, and our Facebook posts are through the roof. One story last week had 100,000 views.

So far, the Cowboy State Daily staff has generated more than 1,000 Wyoming-based news stories and 100 video presentations.  Each month, more than 100,000 people are exposed to CSD stories. Don’t just watch us grow – join us!

The staff of the Cowboy State Daily includes Publisher Bill Sniffin, Editor Jim Angell and staff writers Ellen Fike and Ike Fredregill. Contributors include Dave Simpson, Cat Urbigkit, Tim Monroe, Dave Bonner, Jim Hicks, and many others. We also feature weather by Don Day and sports features by Cody Tucker. 

Never has Wyoming needed a hard-working digital statewide media service like ours more than today.  Please join our team in helping to make our fund drive a success. Thanks!

Obviously, any donation will be appreciated. We want to thank you in advance for considering Cowboy State Daily as a service that you can support. Feel free to pass this appeal along to your like-minded friends. 

The Cowboy State Daily is a 501( C ) ( 3) corporation so any donation is tax deductible. 

Checks can be sent to: Cowboy State Daily, Box 900, Lander, WY 82520 or credit cards can be handled by contacting Bill Sniffin at bsniffin@wyoming.com or calling (307) 349 2211. 

Bill Would Prohibit ‘Gun Buyback’ Programs in Wyoming

in News/politics

By Bob Geha, Cowboy State Daily

A measure that would prohibit governmental entities from running “gun buyback” programs has been filed for consideration by the Legislature during its upcoming session.

House Bill 28 would prohibit any Wyoming government body, including the University of Wyoming, from buying firearms from citizens.

The programs have been used in some large cities around the country in an effort to reduce the number of firearms on the street, however, no such program has been staged in Wyoming.

Bill sponsor Rep. Tyler Lindholm, R-Sundance, said he wants to make sure it is difficult in the future to launch a “buyback” in Wyoming.

“It’s not really a concern right now,” he said. “But if it is ever a concern, where organizations such as governments, whether local or state, are starting to do this … I want to make it as painful as possible for them to be able to peel back our … legislation.”

The measure has supporters among firearms retailers such as Ryan Allen of Cheyenne’s Frontier Arms.

Allen said in such programs, governments often end up paying far more for firearms than they are worth.

“The broken firearms, the inert, the $20 to $35 firearms … they’re paying four to five times what they’re worth,” he said.

Lindholm agreed.

“There will be some people who take advantage of the incompetency of government and bring in grandpa’s old over-and-under (shotgun) that’s been broken for the last 30 years and get $500 for it,” he said.

Both agreed that the more important issue is that of preserving Second Amendment rights.

“In regards to gun violence, the answer’s pretty clear at that point, you should let people defend themselves, let them practice their own God-given right,” Lindholm said.

“Firearms and gun ownership is part of our culture here in Wyoming,” Allen said. “So hopefully that doesn’t change.”

The Legislature’s budget session begins Feb. 10. Because Lindholm’s bill is not related to the budget, it would have to win support from two-thirds of the House to even be considered.

Bill Sniffin Named Publisher of Cowboy State Daily

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Long-time Wyoming journalist Bill Sniffin was named publisher of Cowboy State Daily at a board meeting on January 6.  He succeeds the site’s founder, Annaliese Wiederspahn.

Sniffin, in his 50th year as a journalist and publisher in Wyoming, joined Cowboy State Daily in mid-2019. He and his wife Nancy live in Lander and owned newspapers there for 30 years.  

Over the course of his career, Sniffin was involved in the ownership of more than 20 

newspapers, magazines, print shops, ad agencies, internet companies, and book companies.

In recent years, he is best-known for publishing the most successful coffee table book trilogy in Wyoming’s history with more than 34,000 books sold. His weekly column is also published in more than 20 Wyoming newspapers and digital sites in the state.

“I welcome this challenge,” Sniffin said. “Annaliese has done an outstanding job of turning her dream into a reality. Cowboy State Daily has done a fantastic job up to now in covering stories around the state.” 

“Above all, the Cowboy State Daily is pro-Wyoming. Our stories will continue to reflect that,” he said.

Wiederspahn launched the statewide digital news site in the fall of 2018 and launched in January with full video coverage of the 2019 legislative session. 

Startup funding for Cowboy State Daily was provided by philanthropist and former gubernatorial candidate Foster Friess.  Friess felt Wyoming needed a “pro-Wyoming” statewide news source and joined up with Wiederspahn to launch the site. Friess has not played an active day-to-day role in the operation.

The news site has produced over 700 original news stories and more than 250 video news stories since inception. The publication reaches more than 100,000 Wyoming people each month.

As a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, the Cowboy State Daily is donor supported and Wyoming funded.

Looking ahead, Sniffin said he was focusing his efforts on advertising and acquiring sponsors.

“Foster Friess has been like a Johnny Appleseed in helping to get worthy projects like this one up and running,” he said. “But going forward, it will be up to us to generate our own income to keep the site viable.”

Cowboy State Daily will again be covering the legislative session, which begins in February.  Sniffin also says he plans to add an editorial section to the site and will be seeking additional columnists and guest editorials.

“There is a place for a comprehensive statewide digital news site like Cowboy State Daily in the lives of Wyoming people,” Sniffin says. “We just have to make sure we are providing readers and viewers with the type of news they want to see in fulfilling the needs of their daily lives.”

Arizona Bowl was Wyoming Triumph, but also for Tuscon Local Charities

in sports/Dave Bonner/Column

By Dave Bonner, Powell Tribune

So it isn’t an ESPN bowl game.

That didn’t matter to fans of the University Wyoming and Georgia State University football teams who squared off Dec. 31 in the Arizona Bowl at Tucson.  And it sure isn’t a big deal to the folks who own, promote and produce the Arizona Bowl.

In fact, it’s by design. You can add a couple of exclamation points to that statement.

Of the 40 bowl games played this year, only two were not televised and controlled by ESPN/ABC, Fox Sports and CBS.

The Tucson Bowl was one of them. It was televised nationally by CBS Sports Network, a step down from the big names in sports broadcasting (61 million households vs. 86 million households for ESPN).  

The key is the matter of control.  To Tucson attorney Ali Farhang, the brains and the face behind the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl, it’s everything.  He is the principal founder of the Arizona Bowl and the chairman of the board of the group which owns the bowl, now in its fifth year. 

He and his founding partners are insistent that the Arizona Bowl is a community-driven event. That’s one way of saying that bowl decisions will serve Tucson’s interest, not national TV programming.

That starts with game day scheduling and start time. An afternoon kickoff for the Arizona Bowl on New Year’s Eve is non-negotiable.

Tucson weather delivered for the Arizona Bowl last week. Fans basked under bright sun and a temperature of 62 degrees for the 2:30 p.m. game. 

Tim Medcoff, a law partner with Farhang who is also intimately involved in the Arizona Bowl, said the vision for the bowl grew out of a desire to remove “kind a black cloud over Tucson from days gone by.” He referred to the fact that Tucson in recent years had lost the Copper Bowl, MLB spring training,  PGA and LPGA tour events.

The road back, in the collective mind of Farhang and colleagues, was to look inward.

“Ali’s all about promoting everything that’s great about Tucson,” Medcoff said. “That includes the sunny weather of southern Arizona, the Air Force and military presence, the hospitality of the area and the great non-profits — the people who care about making others’ lives better.”

The economic impact in the area from a successful bowl game is, of course, a big deal. But giving  back to the community is not simply lip service either. The NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl is one of a kind in donating all bowl proceeds to non-profits in the community.

“We do everything we can to make things better for Tucson,” Medcoff said. “We want to give back.”

And for the record, the Tucson Bowl is happy to have the CBS Sports Network as a partner.

“They told us they support everything we’re doing,” Medcoff said.

Final numbers have not been tabulated, but game producers expect that up to $400,000 in cash will be generated for non-profits of the community.  That’s net proceeds from ticket sales and concessions.

Wyoming did its part. The Cowboys scored a 38-17 win over Georgia State of the Sun Belt Conference on the field, but that’s not all. Some 10,000 Brown and Gold clad fans helped propel Tucson Bowl beer sales to a new record.

Kym Adair, who pulls most of the levers in making bowl operations go, said she was excited by the strong showing of Wyoming fans that pushed bowl game attendance to 36,892.

She should be.

Sales of cold ones broke the previous bowl game record by $100,000. If you’re counting, that record $100,000 translates into 14,285 more of the 16-ounce drafts sold at $7 each than in any previous year.  

A new official Arizona Bowl Brew was introduced at the game, a product of the local Barrio Brewing Co. Wyoming fans gave it a big thumbs up.

Wyo Tech School Founder Eric Trowbridge to Speak at National Tech Summit

in News/Technology

Eric Trowbridge, the founder of a Cheyenne technology school aimed at introducing students to computer programming, plans to tell attendees at a national technology conference that technology can work in rural America.

Trowbridge, founder and CEO of the Array Technology and Design School, will be one of the speakers at the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit in Salt Lake City at the end of January.

The Cheyenne high school graduate said he plans to tell the more than 20,000 people expected to attend that the technology industry can find a home in rural states like Wyoming.

“The message is that technology can work in rural America,” he told Cowboy State Daily. “It’s a very different animal from doing technology in big cities. The challenge we have in running technology in rural American is … for technology to thrive, you have to have really smart people, you have to have people who understand computer science and programming and graphic design and that’s kind of hard to come by in states like Wyoming.”

But with schools like Array, residents can be trained in the skills needed to sustain a successful technology sector, Trowbridge said.

The state can help with such efforts by making sure it creates a welcoming atmosphere for people who may want to pursue a technology-based career, he said.

“The number one mission should be to try to create the most fertile soil possible so when these seeds get planted, they grow into companies, entrepreneurship,” he said. 

“The things we’re working on now (are) the cultural piece. Having young adults who are in this space, people who want to transition into technology, being able to go see shows and go to restaurants and have that experience,” he said.

The state has made major advances toward welcoming the technology field in recent years, Trowbridge said, through steps such as mandating computer science education for all public school students.

Trowbridge said Wyoming has a history of being the first state in the nation to take bold steps, such as giving women the right to vote, electing a woman as governor and having the first national park and monument.

“It’s not about changing Wyoming, it’s about tapping into our roots,” he said. “It’s in our nature to be pioneers and drivers and cowboys and cowgirls.”

Trowbridge credited much of the state’s progress go former Gov. Matt Mead, who he said recognized the need to make technology the “fourth leg” of the state’s economic base, joining energy, agriculture and tourism.

The resulting boost helped move the state from its reliance on historic industries, he said.

“I think we got too comfortable, we didn’t innovate,” he said. “We just thought things were going to be the way that they were.”

The opportunities for economic diversification offered by the technology industry will help the state overcome the problems it has faced because of its reliance on the energy industry, Trowbridge said.

“At the end of the day, as scary as it is, we have to get off of it because a lot of people get hurt when we go into that bust cycle,” he said. “People lose their jobs and they leave Wyoming.”

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