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Monster Lake Ranch

West’s influence on Cody grows

in Economic development/News
2634

By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

The influence of rapper Kanye West on the community of Cody continues to grow after his purchase of a ranch in Park County.

West in 2019 bought the Monster Lake Ranch and made his first public appearance in Cody during his “Sunday Service” in August.

Since then, he has purchased the building that used to house Cody Laboratories, a manufacturer of generic prescription pain medication that closed in July, to create prototypes for his “Yeezy” shoe brand.

James Klessens, the chief executive officer for Forward Cody, said the building turned out to be a perfect match for West’s needs.

“He asked if there was available space,” he told Cowboy State Daily. “We showed him the space, magic was made, the deal was cut and they are right now working to set up a prototyping operation here in our community.”

Klessens pointed out that West is the latest celebrity to live in Cody, the first being western showman “Buffalo Bill” Cody, who the town is named for.

“I think it’s interesting that 100 years ago we had a global superstar lived in our community,” he said. “One hundred years later, we have another.”

Like Cody, West’s interests seem to expand beyond entertainment, Klessen said.

“Buffalo Bill was about newspapers and hotels and outfitting,” he said. “Mr. West is not only involved in the entertainment business … but he’s involved in this whole apparel and footwear making company and he has a great interest in sustainable housing and sustainable building practices.”

West’s efforts to develop his interests have not occurred without occasional bumps.

Earlier in the year, his representatives applied for a permit to build a 72,000 square-foot meditation center at his ranch. However, the permitting process was stopped when representatives told the Park County Planning and Zoning Commission that West wanted to add a residential aspect to the project.

“In adding residential, it changes the whole process it needs to be reviewed under and the permitting process,” said Park County Commissioner Dossie Overfield. “So that is when the Planning and Zoning commission denied the request just on the basis that it’s not now what he originally applied for.”

In addition, some questions surround how the development might proceed in the face of a new executive order from Gov. Mark Gordon regarding the protection of sage grouse habitat and mule deer migration corridors.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is working to determine whether the meditation center would disturb sage grouse habitat.

West also recently purchased the Bighorn Mountain Ranch near Greybull, although his representatives have not announced his plans for the property.

Kanye holds ‘Sunday Service’ in Cody

in News/arts and culture
2098

One of Cody’s newest residents introduced himself to the community on Sunday with a “Sunday Service” attended by thousands.

Kanye West, who reportedly purchased the Monster Lake Ranch just south of Cody earlier this month, staged his “Sunday Service” at the Powwow Garden at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.

For the service, West flew 80 gospel singers to Cody, where they sang Christian praise songs and gospel hymns.

West has held his the “Sunday Service” events around the country, but they are generally not open to the public. 

However, the public could attend Sunday’s event. It was announced Friday on social media and people began lining up for the service on Saturday night.

Brian Kekauoha and two of his fellow students from Brigham Young University drove for eight hours from Provo, Utah, for the event, arriving in Cody at 1:30 a.m. Sunday.

Hannah Brooks of Thermopolis did not have to travel as far, but made sure she was up early for the service in any case.

“I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I saw it on the Internet (Saturday) night and I’m like ‘I’m going to bed early so I can get up early and drive to Cody.’”

The size of Sunday’s crowd for the event was estimated at 3,500.

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