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Saratoga

Saratoga Ice Fishing Derby, Started By C.J. Box, Canceled Because All Fish To Be Killed This Fall

in News/wildlife
20915

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The Saratoga Ice Fishing Derby, a tradition for almost 40 years, has been canceled for 2023 because of the presence of non-native perch in Saratoga Lake.

The event, which at one time drew national headlines for naming international celebrities as the “king” or “queen” of the event, was canceled in what would have been its 40th year because of the presence of yellow perch, a non-native species which could wreak havoc on the aquatic ecosystem.

The event is planned to return in 2024.

The fish kill is planned for sometime in the fall, which means there will be no fish even available in time for next year’s derby, according to the state Game and Fish Department.

“Last summer, we discovered [yellow] perch in the lake during routine university sampling,” Alan Osterland, Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s fisheries chief, told Cowboy State Daily on Monday. “We manage that as a trout fishery, so having perch so high up in the system could be a problem for many reasons.”

The department will treat the lake with rotenone, an insecticide, this fall. Osterland said the plan is to restock the lake with trout next summer.

The fishing derby was started in the 1980s by C.J. Box, who has since become a household name for his series of Joe Pickett and Cassie Dewell novels.

“The chamber of commerce didn’t have any money, so … C.J. started the fishing derby,” former legislator and fourth-generation Wyomingite Teense Willford told Cowboy State Daily on Monday.

Box did not respond to Cowboy State Daily’s request for comment on Monday.

Willford said that back in the early days of the derby, the organizers would do silly things such as give out prizes for the best “hard luck” story or send out official invites to famous people, such as Prince Charles and Princess Diana or U.S. Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, to serve as the “king” or “queen” of the derby.

While none of the invited celebrities ever attended the derby, Willford believes if they had, the Saratoga community would have shown them a good time.

Osterland said the department is still investigating who was involved in stocking the lake with the illegal yellow perch, but he believes it is someone who enjoyed fishing for perch and wanted to do it locally.

“Stocking” could be a strong word, however, as Osterland said the person could have brought in as few as two yellow perch and the fish mate quickly and at a young age.

He said that if Wyoming Game and Fish Department staff believed yellow perch would be a viable species in the lake, the fish would already be there.

“We’re having to do all this work to try and protect aquatic resources all the way through that system all because of one person’s selfish act to try and create a fishery they want and not thinking of the ramifications,” Osterland said.

This is not the first time the department has had to treat Saratoga Lake for illegally stocked fish, but Osterland said it has been many years since this last occurred.

Once the perch were discovered in the lake, Osterland said the department immediately began getting in touch with local stakeholders about what the fish meant for the next 18 months at the lake.

Saratoga/Platte Valley Chamber of Commerce director Amanda Knotwell did not return Cowboy State Daily’s request for comment on Monday.

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Carbon County GOP Chair Joey Correnti Pleads Guilty In Reckless Endangerment Case

in News/Crime
20025

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The chairman of the Carbon County Republican Party has pleaded guilty to a charge of reckless endangering after a judge denied his request to dismiss the charge, a Carbon County circuit court official told Cowboy State Daily on Monday.

Joey Correnti IV on Friday changed his plea after Circuit Judge Sustan Stipe denied his request to dismiss the charge stemming from an incident in October.

Stipe denied Correnti’s request because she said he had not proven that any person in the trajectory of the bullet he fired in October acted in such a way that would require him to employ deadly force against them.

Correnti represented himself in the case and initially argued that Wyoming’s “Stand Your Ground” law, allowing the use of force in self-defense, applied in this case.

Correnti did not immediately respond to Cowboy State Daily’s request for comment on Monday.

Correnti is accused of pointing a 9-mm pistol at Nicholas Chadwick in October during an altercation in Saratoga and later firing a shot into the air. He was charged with reckless endangering, a misdemeanor.

The prosecution has argued that Correnti used excessive force in the encounter with Chadwick, while Correnti said he pointed his handgun at Chadwick only after Chadwick hit him in the head.

According to a police report from the incident, Correnti was helping a woman move into a home when Chadwick, the woman’s husband, arrived and confronted the woman, alleging she was in a relationship with Correnti.

The report said Chadwick tried three times to grab the woman’s phone, grabbing her wrist at one point.

Correnti inserted himself between the woman and Chadwick, the report said, and the two argued briefly before Chadwick hit Correnti near the right temple.

Correnti then brandished a pistol, the report said, pointing it at Chadwick and telling Chadwick not to hit him again or he would “put (Chadwick) down.”

After Correnti fired a shot into the air, Chadwick left the scene, the report said.

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Former Saratoga Cop Pleads Guilty After Threatening Officers Who Tried To Take Dog

in News/Crime
19836

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A former Saratoga police officer accused of threatening Carbon County Sheriff’s officers who tried to take his dog pleaded guilty to a charge of interfering with a peace officer last week.

Documents filed in Carbon County Circuit Court showed that three other charges against Justin Brown filed in connection with a New Year’s Eve incident were dropped.

Justin Brown pleaded guilty on May 10 to one count of interfering with a peace officer, a misdemeanor charge. He will have to pay a $420 fine and received a suspended 180-day jail sentence.

Three other charges, one of influencing, intimidating or impeding jurors, witnesses and officers and two of allowing a large dog to attack a person, were dropped by the Carbon County District Attorney.

Brown was arrested and charged in February in connection with an incident that occurred on New Year’s Eve, when sheriff’s officers tried to seize one of Brown’s dogs, Shaw, that Brown said he was training as a K9 officer.

Shaw was accused last year of biting individuals including Brown’s wife and young daughter.

When police attempted to seize the dog, Brown said that would not be happening and claimed the dog had been taken to Colorado.

Brown then threatened all of the law enforcement personnel on scene, telling them that if they attempted to take his dog, he would “break [their] necks.” He also claimed no one in Carbon County could “take” him.

Police left Brown’s residence following the threat of violence.

Brown was fired in early March from his position at a Saratoga police officer, one of three full-time people in the department.

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Saratoga Cop Fired After Threatening Cops Who Attempted To Take His Dog

in News
17541

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A Saratoga police officer was fired this week after being arrested and charged with threatening violence against other law enforcement officers who were attempting to take one of his dogs into custody.

Saratoga Town Clerk Marie Christen confirmed to Cowboy State Daily Thursday that police Lt. Justin Brown was fired following a special town council meeting on Tuesday night.

Brown was arrested and charged in February with influencing, intimidating or impeding jurors, witnesses and officers — a felony charge that comes with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $5,000 fine — interference with a peace officer, a misdemeanor charge, and two counts of allowing a large dog to attack a person, also a misdemeanor charge.

Brown was one of three full-time officers at the Saratoga Police Department.

The arrest and charges stemmed from an incident that occurred on New Year’s Eve, when law enforcement attempted to seize one of Brown’s dogs, Shaw, that he said he was training as a K9.

Shaw was accused last year of biting individuals including Brown’s wife and young daughter.

When police attempted to seize the dog, Brown said that would not be happening and claimed the dog had been taken to Colorado.

Brown then threatened all of the law enforcement personnel on scene, telling them that if they attempted to take his dog, he would “break [their] necks.” He also claimed no one in Carbon County could “take” him.

Police left Brown’s residence following the threat of violence.

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Saratoga: Frozen Fore A Hole-In-One

in News/Good news
9015

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By Joshua Wood

The inaugural Carbon County Classic Frozen Fore appeared to be, by all counts, a success for the Saratoga Historical and Cultural Association (Saratoga Museum) on February 13.

Despite the overcast sky and the cool winds, nearly 70 people headed out to Saratoga Lake to venture out on the ice and try their hand at some winter golfing. According to Kimberly Givens, director of the Saratoga Museum, a total of 68 people were in attendance and 17 teams tried their hand at 12 holes.

The participants appeared to have a very “ice” time as they either walked or drove from hole-to-hole. While nobody won the Hole in One Competition, sponsored by the Saratoga Hot Springs Resort, there were some winners at the end of the tournament.

Team Provident Realty took 1st place and won $500 in prize money, which was donated back to the Saratoga Museum. Coming in 2nd place was Team Pepsi-Teton, who won $300 and Team BearTrap took 3rd place with $200 in cash prizes.

With the weekend, apparently, a success the Saratoga Museum is already thinking about next year’s frozen fore. So it’s likely a good idea to work on your swing over the summer months.

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My Wyoming: An Old Story About a Dog, a Lake, Ducks, Beer, Thin Ice, and Dynamite

in Column/Bill Sniffin
2730

By Bill Sniffin

In 2015, a 61-year old Green River man, John M. Henderson, fell through the ice on a frozen Flaming Gorge and drowned.

In 2016, a couple driving a Ford F-350 pickup at night across Boysen Reservoir east of Riverton broke through the ice. They narrowly escaped by kicking out the back window and scrambling out of the water-filled truck. Their pickup went to the bottom of the lake.

We’ve heard other unusual stories about going out on frozen Wyoming lakes.  Most will curl your hair.

There was a report from a Wyoming agency recently that told about how to save yourself or someone else who had fallen through the ice.  Their main lesson was – be super cautious about going out onto the ice to save someone else.  If you fall in, too, then you have two dead people instead of one.

Here is a supposedly true story about an event some years ago here in Wyoming where the ice reportedly gets really, really thick – about as thick as the skulls on these two unfortunate duck hunters. 

The title of this story is: “Too bad about the dog.”  I apologize to whomever originally told me the story and these details borrow liberally from some unknown source (probably on the internet). They swore this occurred in the Cowboy State and I did not check with Snopes to verify it.

This supposedly occurred on Flaming Gorge or Boysen Reservoir or Glendo Reservoir or Seminoe or near Saratoga or some other Wyoming body of water.  Here goes: 

 Back around 2013, a guy buys a brand new Ford Pickup King Ranch Edition for $49,000 and has $790 monthly payments. He and a friend go duck hunting and of course all the lakes are frozen.

They drive to this particular lake armed with beer, with guns, with beer, their dog, with beer, and of course the new vehicle. They drive out onto the frozen lake and get ready.

Now, after a few beers, they decide they will be needing a landing area for the ducks. A place where decoys can float in such a manner to entice over-flying ducks to come land on the water.  And get shot. In order to make a hole large enough to look like something a wandering duck would fly down and land on, it is going to take a little more effort than an ice drill can make.

So, one of these bright fellers disappears into the back of the new King Ranch and emerges with a stick of dynamite armed with a 90-second fuse.

Now these two Rocket Scientists do take into consideration that they need to place the stick of dynamite on the ice at a location far from where they are standing (and the new pickup). They don’t want to risk slipping on the ice when they are running from the burning fuse and possibly go up in smoke with the resulting blast. They decide to light this 90-second fuse and throw the dynamite as far away as possible.

(Remember a couple of paragraphs back when we mentioned the beer, the vehicle, the beer, the guns, the beer, and the dog?)

Yes, the dog: A highly trained Black Lab used for retrieving.  Especially things thrown by its owner. You guessed it, the pooch takes off at a high rate of doggy speed on the ice and snatches up the stick of dynamite in its mouth with the burning 90-second fuse aflame.

The two men yell, scream, wave arms and wonder what to do now?

The dog, cheered on, keeps on returning.  One of the guys grabs the shotgun and shoots at the dog. The shotgun is loaded with #8 duck shot, hardly big enough to stop a Black Lab. The dog stops for a moment, slightly confused, but soldiers on.

Another shot and this time the dog becomes really confused and of course is terrified, thinking these two Nobel Prize winners have gone insane.

The dog takes off to find cover, (with the now really short fuse burning on the stick of dynamite) and ends up underneath the brand new pickup.

BOOM!

The dog and pickup are blown to bits and sink to the bottom of the lake in a very large hole, leaving the two idiots standing there with this “I can’t believe this happened” look on their faces.

 The pickup owner calls his insurance company. He is told that sinking a vehicle in a lake by illegal use of explosives is not covered.

He still had yet to make the first of those $790 a month payments.

Check out additional columns at www.billsniffin.com. He has published six books.  His coffee table book series has sold 34,000 copies. You can find them at www.wyomingwonders.com.

Saratoga Lake Ice Fishing Derby This Weekend

in Travel
2708

Ice, fish and cash prizes will take center stage this weekend as one of Wyoming’s most notable ice fishing derbies — the Saratoga Lake Ice Fishing Derby — marks its 37th year.

From 600 to 800 anglers are expected to visit Saratoga this weekend for the Saratoga Lake Ice Fishing Derby, which will offer participants a number of ways to win prizes on Saturday and Sunday.

The derby began in the mid-1980s as a way to encourage winter tourism, said Stacy Crimmins, chief executive officer for the Saratoga-Platte Valley Chamber of Commerce.

“A lot of things have changed from that original derby,” she said. “It has evolved into something just a little different, but something that is still a lot of fun.”

In its first days, the derby consisted of anglers trying to catch one of three trout that had been tagged and placed in Saratoga Lake. Anyone catching the tagged fish would claim the prize, however, in some years, the fish were not caught during the derby.

Thanks to the support of sponsors, the derby has since expanded its prizes to offer up cash awards for the largest three fish caught during the weekend and a $100 prize for the largest fish caught every hour of the derby.

“We still tag three fish so you can win up to $20,000,” Crimmins said. “You have a really good chance of winning some money. We’ve been told people like our derby because we spread the cash out.”

The derby even offers awards for anglers who catch suckers, a contest designed specifically to reduce the number of suckers in the lake.

“We pay for the largest sucker overall, the most suckers caught on Saturday and the most caught on Sunday,” Crimmins said. “We’re just trying to get them out of the lake. It seems to be working.”

A special derby will also be held for anglers under the age of 14, who can also win cash prizes for their catches.

All told, derby organizers will give away $6,000. Anyone catching one of the three tagged fish can win another $20,000, $10,000 or $5,000.

The derby runs from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. The biggest fish captured during the weekend, determined by adding the length and girth, will be worth $2,000.

“We’ve had some winners brought in during the last couple hours of Sunday,” Crimmins said. “It’s a wide open tournament. You might think you’ve go the winner early Saturday morning and then the winner will be caught Sunday afternoon.”

The anglers catching the second- and third-largest fish will also win prizes.

The entry fee for the derby is $35 for adults and $10 for fishermen under the age of 14.

For more information on the derby, visit Saratoga-Platte Valley Chamber of Commerce or see its Facebook page.

Beer tasting on tap in Saratoga on Saturday

in Travel/Food and Beverage
2180


By Cowboy State Daily

Beer lovers with a taste for Wyoming and Colorado brews will want to head to Saratoga this weekend for the Saratoga Hot Springs Resort’s sixth annual Snowy Mountain Brewery Beerfest.

More than a dozen vendors offering up their beers and spirits will be featured at the beer tasting festival inside the courtyard at the resort on Saturday.

Tiffany Jones, the director of marketing for the Saratoga Hot Springs Resort, said the annual event will draw people from around the region, with some coming from as far away as Casper and Colorado to attend the event.

“We’ve had one couple from Rock Springs come to every one,” she said.

The day will begin at 10 a.m. with a golf tournament, which is open to the public, at the resort’s 9-hole golf course, which crosses the North Platte River several times.

The beerfest will begin at noon. Each attendee will pay $30 for a pint glass, decorated with the event’s logo, which can be used to sample as many beers as the holder wishes.

“Some beerfests only give samples,” Jones said. “We have no restrictions. We give you a pint glass and you can have as many beers as you like.”

The beerfest is named for the Snowy Mountain Brewery, which is located inside the resort’s main building and operates a pub there.

The beerfest will feature live music by Third Rail, a Cheyenne band performing country and classic rock.

This event is open only to those age 21 and over.

For more information, visit the Saratoga Hot Springs Resort’s website.

In the Platte Valley, ice fishing derby a community affair

in Uncategorized/Recreation
735
Video courtesy of Mike McCrimmon.

Ice anglers from several states are on Saratoga Lake this weekend for the annual Saratoga Lake Ice Fishing Derby. The weekend, always the third in January, includes a special Small Fry Derby for children under age 14.

Last weekend Platte Valley kids took to Treasure Island Pond on the Silver Spur Ranch to learn all the basics. And catch fish. Our report is from Cowboy State Daily videographer Mike McCrimmon.

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