Fall 2013/Winter 2014 Winter Activities 41
WYDOT families at Burgess Junction
Shows must go on!
Downhill skiing and ice ďŹ shing
Hitting the snow covered trails
The thrill of the hunt
A Wyoming tradition
Women in nontraditional roles
Women in government
What it means to be a woman in Sheridan County
How we compare
A family gathering
Koltiska Pumpkin Patch
THEN & NOW
Wage equity in Wyoming and Sheridan County
The Brinton Museum
Sheridan ice rink
A new breath of life for the Sheridan Inn
Sheridan County Museum
Wyoming Information Center
D E S T I N AT I O N S H E R I D A N
Bighorn mountain lodges
Resources available for starting and growing a business
Breaking the cycle
Woman of the Year Bios
Wyoming season So much adventure, so little winter
Julie Davidson | photo by Justin Sheely
any of us have a tendency to hole up during the Wyoming winter months, clinging to our Netflix and hot tea, whilst burrowing into our down slippers and fleece blanket. Surely I’m not the only person who often finds herself avoiding the blowing snow and subzero, wind-chilled temperatures here at the base of the Bighorns, am I? Growing up, I was a gym rat, playing volleyball in the fall, basketball in the winter and running track in the spring. I had no use for the blanket of white covering the ground November through April. Icy roads made basketball travel difficult, and running hurdles in the old Big Horn Elementary gym wasn’t the most effective way to train. I detested the cold, the wind, the ice and the seemingly endless months of long, dark hours – outside of playing sports, living here was boring! So lackluster in fact, I couldn’t wait to move to a city where I was certain there would be delightful things to do indoors during the blustery frigid winter. Following my grand escape, I eventually moved back to Sheridan and realized what a foolish girl I had been. Hindsight being 20/20 and all, I frequently wish I could return to the days 3 D E S T I N AT I O N S H E R I D A N
of my teenage winter monotony and discover the myriad glorious activities that were awaiting just outside my back door. While living in Bozeman, Mont., I began to shift lifestyle gears and outdoor recreation became my passion. No sooner had I moved back to Sheridan on Jan. 1, 2004, than a friend whisked me to the Antelope Butte cross-country ski trails where I stumbled upon (literally at first) what would become my staple for winter activity. Thanks to the Black Mountain and Powder Pass Nordic Clubs, we are fortunate to have more than 40 miles of groomed trails available for cross-country skiing. Sibley Lake, Cutler, Pole Creek and Willow Park ski areas are groomed and maintained by the two volunteer organizations throughout the season. Nordic skiing is also delightful on the South Piney Creek trail just outside of Story, Black Mountain Road and at Antelope Butte. For those feeling particularly daring, perhaps my most favorite cross-country ski outing is night skiing on Big Goose Creek after a string of extra cold days. High traffic, groomed trails aren’t for everyone but fret not, backcountry exploration opportunities abound! Backcountry skiing in the Bighorns has yet to become a hobby for the masses, so individuals pursuing the steep slopes and deep powder have to take matters into their own hands when it comes to determining where to ski. I would suggest starting with a hike up Red Grade or jumping in just below Steamboat Rock. For those who are anxious about attaching five- or seven-foot planks to their feet, groomed trail or not, snowshoeing is an excellent alternative. This is the winter sport for anyone because snowshoes can go anywhere there is snow! In addition to taking advantage of all of the groomed trails I’ve touched on, snowshoes offer a great way to get off the trails and explore new terrain that may have been overlooked during summer hiking trips. No winter season is complete without
at least one trip up Highway 14, outside of Dayton, to go sledding at “The Bowl.” Located between Arrowhead and Bear Lodges, this mecca for mountain community activity is a gem for a family day spent in the sun and snow. There are plenty of warm sunny weeks here in our valley throughout the winter, leaving the lowlands devoid of snow. I encourage folks to take advantage of these breaks from the white fluffy stuff and go on a hike. Not only do we have a tremendous city pathway system for walking right in Sheridan; the Sheridan Community Land Trust has afforded us with the 4-mile Soldier Ridge Trail which is accessible from the west end of Fifth Street, yet still gives one the feeling of being completely out of town. In addition to the aforementioned, ice climbing, winter camping, (both being offered this winter at Sheridan College), snow cave building, downhill skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, hockey, snowmobiling, ice fishing, snowman or snow angel making and snowball fights are all wonderful winter pursuits that we have available to us here in or near Sheridan. I must admit, on occasion I still struggle convincing myself to leave the house during the dark chilly months. Without fail, however, every time I pull on my ski boots or strap on my snowshoes and head out for a snowy exploit, I return home at the end of the day feeing rejuvenated, inspired, and invigorated. These days, I can genuinely say I love winter — the cold, the snow and especially the opportunities for adventure. I look forward to sweaters, jeans, boots, tall socks and warm drinks. Ultimately though, the best part may be having a career that allows me to take people out to enjoy the Wyoming winter wonderland with me, even if they have to put down the Netflix and tea. Julie Davidson is the director of Learn Outdoors for the Northern Wyoming Community College District, where she also teaches cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Welcome to SHERIDAN! O
ne hundred thirty-six years ago, General George Crook and his Cavalry Troops, having been fiercely engaged by the Cheyenne Indians, retreated to the banks of Little Goose Creek. General Crook was fishing and hunting on the banks of the creek not far from Sheridan while General George Armstrong Custer was meeting his demise at the Battle of the Little Bighorn to the north. As you enjoy the scenic vistas of the Sheridan Community, on the banks of the Goose Creeks, I'm sure you'll be enthralled — as was General Crook — with the natural beauty of this place we call home. Welcome to Sheridan! We certainly hope during your time here you will have the opportunity to explore and enjoy our lovely community — stroll through our downtown, discover our restaurants and share our history and heritage.
We are very proud of our community and believe that we truly have it all. Our quality of life is unsurpassed and the business climate here is very welcoming to entrepreneurs and businesses. We have no state income tax and the property taxes here are among the lowest in the nation. If you are considering relocating your business, the city of Sheridan stands ready to help — your business is a big deal to us. It is our great pleasure to have you here as our guests. Visit often and stay a while. Sincerely,
Vol. 2, No. 3 Published, October 2013
Dave Kinskey, Mayor
n behalf of the people of Sheridan County, welcome! We’re a community with a historic past and a modern lifestyle, nestled in a beautiful setting.
This year we are celebrating our 125th anniversary as Sheridan County, once part of Carbon and then Johnson counties. Over the past 125 years we’ve developed from an economic base in agriculture, railroads, tourism and mining, to include health care, light manufacturing, education and technology. We continue to embrace each of these important economic segments as our community continues to develop. We’re happy to have you share our lifestyle that includes the arts, the outdoors, rodeo and history. Our beautiful Bighorn Mountains are both spectacular and user friendly. Regardless of the season, there is an activity to be enjoyed in their solitude. Our prairies offer solitude as well as endless vistas of ranching and wildlife. Our cultural life ranges from local and nationally recognized rodeo to local and nationally recognized fine arts and craftsmanship. Enjoy your stay and explore the opportunities.
Sheridan County Commissioners
Destination Sheridan is a lifestyle and tourism magazine dedicated to serving the greater Sheridan area. Its circulation reach is into visitor centers, places of hospitality, motels, local businesses, and other establishments in the greater northern Wyoming area, South Dakota, Montana and Colorado, and home delivery customers of The Sheridan Press. It is also available online: thesheridanpress.com CONTRIBUTORS Phil Ashley Advertising Manager Circulation/Distribution Director Kristen Czaban Managing Editor Nicole Scofield Art Director Janae LaMeres, Sales Lisa Marton, Sales Terry Weitzel, Sales Mark Blumenshine Production Manager Hannah Wiest, Journalist Christina Schmidt, Journalist Tracee Davis, Journalist Justin Sheely, Photojournalist Brad Estes, Sports Editor Stephen Woody, Publisher
From left: Commissioners Steve Maier, Mike Nickel, Tom Ringley, Bob Rolston and Terry Cram.
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All photos in the magazine are Sheridan Press file photos unless otherwise noted. Copyright, Sheridan Newspapers, Inc. ON THE COVER Julie Davidson | by Justin Sheely
The Sheridan Press CONTRIBUTORS Snowshoeing/Cross County Skiing
My favorite outdoor winter activity is… snowshoeing each Christmas Day with my husband and my dog. It started out as a way to spend the holiday together since we’re a few hours from family and has been turned into a family tradition. The best event held in Sheridan between October and April is... the FAB (For. About. By.) Women’s Conference! What a great way to spend a couple of days with your girlfriends and neighbors learning new skills and empowering each other. If I were to pick a female hero, it would be… Margaret Bourke-White. She was an American photographer best known as one of the first female war correspondents. She paved the way for so many women who now follow in her footsteps. Managing editor
My favorite outdoor winter activity is… watching the Packers play football, while indoors. No contest. The best event held in Sheridan between October and April is... the Christmas Stroll is good because most of your friends are back in town for the holidays. If I were to pick a female hero, it would be… my mother. Instead of Googling “female heroes” let’s be genuine about it.
Brad Estes Reporter
My favorite outdoor winter activity is… snowshoeing. I love seeing the Bighorn Mountains in a different way. I love how the snow changes the landscape and makes it feel like a new adventure. The best event held in Sheridan between October and April is... all the giving. Sheridan is such a generous town, and I enjoy seeing that spirit of giving come alive over the holiday season. If I were to pick a female hero, it would be… am I allowed to say my Mom? She has shown me almost daily what it means to live a life with selflessness, laughter, endurance, creativity and love. Otherwise, I’d have to say Joan of Arc, or Beryl Markham, a British-born author, pilot and adventurer.
Hannah Wiest Reporter
Tracee Davis Reporter
My favorite outdoor winter activity is… sledding with my dog, walking around to look at Christmas lights. The best event held in Sheridan between October and April is... the polar bear swim in Lake DeSmet. I've never done it, but I like the fact there are people out there
brave enough to do it. If I were to pick a female hero, it would be… My mom, Eileen Jackson. She is my psychologist and best friend, and she still swoops in to save the day every now and again.
My favorite outdoor winter activity is… walking with my dogs. They enjoy the snow much more than I do. They make our cold evening walks more tolerable with their antics. The best event held in Sheridan between October and April is... the community Thanksgiving dinner. There is something really awesome about a community that throws a free, giant dinner party for the holiday, solicits dozens of volunteers and literally tons of donated food and encourages everyone to attend. If I were to pick a female hero, it would be… Dame Daphne Sheldrick. She runs an elephant orphanage and anti-poaching organization in Kenya. Despite increasing poaching and crushing population growth, she perseveres. She is a brave woman whose passion is inspiring.
Christina Schmidt Reporter
My favorite outdoor winter activity is… snowshoeing in the Bighorns. It is easier than cross country skiing and burns a lot of calories. The best event held in Sheridan between October and April is... the Holiday Dinner every December. Sheridan is a generous community and that is demonstrated best at this annual event. If I were to pick a female hero, it would be… Antoinette Tuff has a humble role at the front desk in an elementary school in Georgia. Last August a gunman entered the school and started shooting randomly. Tuff talked to the gunman and convinced him to surrender to police, preventing a potentially horrific mass shooting. Photojournalist
Stephen Woody Publisher
Stephen Woody has landed “butter side up” in Sheridan, Wyo., since becoming the Press’ publisher in May 2011. His spouse of 35 years, the former Susan Bradley, is a native of Sheridan. He is a second-generation community journalist, editor and publisher with newspapers and other media in Texas, Wyoming, Arizona, North Carolina and Colorado. He has written more than 6,000 columns and editorials in 31 years of community publishing and has been active in local leadership positions that dealt with business development, literacy and health care. He enjoys golf, jazz and southern writers. He relentlessly spoils two children and two grandchildren.
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What it means to be a woman in Sheridan County... Educational attainment/annual income of women ages 21-64 statewide: No High school diploma : 6.2 percent/ $16,230 High school diploma: 28.6 percent/ $18,750 Some college: 41 percent/ $21,334 Bachelorâ€™s degree: 16.1 percent/ $29,555 Advanced degree: 5.9 percent/ $37,003
According to the US Census Bureau Quarterly Workforce Indicators for the second quarter of 2012, women in Wyoming ages 21-64 earned 69% of what men earned. Women 65+ make 62% of what men the same age make. According to the 2010 Federal census,
50% of Sheridan County is female.
statics compiled by Tracee Davis
Women in Sheridan County's workforce averaged annual earnings for full-time work of $24,083. Men in Sheridan County averaged $35,611. That means women in Sheridan County make 68 cents for every dollar earned by men. Source: Wyoming Women's foundation, The Status of Working Women 2011
Statistics from the Wyoming Women's
Jobs in Wyoming that are traditionally male Foundation show 26% of female-headed dominated pay better than average wages compared households live below the poverty to national demographics. Jobs traditionally held by threshold. . females generally pay lower than the national average for similar work. Source: Wyoming Women's Foundation, Status of Wyoming Working Women 2011 9 D E S T I N AT I O N S H E R I D A N
Median female age is 42.8
70.2% of women in Sheridan County aged 40 and older have had a mammogram in the past two years. As a state, Wyoming ranks
in the nation for breast cancer screening. Women most likely to be screened are college graduates aged 60-74 with health insurance, a regular health care provider and an income over $75,000 per year. Source: Wyoming Department of Health Issue Brief, Sept. 2011.
Approximately one-ďŹ fth of women in Wyoming have been the victim of domestic violence. Source: Wyoming Women's Council Women's Issues Survey, 2012
Currently, there are two women on the Sheridan City Council and two women from Sheridan County serving in the Wyoming Legislature.
18% of women self-report they experience problems with substance abuse. 60% of those women name alcohol as the drug of choice.
Child care in Sheridan costs between $650 and $1,000 per month for 40 hours of infant care ďŹ ve days a week.
Issues perceived as a serious problem by women in Wyoming communities: Domestic violence: Substance abuse: 2004: 67.5% 2004: 71.8% 2009: 69.2% 2009: 76.7% 2012: 68% 2012: 74.4% Family issues: 2004: 58.8% 2009: 62.4% 2012: 64.2%
Child care: 2004: 64.1% 2009: 72.1% 2012: 69%
Caring for elderly relatives: 2004: 55.7% 2009: 62.4% 2012: 63%
Employment: 2004: 71% 2009: 65.4% 2012: 64%
There were 13 female candidates from Sheridan County for local and state offices on the ballot during the 2012 general election. Source: Wyoming Women's Foundation
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Wage equity in Wyoming and Sheridan County
By Christina Schmidt
· In 1869, Wyoming was the ﬁrst state to allow women to vote. · In 1870, Wyoming was the ﬁrst state to appoint a female justice of the peace, a female bailiff and an all female jury. · In 1894, Wyoming was the ﬁrst state to elect a woman to statewide office. · In 1920, Wyoming had the ﬁrst town (Jackson) to be governed entirely by women. · In 1925, Wyoming was the ﬁrst state to have a female governor. · In 2011, Wyoming was dead last in the equality of pay between men and women with women earning only 68 cents for every dollar a man made. Despite its history of equality for women on many fronts, Wyoming has consistently ranked at the bottom for salaries paid to women versus men. The national wage gap is 77 percent. The smallest wage gap between men and women is in Washington, D.C., where women earn 90 cents on the dollar compared to men’s wages. Sheridan County ranks sixth in the Wyoming’s county standings. According to the Wyoming Women’s Foundation website, women in Sheridan County make an average of $20,707 while men average $34,160 per year, giving Sheridan County a wage gap of 61 cents. The smallest wage gap between genders is in Laramie County, with a 70-cent gap. The large wage gap in Wyoming has been attributed to several factors, including the high proportion of energy sector jobs that are predominantly filled by men. However, even when men and women have the same occupations, the discrepancy is significant. In an April 2012 report, the National Women’s Law Center noted that in 2010, women working full time, year round in management, business and financial occupations in Wyoming were paid only 68 cents to every dollar a man made in the same occupation and in the sales industry, the figure was just 57 cents to the dollar. Another suggested factor for the wage gap is low wages for tipped workers such as wait staff at bars and restaurants who tend to be predominantly female. The NWLC report pointed out 11 D E S T I N A T I O N S H E R I D A N
that the with the minimum cash wage for tipped employees at just $2.13 per hour, a person working full time, year round would make just $4,260 in annual base pay. Val Burgess, a longtime Sheridan resident and business owner who has taught wage negotiation classes, says there are many things women can do to combat the discrepancy, including negotiating wages rather than accepting what is offered. “It’s not all the men’s fault because women need to step up to the plate,” she said. “It’s up to all of us. It’s not even about being ‘tough’ but knowing you are deserving of what you should have. You are deserving of an equitable salary. You are deserving of a good paying job.” Burgess said the first thing every woman needs to do is thoroughly evaluate her financial needs, documenting the cost of everything from transportation, clothing, insurance, car payments, house payments or rent, child care costs and more. From this information, a woman will know the minimum amount of money she needs to pay her bills, avoid accumulating debt and be self sufficient. Creating this type of budget is necessary for every woman, whether she is single or married. Knowing the amount of money you need to earn can make negotiating a wage a little less intimidating since you have solid figures to back up your reasoning. “We as women don’t look at the big picture,” Burgess said. “We are so used
to saying ‘oh, that sound good.’ But we don’t investigate everything necessary to support us or our families and that is a key component. “Many women feel that because they are married and their husband makes a salary, they are OK with not being paid as much,” Burgess added. “It’s not about ‘my husband makes good money so I don’t need to.’ It’s about you needing to be paid for the job you do.” Burgess said negotiating a fair wage is especially important when taking on a new job. She said if you apply for and are offered a job, you know you are the candidate the company or business wants to hire and you can use that as leverage to ask for the salary you need. “Your starting salary is the basis for everything in the future,” she said. “If you start out low in the beginning, you could be selling yourself short and sometimes it can be up to a million dollars in your lifetime. The higher your starting salary, the higher your bonuses, pay increases and social security benefits.” However, Burgess also noted that a higher salary or bigger bonuses are not the only negotiations that a woman can make with her employer. She said it is important to factor in other perks or benefits as well, such as asking for more vacation days, more flexible hours, the possibility of working four 10-hour days, working a day a week from a home office or other accommodations that may save you money or make balancing work and home life easier.
TIPS: for negotiating a higher wage Do your budget! Know what you need! Know the minimum amount of salary you must earn to be ﬁnancially safe, while negotiating perks such as vacation time, working from home or other beneﬁts. Never be the ﬁrst to name a salary ﬁgure when you are offered a job. Rather, say you will consider any reasonable offer and wait for a response. You can miss out on a higher salary, for example, if you ask for a $35,000 salary when the company has budgeted $40,000.
Don’t bring personal information into the conversation, such as your need to pay off a school loan or how you recently acquired a higher mortgage on a new house. Your employer is concerned with the company’s ﬁnancial situation, not yours. They want to know what you can do for them, not the other way around.
Research the business you are applying to work for. Don’t point out how hard you have worked in the past. Also research similar positions in the area so you know the average Instead, focus on how you plan to improve your work performance wage for that job. This will help prevent you from throwing out a and how you can contribute to the company moving forward. random salary ﬁgure that is not realistic. The website wageproject.salary.com allows you to research wages based on occupation and zip code.
Aim high, but be realistic!
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Resources available for starting and growing a Sheridan business
By Tracee Davis
So, you're a woman in Wyoming and you're looking to make some cash. If you don't have any kind of college degree and don't want your job to entail a hard hat and steel-toed boots, your wages are likely to cap out at about $10 per hour. Also, chances are good you'll find yourself working odd hours and weekends, so finding child care could be difficult. The good news is Wyoming has resources in place to help women start their own businesses. While economic development is meaningful in any context, owning a business for women can mean making a career world work for her, and not the other way around. Executive Director of the Wyoming Women's Business Center Rosemary Bratton said her organization started with the goal of helping women get far and away from economic exploitation. "Our state is driven by the mineral and construction industry," she said, noting those fields are male dominated. Whether women are unable to work in an oil field or coal mine due to physical limitations or familial obligations, or they choose not to out of concerns of sexual harassment or lack of engagement in those fields, the end result is the same: most women in Wyoming earn drastically smaller paychecks than men. Bratton said that problem is magnified in situations where male violence is an issue. In fact, the WWBC started as an offshoot project of the Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault in 1999. "Economic justice and abuse issues happen more often with women who are survivors of domestic violence," she said. "We're doing a good job of getting perpetrators arrested and incarcerated, but what that does is leave women and children in poverty." What can women do if they don't want to work in a coal mine, drive a truck or work on an oil rig? The answer, Bratton said, is anything they want. While Wyoming's economy doesn't 13 D E S T I N A T I O N S H E R I D A N
have a beaten path for women business owners, the frontier is friendly for business development, thanks to a slew of state policies and resources. This year, Wyoming was ranked fifth in the nation by the Pollina Corproate Real Estate's Top 10 Pro-Business State list. The state was compared to others in 32 different areas. Wyoming ranked well due to the fact it has no corporate or income tax and has a bevy of staterun economic development initiatives, like the Wyoming Business Council. The WBC works in partnership with the federal Small Business Association to provide necessary training and financial assistance for women to start their own businesses in the field of their choice. The WBC offers several developmental tools for aspiring entrepreneurs, both male and female, free of charge: • Assistance in development of a business plan • Personalized reports for the intended business from the University of Wyoming Market Research Center • Comprehensive education in necessary business fields, including accounting and business management • Business counseling and networking Assistance specifically available to Wyoming women via the WBC include: • Microloans of between $500 and $50,000 to fund start-ups or expansions • Individual Development Accounts, which provide a dollar-for-dollar match up to $2,000 for funds set aside by a woman interested in vocational training, purchasing a home or starting or expanding a business Bratton said the resources aim to enable women to turn their passions into a living wage by making the leap into self employment. The programs are no
longer viewed solely as escape routes from domestic violence, but rather, they represent an investment to coax women of all backgrounds into independent self sufficiency. Amy Steel, health coach and owner of the Journeys Center of Wellbeing, opened her business approximately one year ago after several years working as a speech therapist. She Amy Steel | photo by Justin Sheely said she took a leap opening her business in Sheridan. "I went through a major life transition, and spent a few years thinking about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I became focused on healing modalities and it seemed to me there was a lack of them in Sheridan," Steel said. After finishing school for her current job, Steel joined together with massage therapist Shantel Rea, dietitian Georgia Boley and Kula Space Yoga Studio owners Michele Fritz and Evelyn Ferrante. The five women operate their respective businesses independently, but under the one roof of the Journeys Center of Wellbeing. Steel, a mother of four, said running her own business is a significant amount of work, but the opportunity to follow her passions has made for better balance in her life. "The challenging part is having to be committed to here, but having that other pull," she said. "To make a business work, you have to be there a lot." However, Steel said her business plan and schedule is designed to work for her. "The balance is always there for me," she said. "I love this thing I'm doing. That makes it worth the extra that I'm
giving." According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor, women comprise 47 percent of the active workforce. However, the National Women's Business Council estimates women-owned firms are only 28.7 percent of all non-farm businesses across the country. Bratton says it's time to get more women in the game. "I never feel like its time wasted to develop a business plan and work with counselors," she said."(The women) really get to know themselves and what their abilities are." Whether women are seeking to become financially self sufficient, set their own schedules, have a final say in how things happen or just avoid having awkward conversations about women's health conditions with a male boss, entrepreneurship can be an incremental option for women. More information on the WWBC can be obtained by calling 307-460-3943.
From right, Evelyn Ferrante gestures with her hand as Amy Steel and Annette Rinaldo follow her movements during the Bar Body session at Kula Space inside Journeys Center of Well Being. | photo by Justin Sheely
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Breaking the cycle Center aids victims of violence
By Tracee Davis
While Wyoming celebrates its nickname of being "The Equality State," the reality exists that women here, like everywhere, are still struggling to establish their place in society. For many women, that fact extends into family life. While women in Sheridan County too often struggle within unhealthy relationships, the community has established a strong resource to help women and other victims of violent crime who are ready to break the cycle of abuse. tor of the center, first came to the nonprofit as a client in 1984. After her own experience leaving an abusive marriage, she eventually worked as a volunteer and employee for the center, and used her experience to empower other women in similar situations. "The interesting thing is it's really important for us to stop separating them and start pulling it back together," Young said.
"Domestic violence and sexual assault is a crime, and we have, for so long treated it like this thing that happens in families or this thing that happens to women who have behaved inappropriately somehow." â€” Bonnie Young Young said initially, the idea to merge services for women affected by family violence and victims of all other violent crime came out of necessity because of the fact Sheridan is a rural community with limited resources. However, the
ARC Director Bonnie Young | photo by Justin Sheely
Sheridan's Advocacy and Resource Center started more than 30 years ago as an informal group of women who joined together to form a support network around women's issues. Over time, necessity dictated that the group focused much of their work on issues surrounding domestic violence and rape. Today, the center is one of five advocacy groups in the state that combines intimate partner violence with advocacy for all victims of violent crime. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in a 2011 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey that more than one out of three women and one out of four men experience intimate partner violence during their lifetimes. Among victims of domestic abuse, one out of three women experience multiple forms of maltreatment, including rape, stalking and physical violence, while more than 90 percent of male victims experienced physical violence and stalking. Bonnie Young, now executive direc-
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result has been the deliberate association between family violence and conventional crime. "Domestic violence and sexual assault is a crime, and we have, for so long treated it like this thing that happens in families or this thing that happens to women who have behaved inappropriately somehow," Young said. "All these old, old ideas still affect women." Young said addressing family violence as a crime is a paradigm shift for many people in Sheridan County, and one of the primary roles of the Advocacy and Resource Center is to help victims navigate an often unfamiliar legal system. "First off, we do crisis intervention for people who've dealt with violent crime," Young said. "We're also the connecting force between county attorney's office, law enforcement, the court system and all the things the victim has to work with." While the center can't guarantee a desirable outcome for all victims, Young said advocates make a big impression on those going through hard situations. Victim advocates act as guides for victims of violence as they navigate the legal system for divorce hearings, custody disputes or prosecution of offenders. Services to women are as diverse and varied as the situations themselves, and advocates at the center provide customized assistance to families. "One of the things we found working with the prosecutor's office is even when a victim doesn't like how the case is going or what the outcome may be to a criminal case, the fact they were listened to, the fact they were involved and informed about all the steps gives them a sense of respect, and they're very much more satisfied with the outcome," Young said. The center provides help in many
forms. Sometimes, it's a few hours respite from a bad environment or lending a nice suit to wear to court. Sometimes, women use the facility as a safe place to begin compiling a stash of money and important documents for their eventual escape. It can even be financial help to start a new life. From January to mid-August this year, the center gave more than $20,600 in emergency assistance to 111 people for housing, food, gas and utilities. The money comes from federal, state, local and private grants. The Advocacy and Resource Center helped 336 women in 2012, of those, 258 were the primary victims of abuse or violence. Young said the work of a victim advocate often entails walking a long road. "We expect and it's a fact that people return to the situation many times before they finally stay out," she said. "What we accomplish more than anything is the sense for these people to feel like somebody cares what kind of conditions they live in," Young said. "They feel that they're safe, that they're respected by the fact they're given information. They're given some choices." Until women gain truly equal footing in society and the American epidemic of violent crime is curtailed, victim advocates serve as a buffer between the injured and sometimes impersonal judicial system. "It's about women becoming more equal, learning their power and taking their power," Young said.
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Burke grew up in Ogden, Utah, with her parents and three siblings. She has lived in Wyoming, Montana and Colorado. She choreographed “Man of La Mancha” and was the first ballet teacher at the Sheridan YMCA when she lived in Sheridan the first time 35 years ago. After a stint away from the community, Burke returned to live in Sheridan in 2005. Elaine Burke She formed the “Newcomer’s Louise Hay “Heal Your Life” teacher Club” to welcome new families to the community and received certification as a Louise Hay “Heal Your Life” teacher. She teaches the classes at Sheridan College and numerous workshops around the country. “She has opened her heart and her home to try to help women, from many walks of life, through ups and downs and everything in between; whether it is confidence to make changes, or providing resources and guidance to continue their path or change direction. Elaine has been there,” Cindy Trumble said in her letter nominating Burke.
Women comprise more than 50 percent of VA Medical Center employees and Rita Cherni-Smith said in her nominating letter for Banks that the center represents a treasure trove of female talent. Banks is a registered nurse who moved to Sheridan more than 30 years ago to work for the VA. She worked her way up from ward nurse, to assistant to the chief of staff and then to chief of the business office. While working full time in the 1990s she earned an Jamie Nell Banks MBA through the University of Chief of the business office, Wyoming. Cherni-Smith stressed Sheridan VA Medical Center the many hats Banks wears on the job. “In the 15 years I have known Jamie, I have observed an individual who is passionate about her work,” Cherni-Smith wrote. “Despite a demanding workload, she consistently comes up with the time to trouble-shoot veterans’ problems, often working late to return their calls. “I can honestly say she never places her own interests ahead of others’, and am unable to think of anyone whose work ethic exceeds hers.”
THE NOMINEES “Caryn Moxey is a leader among women, as a business woman, health coach and contributor to the community and many nonprofits,” Kristin Kelly said in her nomination letter for Moxey. In 2012, Moxey made the leap to build her own gym, now employing several local residents as personal trainers and staff members. As the business became a success, Kelly said, Moxey put the Caryn Moxey profits back into the business Co-owner, by reducing rates for memPURENERGY Fitness bers, providing raises, purchasing new equipment, offering more classes and providing more training for her staff as well as members. The business is an economic stimulator for the Sheridan community, Kelly said. Moxey’s business, Kelly said, is “about being able to go on that hike without being winded, knowing that it’s OK to have some cake once in awhile and to have a healthy mind and a healthy body.”
Foster is the owner and operator of Big Horn Mountain Alpacas, a small alpaca ranch and fiber processing business in Parkman. She has a master’s degree in education and is self-employed as a fiber artist. She is the author of two children’s books “Angora Rabbits, Hippity Hoppity Fiber Pets,” and “Freedom Wind, A Fourth of July Alpaca.” She has been a featured guest with the Wyoming Department of Education WYHI Mariann Foster Wyoming Young Authors event in Owner, Cheyenne. Big Horn Mountain Alpacas Her husband, Jeff, nominated her and said she continues to volunteer with community events such as Dayton Days, Rehabilitation Enterprises of North Eastern Wyoming, the Sheridan Dog and Cat Shelter and the Bighorn Mountain Wild and Scenic Trail Run. She has also served as a member of the Women’s Olympic Development Program and has won community 5k runs on a regular basis.
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Despite once being awarded such prestigious titles as “Asparagus Queen” and “Heifer Queen,” West is not used to the spotlight. West currently works as the development director at the Sheridan Senior Center. Carmen Rideout wrote in her nomination letter that West is kind, giving, humble and encouraging to others. Rideout said West also frequently gives of herself, inspirRindy West ing others to give as well. Development director, “Rindy is an excellent Sheridan Senior Center mother supporting her children in all aspects of 4-H and their involvement in the Sheridan County and Wyoming State Fair,” Rideout said. West has also participated in the Center for a Vital Community’s CiViC project, demonstrating her commitment to Sheridan.
A graduate of the Center for a Vital Community’s CiViC Project, Howell is the “epitome of leadership in everything that she does,” Kris Korfanta said in her nomination letter. Howell was involved with the Green House concept before the movement really began in Sheridan. Korfanta said Howell wrote a business plan to create one of these homes in her residence because she knew there were better ways to care for our elders. Liz Howell Though her plan didn’t come to Founder, fruition, she helped the concept Wyoming Wilderness Association move forward in Sheridan. Howell has also been a longtime advocate for wilderness preservation, helping to found the Wyoming Wilderness Association in 2003. She has served as executive director of the nonprofit and plans to retire in October. Howell has a master’s degree in fine arts and has said, “Art is my vice, and wilderness, my heart.”
THE NOMINEES Riehn was born in Sheridan but moved to Hawaii with her mother, completeing grade school and college, earning a bachelor’s degree in sociology. Despite living in a place many refer to as paradise, Riehn considered Sheridan home and returned to begin her career in education and social services. While working full time, she earned her master’s degree in public administration from Sarah Riehn the University of Wyoming. Director, “One of Sarah’s many conNorthern Wyoming Community tributions to the Sheridan College District Adult Basic community is her work as a Education Program trainer for WAGE, a program that helps women overcome wage discrepancies,” Sandy Uhrmann wrote in her nomination letter for Riehn. “While some other women may have achieved Sarah’s level of professional success and respect within the community, Sarah stands out because she has done so despite disabilities that could be debilitating to those with less strength of character and courage.” Riehn has participated in Leadership Sheridan County, the American Association of University Women, the Sheridan Teen Center steering committee and the Sheridan County Association of Substance Abuse Prevention.
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A 1994 graduate of Natrona County High School, Erin Kilbride (neé Dowler) was a standout student and athlete who played basketball at Casper College and Albertson College before finishing her bachelor’s degree at the University of Wyoming. In 2006, she and her family moved to Dayton. She volunteered her time at the Tongue River Valley COmmunity Center and later became Erin Kilbride the executive director. In that Executive director, position she has helped to exTongue River Valley pand the organization into two Community Center centers. “I have worked as a volunteer for Erin since she started as the director, doing facilities maintenance at both locations,” Dennis Wagner wrote in his nomination letter for Kilbride. “I and almost all who work for and with Erin, are very impressed with her professionalism in dealings with customers and vendors. Being of an “older generation” I am very encouraged by the sense of responsibility and motivation this of this young person.” The letter of recommendation was co-signed by Bob Wood, Sue Belish and Jay McGinnis.
Young and her husband celebrated 20 years of ownership of three Bighorn Mountain lodges earlier this year. The businesses provide ATV rentals, snowmobile rentals, lodging, restaurant and other services to their patrons. “Her vision has guided these lodges to their current success and hopefully will provide her and Rick a long and happy retirement,” Mona White wrote in her letter Roberta Young nominating Young. Co-owner, In addition to being a busiBear Lodge, Elk View Inn and nesswoman, Young cares for Arrowhead Lodge her disabled father who lives at Bear Lodge and serves as an emergency medical technician with the Burgess Junction Search and Rescue team. She also contributes to various charities and provides venues for area fundraisers. “She leads by example with her hard work and long hours and is always smiling and ever the lady,” White wrote.
Since January 2011, Johnson has served as the executive director of the Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce, growing membership in the organization, increasing programs offered and strengthening relationships with other entities in the community. Johnson has worked with the Big Horn Home Builders Association, the Sheridan Holiday Inn, on the Sheridan Economic Development Task Force, the Downtown Sheridan Association, Dixie Johnson the Critical Air Service Task Executive director, Force and the Sheridan Channel Sheridan County Chamber 22 Creative Committee. of Commerce “She is a woman of influence, boundless energy and commitment — about her family, her Chamber vision and responsibilities, her involvement in other community efforts, and golf,” Johnson’s staff wrote about her in their nomination letter. “She is an inspiring and visionary leader.” The Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors also wrote a letter in support of Johnson’s nomination.
THE NOMINEES While she became a Friend of the Library many years ago, Walter has been a friend of many nonprofits and organizations in Sheridan. She worked as a registered nurse for an infant center and became the nurse for the Child Development Center where she worked for 20 years before retiring in 2001. In addition, she served on the Sheridan College Foundation Board for 14 years and was president during the Barbara Walter campaign to raise funds for the Green House Living for Watt Agriculture Building. Sheridan co-chair In 2009, Walter was introduced to the Green House Living for Sheridan project. For three years she served as co-chair of the project’s task force, helping to raise $9 million for building the campus that houses 48 elders in four cottages. “Barbara is a remarkable go-to person,” Sy Thickman and Janet Moffat wrote in their nomination letter for Walter. “If something important needs doing and Barbara accepts the responsibility, you can be assured that however the world turns, Barbara will steer the course to get the job done. Not merely getting it done, but developing friendships and enthusiasm along the way.”
This year’s FAB Women’s Conference “Woman of the Year” award winner will be announced Friday, Oct. 4 at Sheridan College. The FAB Committee would like to congratulate all of the nominees and say thank you to all of the extraordinary women in Sheridan County. To ﬁnd out who won, visit thesheridanpress.com/fab.
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The Capital in Cheyenne. | courtesy photo
WOMEN in government
By Hannah Wiest
Imagine sharing a piece of pie with your husband. You pick up your fork, lick your lips and savor that ﬁrst yummy bite followed by one more. Imagine at this point that your husband grabs the plate and promptly devours the rest of the pie, mumbling something about how he thought it should be shared in the same ratio of men to women in the U.S. House of Representatives. You would get 18 percent of that pie slice, about two of the usual 12 or so bites it takes to eat a slice. Outraged yet? In the current U.S. House of Representatives, there are 78 women and 357 men. The U.S. Senate set a record in 2013 with 20 out of 100 senators being women. The Wyoming Legislature currently has women claiming two of 30 Senate seats (15 percent) and 13 of 60 seats in the House of Representatives (21.6 percent). It ranks 43rd in the nation for proportion of women to men. At the same time, women now represent approximately 47 percent of the labor force, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, and according to the Center for American Women and Politics, women have voted at higher rates than men in every presidential election since 1980. With statistics like that,
many feel it’s time women in American government get a fair piece of the pie. “There are far too few women in Congress, far too few,” U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., said. “It’s deplorable, disgraceful, unacceptable. It’s not good for the country to have that lopsided point of view.” Ask me again Inducting 20 women into the U.S. Senate in January 2013 was remarkable, trainer for Woman’s Leadership Works Katie Groke Ellis said. It was an indication that ground-up efforts to get women into politics – from school boards to city councils to state legislatures – are starting to work. However, Ellis doesn’t think it’s necessarily a trend yet. “It’s said it takes three people at three different
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times to invite a woman to run before she’ll do it,” Ellis said. “Men wake up and say, ‘I think I could be president,’ but women have to be convinced.” That was true for three women in Sheridan County who are currently in office. Dayton Town Councilor Joey Sheeley laughed in Town Clerk Linda Lofgren’s face when Lofgren asked her to consider joining the Council. Sheridan City Councilor Kristin Kelly asked if people were joking when they suggested she enter the race for an open seat. Even state Rep. Rosie Berger, R-Big Horn, asked several other people to run for office before being convinced to make a run for it herself. “Being in politics was not
on my to-do list,” Berger said. That seems to be the case nationwide. “What we find is you have to recruit women,” Lummis said about co-chairing the National Republican Congressional Committee’s Candidate Recruitment Committee. “Women are very unsure of themselves as a group so you have to go out and recruit them. They are far less comfortable just coming forward.” But, once asked, women are interested in government work. Ellis has lead Leap into Leadership conferences around Wyoming to foster leadership skills in women for four years and said they are very successful. “Women in Wyoming seem to be thirsting for this information,” Ellis said, which leads her to believe women around America are thirsty. “We are 50 percent if not more of the population, and we are not 50 percent of government,” Ellis said. “Government is supposed to be representative. There is no way policies will change to be more female friendly and more woman’s rights focused unless women are elected into office.” Won the election. Now what? Winning an election for a seat in politics is a battle for women – financially, culturally and personally. Studies show that women raise less in campaign funds than men, they have to fight media and cultural perceptions of women in leadership and they often have to make sacrifices in home or work life. Once they win, women often face an overwhelming sense of, “Now what?” Studies show that women prefer to know how to do something before they do it, whereas men are more com-
fortable learning as they go. When women end up in government, they struggle with feeling inadequate, and it takes time to build confidence. Additionally, Sheeley, Kelly and Berger all expressed that they felt like people thought they would change who they were after they took office. Each said she has tried not to change, but that the assumptions are there. In a small town like Dayton, Sheeley realized how much her decisions on Council could affect friends and family, citing a Council vote on a conservation subdivision proposed by friends of hers. She said it can take finesse to maintain friendships and vote according to statute. “You have to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to people you know and like,” Sheeley said. Berger and Kelly both said they felt their new position of leadership seemed to make people think they were suddenly different and it has taken work to convince them otherwise. “I think I’ve learned leadership skills, how to better present things or maybe help people understand the process of government or the background of an issue, but I haven’t really changed that much who I am,” Kelly said. “It’s nice when people come up to me and say, ‘Oh, yeah, things are OK.’ That’s good, you know.”
One of the biggest “now whats?” for women often regards the priorities outside of their political life: kids, husband, career, friends and volunteer positions.
be like a man when she enters political office. She can be a woman on the sidelines as a soccer mom and a woman in a Senate seat. She can offer strengths, ideas, values and communication
“You can be a leader, and you can be strong, and you can get things done and still be feminine and have great shoes. I don’t want to look like one of the guys.” — Kristin Kelly Sheridan City Councilor Berger has seen women in the Wyoming Legislature retire because there are too many demands on their time, especially considering the distance covered by legislators to drive to Cheyenne. “When there’s a downturn in the economy, health care costs are rising, the baby boomers are aging, those demands don’t allow women the extra time to do service,” Berger said. Kelly said it takes extra effort, discipline and organization to be on city council. “I have a supportive husband, I make lists, I plan ahead, I get up early and I do a lot of spreadsheets,” Kelly said. But it is doable, Kelly said. If it’s important and it will grow you as a person and help the community, facing the election and the “now what?” is worth it. Cute shoes still allowed A woman does not have to
skills that are specific to women. A woman in government can still wear cute shoes. “You can be a leader, and you can be strong, and you can get things done and still be feminine and have great shoes,” Kelly said. “I don’t want to look like one of the guys.” Many women who end up in government often start in volunteer leadership on local charity boards. Kelly’s father raised her to be philanthropic, she said. She grew up volunteering for soup kitchens in Washington, D.C., clubs in college and the Sheridan Planning Commission. Berger was involved civically with the Chamber of Commerce, the WYO Theater, the Dog and Cat Shelter and the Parks and Cultural Resources Committee among other organizations.
Sheeley volunteered as a veterinarian technician and on the animal shelter board. That inclination toward charity and leadership in a woman can be a powerful tool, Berger said. It demonstrates sensitive, nurturing traits that are almost inherent in being female, traits that can play a critical role in political negotiations. “A woman can bring a calmer presence to a meeting,” Berger said. “Having a woman at the table will diffuse anxieties, and she can be a consensus builder.” Women also bring strong relational skills to politics. They often excel at working behind the scenes, at teamwork and at compromise, Berger said. Women in great shoes also offer to government the perspective of more than half of all its constituents, Ellis said. “The more robust the decision-making table is, the better the outcome of the decision,” Ellis said. Ultimately, though, every woman interviewed said she would rather the fact that she’s a woman in government not be an issue at all. “We are getting closer to an atmosphere of equality in accepting women as leaders,” Berger said. “And that’s my hope, that soon this won’t be about a person being a male or a female but about whether that person is the right person to fill that role in government.”
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Women in NONTRADITIONAL ROLES
By Hannah Wiest
Helen MacCarty drives her ranger up a dirt road to the elk facility at the NX Bar Ranch on Aug. 4, 2013. The NX Bar Ranch is a privately owned ranch with more than 23,000 acres of land North of Sheridan. | photo by Justin Sheely
The last rays of sunlight dance through sagebrush in the arid Wyoming landscape, silhouetting a herd of elk as it walks up a hill on the high plains east of Sheridan. A hundred yards away, perched on an ATV, a rancher peers through binoculars to survey the elk, taking notes on a pad of paper. Less than 50 miles north as the crow ﬂies, a 13-year veteran of Spring Creek Mine near Decker, Mont., climbs into a shovel loader to begin a graveyard shift of loading house-sized trucks full of deep black coal. Down the highway, the owner of a local software programming company wraps up the day’s work on a new smartphone application that will enable ﬁrst responders to efficiently decode placards with information about hazardous materials when they arrive on the scene of an emergency. And in the heart of Sheridan, hours after the sun has dropped, a police officer ﬂips on lights and siren and pulls close behind a large truck speeding and weaving dangerously on Coffeen Avenue. Once stopped, the officer places hand on gun and approaches the vehicle, ready for whatever may happen. It’s just another day on the job for hard-working Sheridan County residents Helen, Paula, Anne and Karla. No, those are not relatives to Johnny Cash’s famous “Sue.” They are women who are doing exactly the jobs — nontraditional as they may be — that they want to be doing. “I’m not unique because I strive to be unique. That’s just the way it played out,” wildlife manager and polo pony breeder Helen MacCarty said. “I’m lucky to make a living in an area of interest.” In fact, even though all four women work in jobs dominated by men, none 27 D E S T I N A T I O N S H E R I D A N
felt remarkable, each expressing surprise at being asked for an interview on their “nontraditional” roles. They said they have thought about being one of just a few women in their jobs but that their gender has rarely, if ever, played a factor in co-worker interactions or job ability. They are just doing what they want to do. However, statistics say they are a rarity. The U.S. Department of Labor defines nontraditional occupations as those in which women comprise 25 per-
cent or less of the total number employed in that occupation. In August 2010, the Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, listed nearly 120 occupations as nontraditional for women. These ranged from bricklayers and stone masons with 0.1 percent female employment to 25 percent employment in the area of sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing. According to those statistics, Helen MacCarty, Paula Hovey, Anne Gunn
FEATURE | Nontraditional Roles and Karla Rogers all work in nontraditional occupations. It is a testament to their love for their work that they consider themselves in no way nontraditional — and perhaps a testament to the changing landscape of women in the workforce.
Helen MacCarty, 78, poses outside the lodge at the NX Bar Ranch in August of 2013. | photo by Justin Sheely
Wildlife Management Farm/ranch/agricultural managers who are female: 18.1 percent -Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010 For nearly 40 years, Helen MacCarty has been involved in wildlife management primarily at the NX Bar Ranch in northeast Sheridan County. She manages habitat and herd surveys; trophy game animal breeding; commercial hunts; and the overall health and vitality of hundreds of elk and a few bison spread over 23,000 acres on the only game farm in Wyoming. MacCarty has worked in some capacity at the NX Bar most her life but took on the role of wildlife and commercial hunting manager full time at the age of 40. Prior to that she was a bit busy raising five children, she said. Throughout her career, MacCarty also worked for breeding programs on ranches around the region and for wildlife research areas and game ranches in Texas. Her specialty has been trophy management, which includes designing wildlife management programs for game farms and herds around the na-
tion. MacCarty’s father, Allen Fordyce, bought the NX Bar in 1948 and ran it as a cattle ranch until 1968. At that time, MacCarty convinced her father to turn the ranch into a game ranch similar to those found in Africa because she had become interested in multi-species grazing and felt that the often nonarable land on Wyoming’s high plains could be better utilized if grazed by both cattle and native species such as elk. MacCarty studied wildlife management at Colorado A&M (now Colorado State University) and has devoted her life to promoting a game ranching philosophy, which she feels can increase the value and productivity of land and ranch ownership. “I don’t know of anybody who has my specific experience as a woman,” MacCarty said. And that’s OK with her. But it hasn’t come without sacrifices. Like time, a social life, stability and any semblance of normality. While other moms were driving children to activities in the family station wagon, MacCarty was roping her kids into helping with elk breeding and myriad other ranch chores at the NX Bar. “There’s a fair amount of personal sacrifice involved. You better dedicate yourself to it because that’s the only way you will get any intellectual or financial remuneration,” MacCarty said. At 78, MacCarty has no intentions of slowing down. In fact, she has even taken on a polo pony breeding business with her grandson. “I’ve never had any trouble working in a man’s world,” MacCarty said. “The field doesn’t lend itself to competition. I’m treated as an equal as long as I contribute at the same level they contribute. Any woman who is willing to give and take in the workforce is going to make it.” Heavy Equipment Operator Mining machine operators who are female: 3 percent -Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010 Driving a shovel loader is kind of like driving a car – except that a car is about half the size of one shovel loader tire. “Big, big trucks,” is about all Paula Hovey could think or say the first time
she saw the massive vehicles that are a part of everyday operations at Spring Creek Coal Mine in Decker, Mont. And yes, she was scared the first time she drove one. But now, going on 13 years with the mine, operating a machine the size of a house is simply what Hovey does day in and day out, and night in and night out, on her 12-hour rotating shifts. “The company is wonderful to its employees. They take care of us,” Hovey said. “We’re family out here. The guys and gals I work with are like brothers and sisters.” Admittedly, there are more brothers than sisters, but Hovey said that’s never been a problem. Her co-workers treat her with respect; her usual crew lovingly calls her, “Queen.” Before Hovey began her career as a heavy equipment operator, she worked as a secretary for Coldwell Banker in Cheyenne. “I was actually scared, you know,” Hovey said. “It was a change, a big change from sitting at a desk answering phones and doing computer work to driving big trucks.” When Hovey started, she was one of 10 women on the Spring Creek team. She is now one of 18 women out of nearly 260 mine employees. Like many women who have entered nontraditional careers, Hovey had a trailblazer before her, one she respected and loved very much: her mother-in-
Paula Hovey | courtesy photo
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Nontraditional Roles | FEATURE law. Joyce Neal worked for Spring Creek Mine for 30 years before retiring in spring 2013. She is the one who convinced Hovey to apply and who served as her role model on how to maneuver in a mostly male-dominated world. “My mother-in-law worked here 30 years,” Hovey said. “I’ll try to make it longer. I will retire here.” Through her years at the mine, Hovey has been promoted from utility helper, to haul truck operator, to blade operator, to dozer operator and most recently to shovel operator. In 2009, she began serving as a fill-in supervisor for her 30-person crew when the normal supervisor was gone. “Paula is a leader not only with her crew, but with our organization,” Media Relations Manager Rick Curtsinger said. Hovey’s advice to any women who think they may want to join a mine crew: “Try it. Go out there and give 100 percent. It’s a wonderful job.” And, for those who were wondering, the mine provides outhouses just for its women, and they’re kept sparkling clean, and it’s really not so bad, Hovey said.
Anne Gunn tests a product from the Sheridan Programmers Guild on her laptop computer in the conference room on East Ridge Road in Sheridan. | photo by Justin Sheely
Software Programmer Computer software engineers who are female: 20.9 percent -Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010 Though technologically and mathe-
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matically based, computer sciences are a good match for female brains that are wired for problem solving and looking at things from multiple angles, software programmer Anne Gunn said. In fact, a 2001 study done by Harvard University found that women typically have a larger frontal lobe, which is responsible for problem solving, and up to 10 times more white matter than men, which offers speedy neurological connections in the brain. (The study noted that neither male nor female brains are “better.” They just work differently while often reaching the same conclusion.) Gunn, who owns Sheridan Programmers Guild, said the lack of women in computer sciences is likely a result of male-centered education and male-centered presentation of what programming is all about. “Computer science education often focuses on the wiz-bang aspect of the technology,” Gunn said. And that typically speaks more to men, as do the standard intro to computer science problems that often use sports team box scores and the like. However, Gunn said, once a woman gets through the education and discovers what programming is really like, they tend to really enjoy it. “At its root, computer science is about solving problems for customers, and women can relate to that,” Gunn said. “Women are interested in what they can make the technology do if it’s something meaningful.” For example, Gunn has developed software for smartphone applications that help emergency responders decode hazardous material (Hazmat) placards to make response efforts more efficient and effective. Gunn has also developed software for nurses, educators, computer-based learning activities and e-book publications. Twenty years ago, Gunn co-founded software company Tally Systems in New England, which was eventually sold to Novell. When she moved to Sheridan, she worked a traditional 40-hour-perweek job as a consultant for 12 years but decided that she’d like to return to the flexibility of owning her own software company, and thus Sheridan Pro-
grammers Guild was born. “Programming is the world’s best mom’s job,” Gunn said. “I don’t understand why that isn’t obvious to more people.” Gunn encourages any woman who likes to learn and communicate and creatively solve problems to look into computer science, ignoring the fact that it may be nontraditional and realizing that it just might be ideal.
Officer Karla Rogers of the Sheridan Police Department. | photo by Justin Sheely
Police Officer Police patrol officers who are female: 13 percent -Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010 “If you’re thinking about switching careers, you have cop written all over you,” her friend told her after a class they took to obtain concealed carry permits. Funny thing is, Karla Rogers took that concealed carry class because she was terrified of guns. “But the idea stuck in my brain,” Rogers said. She was working as a property manager in Greeley, Colo., at the time but soon enrolled in Greeley’s police academy. Ten months later — five months of bookwork on statutes and case law, and five months of technical, job-like training — Rogers knew she’d found her career. “There was no big traumatic experience in my life, no police officers in my family line,” Rogers said. “Curiosity
FEATURE | Nontraditional Roles just got the better of me.” Rogers, who was born in Sheridan before moving to Green River, started working for the Sheridan Police Department one and a half years ago. She’s been the only female officer since she started, though there have been others before her. “It doesn’t bother me. I work on a department full of guys, and now I have 22 brothers,” Rogers said. Still, she is not naïve. She’s heard stories about female officers facing sexual harassment and discrimination, but it never worried her. She looked at police work like any other profession in which men and women have to work together. “I don’t feel like I’m treated differently by fellow officers, and they don’t tiptoe around me because I’m female either,” Rogers said. The public, however, can be another story. Rogers has a slim build, average height and long, blonde hair. Even in uniform, it’s obvious she’s a woman, she said. Quickly and adequately estab-
lishing command presence has taken some work. “My sergeant, he’s huge. He’s a big guy, so he automatically shows up with command presence,” Rogers said. “I’ve had to tailor how I approach people. If I’m too aggressive, or if I’m trying to put off like I’m bigger and stronger than I am, someone will call my bluff.” Instead, Rogers uses her communication skills — her intuition even — to calm tense situations, glean information from people and, whenever possible, find a verbal solution to a problem. If a situation does turn physical, Rogers is confident in her training with her tools and techniques. And she trusts her 22 brothers as back-up. Being a woman does offer distinct advantages, however. “My gender in and of itself can be a great tool,” Rogers said. The obvious instance is when dealing with female victims who may not want to share traumatic details with a man. And though it’s not something she can rely on, people sometimes display
more respect for a female, especially one who is small in stature and less intimidating than a man. Her tone of voice, different communication style and innate female empathy can also be beneficial. Rogers said it is the mental and emotional challenges that could be hard on some women. “You have to ask yourself the hard questions first,” Rogers said. “Am I capable of taking a life if I have to? Am I willing to lose my life? Can I handle that suicide being the last thing I see before I go to bed at night?” Still, for Rogers, all the rewards — the daily challenges, the camaraderie, the knowledge that her presence as an officer may have deterred a crime or made Sheridan safer — far outweigh what could be gut-wrenching work. “At the end of the day, I still know we helped people and made Sheridan safer,” Rogers said. “That’s a big, driving force for me, especially in Sheridan where I plan to build a family and would like to keep it that way.”
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D E S T I N A T I O N S H E R I D A N 30
WYDOT families at BURGESS JUNCTION By Christina Schmidt
Located in the Bighorn Mountains on U.S. Highway 14 between Dayton and Lovell, at over 8,000-feet elevation is the Wyoming Department of Transportation’s Burgess Junction maintenance camp. Maintenance crews for WYDOT have been stationed at Burgess Junction since 1953 when a shop and four houses were constructed. “It was built solely for the purpose of winter maintenance on those roads so business could be done on either side of the mountain, and of course for recreation,” said Rich Hall, area maintenance supervisor for WYDOT. Hall said maintenance requirements have increased in recent years, due to increased truck traffic and traffic from snowmobiling, skiing and snowshoeing recreationists. Crews used to work 12-hour days and they now work 16hour days.
“It is a four-man crew, so they have one man who goes out early (5 a.m.) and makes the first run through the roads and gets a good idea of the conditions,” Hall explained. “Then two men who work a regular shift of 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and one man then works about 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. They work according to the weather, so if a storm moves in and they can’t keep up, we’ll work the whole crew at night if we need to.” Storms on the mountain come often and come strong. The station averages 375 inches of snow each year, though of course, some years see much more. “Two years ago we were way above average,” WYDOT employee Dave Johnson said. “We didn’t think winter was ever going to end. We were still rotoring snow in June that year.” Johnson, an assistant crew leader and heavy equipment operator, has lived at the station since 1984 and has seen plenty of years that were above or below average. One of the worst storms in recent memory is the epic storm of
Crews clear snow near Burgess Junction | courtesy photo 31 D E S T I N A T I O N S H E R I D A N
Dave Johnson, left, and Trent McKinley stand in front of a line of snow plows at the WYDOT facility at Burgess Junction. | photo by Justin Sheely
April 1984 which he said delivered 84 inches of snow. During the storm, the area search and rescue team attempted to come up the mountain to search for some overdue individuals. The maintenance crew struck out in the middle of the storm to try to clear the road. “We took a couple trucks and a loader with a plow on it,” said Trent McKinley, an equipment operator at the station since 1981. “It was snowing and blowing so bad you couldn’t see nothing. Snowplows are a wonderful thing but they will get stuck. That was quite the storm there.”
The storm proved too much for the crew and the equipment and McKinley ended up getting stuck in the snowplow for two days, before being rescued by a helicopter that returned him to the station. Though life at the remote maintenance station doesn’t
usually include such dramatic adventures as rescue by helicopter, it does present daily complications and regular challenges. “You don’t have the option of swinging by the grocery store every night on your way home from work so you definitely have to plan ahead or do without,” Johnson said. “When my wife and kids were up here, you go to town and you buy a month’s worth of groceries, especially in the wintertime because you didn’t know if you would get back down for a month. You buy multiple gallons of milk and throw them in the freezer, 10 or 12 loaves of bread and throw them in the freezer.” Johnson and McKinley both raised children on the mountain and special efforts were made for their education. A teacher from Sheridan County School District 1 taught the children in a classroom at Camp Bethel for kindergarten through fifth grade. Once out of fifth grades, a bus was sent up the mountain to collect the students for classes in Tongue
River Valley. In addition, Johnson and his wife purchased a house in Dayton that allowed the children to stay in town as well. Both men said that despite the isolation, the station has been a wonderful opportunity for them and their families. Wildlife abounds at the station and hiking and sightseeing opportunities are just outside the door. “Living in a situation like this isn’t easy,” Johnson said. “The people you work with on a day to day basis, you see them in the morning, in the day, in the evening. You are basically just a big family with four houses.” Rather than viewing the winter isolation as a negative, Johnson and McKinley said they and the other crew members embrace the winter weather and take advantage of winter recreation opportunities as they can. “We have snow machines and what not and we try to make snow our ‘friend,’” McKinley said. “When snow is your friend you have a whole different outlook.”
Burgess Junction | courtesy photo D E S T I N A T I O N S H E R I D A N 32
LOCAL TAXIDERMISTS By Hannah Wiest
Taxidermist Enayat Rahimi stands in his showroom at Rahimi’s Taxidermy in Ranchester | photo by Justin Sheely
Sometimes life doesn’t go quite as planned. And sometimes that’s OK, even if it means learning to call another country home. If that new country has rolling hills and angled mountains, it’s good. If those mountains teem with wildlife, it’s better. And if you get to work with that wildlife every day — commemorating deer, elk, birds, ﬁsh and more in their natural beauty — it’s great. Enayat (Andy) Rahimi has worked as a taxidermist in Ranchester since 1991 and opened his shop on U.S. Highway 14 in 1994. It was originally Big Bear Taxidermy, named after the bear statue out front, before becoming Rahimi’s Taxidermy when he and his business partner realized there was enough business for each of them to have their own shop. “I look at it as an art be-
cause it is,” Rahimi said about his work of preserving animals in a variety of forms. “It’s very hard to copy Mother Nature, but you can get as close as you can, you can try to copy the natural look of the live animals,” Rahimi added. Rahimi grew up on a farm near the southeast edge of the Caspian Sea in Iran. “I was so fascinated with wild animals as a kid,” Rahimi said.
Taxidermist Enayat Rahimi uses clay to recreate the tissue surrounding the glass eyes of a trophy whitetail buck at Rahimi’s Taxidermy in Ranchester | photo by Justin Sheely 33 D E S T I N A T I O N S H E R I D A N
He would spend hours watching wildlife on the farm, remembering how it moved and how it looked in its natural habitat. He read books on taxidermy — the few he could find — and even tried to make his own molds and preserve the animals he hunted in his youth. Rahimi attended high school in Iran then came to America for college. He graduated from Sheridan
in 1975. The original plan was to earn his degree in America and return to Iran to take over the family farm. But life went a different direction. At Sheridan College, Rahimi met his wife, Laurien, now a teacher in Sheridan, and the Iranian Revolution of 1980 made returning to Iran difficult. So they stayed, and Rahimi became an American citizen
“It’s very hard to copy Mother Nature, but you can get as close as you can, you can try to copy the natural look of the live animals.” —Rahimi College with a degree in farm and ranch management
in 1982. After graduating from
Rahimi keeps an assortment of glass eyes for the different kinds of animals he works on | photo by Justin Sheely
Sheridan College, the couple moved to Laramie. Rahimi studied diesel technology at WyoTech and eventually got a job with Burlington Northern Railroad in Nebraska as a machinist. He continued to study taxidermy and began to do a few mounts on the side for friends while in Nebraska. When he and Laurien moved back to Sheridan County and were once again tucked against the Bighorn Mountains with their abundant wildlife, Rahimi decided to pursue his lifelong passion full time. He has mounted everything from deer, to elk, bears, mountain lions, birds, fish and more. His taxidermy shop even includes wildebeests, impalas, kudos and bush buck from Africa and sika and fallow deer from England and Ireland that he hunted himself with a friend he made through his taxidermy work. “I love to hunt. That’s
why I’m living here with these mountains and this nature,” Rahimi said. As a hunter, Rahimi understands the importance of preserving the hunt. “For hunters, taxidermy brings their hunting memories to life,” Rahimi said. “This is part of their memory for their hunt, and I try to do my best to preserve that memory for them.” Rahimi was 24 when he left Iran. He stays in touch with fam-
ily who remain in Iran, but America is home now. Life didn’t go quite as planned, and that’s OK with this taxidermist who does what he loves every single day in his
home below the Bighorn Mountains.
A mounted Big Horn Ram is displayed in the showroom at Rahimi’s Taxidermy in Ranchester | photo by Justin Sheely
Need someone to preserve your hunting memories? Check out these Sheridan County taxidermists: • Big Bear Taxidermy, Ranchester, 655-9397 • Hartman’s Taxidermy, Sheridan, 672-0383 • Rahimi’s Taxidermy, Ranchester, 655-9447 • Rimrock Taxidermy, Sheridan, 673-5196 • Wolfcreek Taxidermy, Ranchester, 655-9433 • Worldwide Taxidermy Studio, Sheridan, 672-5270
D E S T I N A T I O N S H E R I D A N 34
THE THRILL OF THE HUNT By Christina Schmidt
Perhaps the oldest recreation in the Sheridan area is the pursuit of game through our open plains, foothills and mountains. Each fall, thousands of residents and non-residents come to Sheridan to hunt elk, mule deer, antelope, mountain lions, bears and more. While many hunt with family or friends, others opt for a guided hunt with an outfitter. Though contracting with an outfitter for a guided hunt can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, Cole Benton, chairman of the Wyoming State Board of Outfitters and Professional Guides said it can offer benefits to certain hunters. “There’s several reasons,” Benton said about why some hunters choose to hire an outfitter. “Number one is the quality of animals available. Another thing is they aren’t competing with the public.” Benton has been outfitting in Wyoming for
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close to 30 years and in Montana for more than 15 years. He takes clients on his own ranch, as well as other private ranches. He said access to these private lands is a big draw for many hunters.
“There’s several reasons,” Benton said about why some hunters choose to hire an outﬁtter. “Number one is the quality of animals available. Another thing is they aren’t competing with the public.”
“It is primarily ranches that we lease,” he said. “We have a set number of mule deer, antelope and elk hunters each year and that is the only way you can maintain the quality. In fact, 50 percent of our own personal ranch we do not hunt.” “The outfitter can maintain the quality whereas on public land, you can’t do that,” he continued. “What you see is what you get on public land. Outfitters that hunt the national forest, they do have to compete
with the public. For our hunting out here, no one is out here but paying clients.” Benton said many hunters also come to have a catered experience and take a break from hectic lives at home. “When a hunter shows up here, basically all he needs is his personal gear and his hunting license,” he said. “They work hard all year and when they come out they don’t want to work. They want someone to take care of them.” In addition to the opportunity to hunt trophy animals, outfitted hunts may be necessary for hunters seeking game such as mountain lions and bears that require special techniques. For instance, most mountain lions are located and then tracked using trained dogs, and very few hunters have their own dogs for that purpose. However, an outfitter who specializes in mountain lion hunts will have trained dogs that are used for client hunts. Though the high cost of an outfitted hunt may discourage some hunters, Benton said most people realize they are paying for a unique experience and a special opportunity to hunt lands that are normally inaccessible to the general public. “Actually we very, very seldom ever hear that,” he said about complaints on the cost. “If I have a call from someone who says the cost is too high, I will do everything I can to find that person a place to hunt. I think part of my job is helping find people a place to hunt if I can’t accommodate them myself. I tell them it may not be as good as it is here, but I also understand the money
issue. And a hunt is not in what you kill, I don’t believe. It is the enjoyment you have when you are doing it.” Benton recommends beginning your search for a reputable outfitter months before you plan to hunt. Like any investment you make, doing your homework in advance will help ensure a positive experience. “Websites are the best thing in the world for ads, but buyer beware,” Benton said. “Make sure that is updated information you are looking at. It makes no sense to look at pictures of deer from 15 years ago.” Benton also said references can be a way to research an outfitter, but cautions that oftentimes, people listed as references are a carefully selected group of clients that will only give glowing reports of their experience. “The reference list does help, but would you put anybody’s name on a reference list that you wouldn’t want someone to call?” he asked. Benton says he addresses both the issue of references and showcasing the results of hunts by updating his website every year, with photos of every animal harvested, not just the large or impres-
sive animals. He then allows anyone requesting a reference, to choose any person from his website to call and visit with. He even has prospective clients request to speak with hunters who did not harvest an animal during their hunt, just to see how the experience was and how many animals he or she saw during the hunt. Benton also said to visit with your outfitter prior to your hunt about any physical disabilities or limitations you might have. He said some hunting areas are in remote locations that require
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strenuous or long hikes to access. He said if you are overweight, have asthma or otherwise cannot perform extended physical activity let your outfitter know so that other accommodations can be made. More information about licensed outfitters in Wyoming can be found at http://outfitters.state.wy.us.
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HUNTING OUTLOOK Guide for Sheridan From the Wyoming Game and Fish Department
The outlook for pronghorn hunting in most of Sheridan Region is good. Northeast Wyoming has abundant herds of pronghorn. Populations are still at high levels in several herd units, so hunting seasons have been designed to give hunters plenty of opportunity in those areas. However, in hunt areas north of Gillette and Moorcroft, pronghorn populations are lower than a few years ago, so license numbers are lower than in the past. In Sheridan Region pronghorn hunt areas, hunters are allowed to purchase a second any antelope license and up to four doe/fawn licenses. However, potential hunters need to be aware that most pronghorn hunting is found on private land and they should make arrangements for a place to hunt prior to buying licenses. Hunters willing to wait until after opening day or the first weekend of the season may find it easier to get on private lands. It is possible to find some pronghorn on parcels of public lands scattered around northeast Wyoming, but hunters can expect to bump into other hunters also using those lands. Because of crop damage, Hunt Areas 22 and 102 near Buffalo will have rifle doe/fawn seasons beginning Sept. 1 in portions of these areas.
Deer hunting in Sheridan Region will be similar to recent years. However, deer hunters in areas near Gillette and Moorcroft can expect to see less deer than they did a few years ago. Sportsmen with access to private lands should have have high harvest success, while hunters on public lands will see greater numbers of hunters and comparatively lower success. Antler growth and body condition of bucks are good this year in many areas where animals had access to better forage. If hunters have access to private land, they may consider buying reduced price doe/fawn deer licenses since several thousand are available across the region (many of which are restricted to private lands). Several deer hunt areas between Sheridan to Kaycee have been opened to doe/fawn rifle hunting beginning on Sept. 1 to address crop damage issues. In Hunt Areas 27, 29, 30, or 33, a hunter can again purchase an unlimited number of doe/fawn deer licenses until the quota is exhausted. In Hunt Area 24, no quota (unlimited) was set for the type 8 white- tailed deer doe/fawn licenses. NOTE: In mid-August 2013, reports of dead deer were received in Sheridan Region. It appears the deaths may be due to Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease or blue-tongue. If the outbreak intensifies, white-tailed deer hunting may be affected by this disease.
ELK 37 D E S T I N A T I O N S H E R I D A N
Sheridan Region contains some of Wyomingâ€™s best known elk hunt areas. Those hunters successful in drawing one of the highly sought after limited quota any elk licenses for a hunt area in the Bighorn Mountains, the Rochelle Hills or the Fortification area will have opportunity for a great hunt with the possibility of bringing home a real trophy. The limited quota any elk hunting season in Hunt Area 123 will be open this fall after not being opened since 2011. Because nine potential hunters know there are some large bulls in this area, it was one of the hardest licenses to draw in the state. For those hunters not drawing a license, there are still some leftover antlerless elk licenses available and residents can purchase a general license to hunt in Areas 36 and 37. Success for general license hunters and limited quota antlerless elk license hunters tends to be much lower than those who have a limited quota any elk license, but they can still enjoy time together hunting with family and friends. In a small portion of Hunt Area 37, cow/calf hunting is scheduled to open Sept. 1 and will run through Sept. 30. This season is designed to allow rifles hunters the opportunity to harvest an elk before they leave public land and hopefully redistribute some elk. Antlerless elk (type 4 licenses) hunting in Hunt Area 38 will begin on Oct. 1 this year, which should significantly increase hunter success.
The Bighorn Mountains in Sheridan Region have a thriving moose population. Limited quota licenses for any moose in Hunt Areas 1, 34, and 42/43 are some of the most highly sought after licenses in Wyoming. We expect there will be some large mature bulls harvested this fall as some real barnburners have been observed during the summer of 2013. Although bull moose are often observed along roads and highways during summer, many bulls head for deep cover soon after the hunting season begins, making for a challenging hunt.
Game bird hunters in Sheridan Region may not have as good hunting this fall as they did in 2012. The drought of 2012 resulted in little residual cover for nesting habitat in spring 2013. Field personnel report small broods or baren hens across the Region. Spring “lek” (breeding ground) surveys of sage-grouse showed that sage-grouse numbers were still below long-term averages. Wild turkey numbers vary throughout the region. In the Buffalo and Sheridan areas there were already large numbers of turkeys, so it is expected there will be plenty of birds. Pheasants from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department bird farm will be released on several Sheridan Region Walk-In Areas. Hunters are reminded that most game bird hunting occurs on private land, except for blue grouse hunting in the Bighorn Mountains and pheasant hunting on the department’s walk-in areas.
Migratory Game Birds Ducks · Dark Geese · Light Geese · Snipe · Rails · Mourning Doves· Sandhill Cranes
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D E S T I N A T I O N S H E R I D A N 38
A Wyoming tradition By Tracee Davis
Many Wyoming citizens are indoctrinated into a sportsmen's culture of hunting and shooting at an early age, but visitors and those who are new to the sport have several avenues to get in the club. A key component of that process is a statesanctioned Hunter's Education class and the complementary Hunter Mentor Program. Hunter's Education is a 12-18-hour instructional course taught by a volunteer staff of local Game and Fish Department officials that goes over safe gun handling and hunting practices. It also provides an overview of hunting regulations and wildlife habitat considerations. It's required for all hunters born after 1966. "The premise of the course is that we're turning out safe, legal, responsible new sportsmen," said Jim Dawson, hunter education coordinator for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
"This is a wonderful opportunity when gals marry into a hunting family. They're able to purchase a license and have their mentor card, go out and give it a try. It perpetuates hunting as a lifestyle for the family." â€”Dawson Hunter's Education courses became a mandatory requirement prior to purchasing any type of hunting, but not fishing, license in Wyoming in 1979. Dawson
said the program today represents a great success story for the Game and Fish Department, that serves as an effective agent to pass down the heritage of ethical hunting and love of wildlands. Upon graduation from a class, each person receives a wallet-size card that must be carried with them on all hunts, along with appropriate licenses and tags, for the rest of their lives. When a sportsmen is checked in the field by a warden, failure to present a Hunter's Education card is a ticket-worthy offense. Nearly 30 years after the introduction of the Hunter Education Program, a supplementary program was introduced via an act of the Wyoming Legislature to expand hunting opportunities to residents and visitors who want to try the sport before they decide to commit to the hours of classroom study. "In 2007, we started the Hunter Mentor Program," Dawson said. "It's the trybefore-you-buy model." Enrollees in the Hunter Mentor Program can purchase licenses to harvest game of their choice. For a full calendar year, the interim hunter can participate in each respective game season. However, they must always hunt with someone 18 or older who has completed the Hunter's Education course. The mentor, usually a relative or friend, can change from hunt to hunt throughout the year. Dawson said the program lets a student do more than just watch the hunt; it lets them be the one to take the
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shot, and it works to recruit new faces into an important aspect of Wyoming heritage. "The preponderance of folks who use the Hunter Mentor Program go on to take Hunter Ed courses," Dawson said. Dawson said that because many Wyoming residents complete their Hunter's Education class during their adolescent years, there's a perception an adult enrolling in the class would feel out of place. Dawson said those con-
cerns are unfounded, as most classes are comprised of a mix of all ages. However, the state also offers online coursework coupled with a day at a gun range for shy students. Dawson said the Hunter Mentor Program can act as another pathway toward independent hunting. "The demographic who uses the mentor program most is 20-something females," Dawson said. "This is a wonderful opportunity when gals marry into a hunt-
Mick Kaser holds a Flintlock muzzle-loading riďŹ‚e while he explains the history of muzzle-loading guns and the evolution of ďŹ rearms during a Hunter Education Class at the Family Life Center Church in Sheridan. | photo by Justin Sheely
ing family. They're able to purchase a license and have their mentor card, go out and give it a try. It perpetuates hunting as a lifestyle for the family." Dawson emphasized that once a hunter signs up to be
mentored, the clock starts ticking, and it's irreversible. "It's critical they do not sign up early and then waste the opportunity," Dawson said. "It's best to sign up for the program right before you're going on a hunt to
make sure you use the option. It's one calendar year for life." Both Hunter's Education and the Hunter Mentor Program aim to equip Wyoming hunters with a healthy love of land, respect for wildlife
and safety savvy gun practices in a welcoming, openarms approach. Additional resources for aspiring hunters include regional Game and Fish Department offices around the state.
An original 1893 Marlin Lever Action is set on display with a collection of riďŹ‚es and muzzle-loading ďŹ rearms from Mick Kaser during a Hunter Education Class at the Family Life Center Church in Sheridan. | photo by Justin Sheely
D E S T I N A T I O N S H E R I D A N 40
BREAKING TRAIL Groomers clear path for recreation During the snowstorms that frequently come through our area all winter, most of us hunker down in our warm and dry homes. However, several Sheridan residents head into the snow and the mountains to prepare local ski trails for users. For more than a decade, members of the Black Mountain Nordic Club have sponsored maintenance of the crosscountry ski trails in the Bighorn National Forest around Sibley Lake and Cutler Hill. The trails are open to both cross-country skiers and snowshoers. The club was formally organized and achieved nonprofit status in 2001, but the founders and other volunteers had actually been
grooming trails since the late 1970s. “Jim Goodwin and myself and a couple other people started plodding around Sibley and thought there was some potential for ski trails there and it kind of got started from there,” Curt Schwamb said. “We formed the club and it has sort of grown from that point. We’ve accumulated equipment little by little.” The group now has a handful of snowmobiles and six implements used for grooming trails. Six members of the club are trained to do the trail grooming. “We try to groom once a week, depending on snow conditions,” Schwamb explained. “If you get a lot of snow, it is a lot of work. For an average weekend, if you got 6 inches of snow that week you are probably looking at 10 man-hours to get everything in
By Christina Schmidt
good condition. It is a second job.” “When we groom we usually try to go up at least two people at a time so one person isn’t up there alone,” he continued. “The grooming machines aren’t like snow machines, they are bigger and heavier. When you get one buried, it gets to be a lot of work to get one unstuck. There have been times I’ve been stuck and not sure I could get it out. Even if you aren’t right together, if you get stuck and don’t show up at a certain time, the other guy will go look for you and help get you out.” The trails at Sibley Lake and Cutler are nine and four miles respectively, but each trail needs repeated passes to properly pack the snow. Therefore, it often takes 70 miles of travel over the trails to get them in usable condition. Schwamb estimated that there are 125 members of the club who pay
Robert Nickens pushes his way up the Prune Creek Loop on cross country skis at the Sibley Lake Ski Trails area in the Bighorn Mountains. | photo by Justin Sheely 41 D E S T I N A T I O N S H E R I D A N
$15 per year in dues. However, some members pay extra and all the money raised is funneled back into maintenance activities. The group operates under a volunteer agreement with the U.S. Forest Service to maintain the trails. The group volunteers member time and equipment, while the Forest Service pays for fuel expenses for the equipment. The Forest Service also pays for and installs the trailhead signs. “Our responsibility is to acquire and maintain the equipment to maintain the trails,” Schwamb said. “Last year we spent close to $8,000 between maintenance and another machine. This year it has been pretty good, nothing too major has gone wrong!” Cheri Jones, a Forest Service recreation staff member, said the service the club provides is hugely beneficial to the Forest Service and the skiing public. “I am amazed at what they do for us,” Jones said. “It is incredible to have that energy level and involvement and commitment. The forest I came from before this, we paid big bucks to have just eight miles of trails groomed.” “They just keep going and seem to
be successful in getting new members and the more members they get the more they can spread that work out,” she added. “They are always coming up with ideas to make things better and new projects.” One of the group’s ideas was to create separate trails for dogs to accompany their owners. Dogs are not allowed on the trails around Sibley Lake during the winter until maintenance ceases in the spring. However, the group came up with the idea for the ski trails near Cutler Hill, which do allow dogs. In fact, the trails carry names such as the Canine Climb, Mutt Meadows and Fido’s Fairway. While the trails at Sibley are packed and then have tracks set in them, the Cutler trails are just packed with no tracks set. The volunteer nature of the club ensures that access to the trails is free to the public. Schwamb noted that many other ski areas are often operated by government entities or businesses that charge a daily or season pass fee to cover maintenance costs. Schwamb said the group has seen some recent increases in membership,
particularly after Antelope Butte Ski Area closed, but noted that he thinks the increased interest is mainly related to new converts to the sport. “It is a good way to get out and you aren’t slogging through the deep snow like you would going through the trees,” he said. “You have nice packed trails to go on that makes it easier and the weather in the Sibley and Cutler area can be really good. It lies in a pocket and is kind of protected. A lot of times it is nicer up there than it is down here.” Members of the club receive weekly email notifications of trail conditions and weather reports. Schwamb encourages anyone interested in joining or supporting the group to contact them through their website at www.blackmountainnordic.com. “They are an amazing source of expertise and assistance and support,” Jones said. “I don’t know if the public appreciates it enough. There is a lot of work that goes into that. “It is hard to even quantify the value that they provide to us. We appreciate it tremendously, more than words can express.”
D E S T I N A T I O N S H E R I D A N 42
SHOWS MUST GO ON! By Hannah Wiest
As fall and winter settle in, skiers thrill at the thought of standing above a hill covered in powder, ready for the rush of the run. Likewise, theater lovers stand on the cusp of a new season of shows, waiting for everyone to push over the edge and enjoy the rush of lights, costumes, action. With the WYO Theater, the Carriage House Theater, Sheridan College, Tandem Productions, Sheridan High School and other area school productions, locals and visitors alike will have dozens of shows, of all varieties, to enjoy this year. Earlier this season, three local direc-
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tors gathered to talk theater – particularly community theater – and why Sheridan is a place where arts thrive. Erin Butler is the marketing and development associate at the WYO Theater and will be directing this year’s WYO Theater Gala production of “Cabaret.” Matt Davis is the director of Habitat for Humanity. He is directing two of four Civic Theatre Guild productions at the Carriage House: “God of Carnage” and “Forever Plaid.” Aaron Odom works as a financial aid counselor at Sheridan College. He will direct “12 Angry Jurors,” an adaptation of “12 Angry Men,” at Sheridan High School this fall. The Sheridan Press: What makes Sheridan a theater-friendly town? Davis: A lot of people spend a lot of time for the performing arts in this community. It’s all a volunteer workforce, from the directors, to the cast members, to the people who are on boards. It’s something that people are really passionate about, and I think that is probably the bottom line of why it happens. The Sheridan Press: As an actor and direc-
tor, how does it feel to be able to perform in a town that is supportive and not dead to the arts? Odom: You always want to pick a show that will be not only well-attended but well-appreciated. Having a town like Sheridan where a lot of people are cultivated in the fact that they expect a certain level of quality from us, and they get it, it’s almost a safety net, that you are supported by getting up on that stage instead of being constantly judged. It’s almost like a birthright to being a Sheridan resident; you have to appreciate the arts. Davis: We don’t compete against each other. We help each other out. I could see in some places it may be a competition, where here everybody wants the end product to be the absolute best show possible, and everyone chips in to make it happen that way. The Sheridan Press: Are there any downsides to having such a supportive community for theater arts? Odom: You get seven shows within half of a season, and people are going to start to get really picky about what they go to, which is unfortunate because we’re all doing it for everybody. You can go spend $10 and go see a 3-D movie, then three months later you’ll have that 3-D DVD, and you’ll be able to watch it any time you want, but you’re making an investment for theater one time, and it’s never going to be the same way any time you see it. The Sheridan Press: Let’s talk about the idea that this is all volunteer labor. You all have full-time jobs, and you have your families, so what makes you do it? Butler: Just believing in, as cheesy as it sounds, the art of it. There’s some-
thing that each play or musical has to say, and to be able to make that come to life is really rewarding. Whether you’re portraying a particular time in history, or just a moment, everything has its specific experiences. It’s fun to discover those things and learn about who those people might have been, and in turn the audience, hopefully, will discover something about themselves by watching it, or think of something they hadn’t thought of before, or come away with a feeling that they hadn’t gotten from something else. It’s kind of altering, and that’s why it’s sort of addicting in a way. The Sheridan Press: What makes you step into the role of being a director? Why take on that responsibility? Odom: A couple of my favorite quotes about theater are: “Theater should be used as a weapon in the right hands” and “Theater is generally an attack on the status quo.” There’s a reason that plays are done, and it’s not simply for escapism, to get out of your life and just enjoy things. That element is certainly there, but there has to be something that you’re actually trying to convey to the audience. Butler: Clearly we’re not the first group of people to do this. There’s so many people who have paved the way for us, made it a popular thing to do. It’s easier almost. People are already excited about it, which is great. The Sheridan Press: What does it take to put together a season of theater? Davis: It’s pretty stressful. You have to come up with the plays, you have to come up with the directors, you have to come up with the cast, you have to build the set, you have to have all these pieces in place for quality shows. It’s super difficult, but it’s twice as rewarding. Another cool thing about community theater is the cast. You’ll have a doctor in the cast, you’ll have a lawyer, you’ll have a priest, you’ll have a rancher. You’ll have the most eclectic, crazy group of people that would never, ever, ever meet anywhere except in a community theater play. It is so awesome to see this strange group of people, this motley crew, become a family and put on this production. These plays are a direct reflection of what Sheridan is, right? I mean it’s completely Sheridan, all the people in it, everything is Sheridan. That’s a big thing to be proud of in your community.
For more information on Sheridan’s upcoming theater season: - Civic Theatre Guild: www.sheridanstage.com, 672-9886 - WYO Theater: www.wyotheater.com, 672-9084 - Tandem Productions: 307-672-7491 - Sheridan College: www.sheridan.edu, 307-674-6446 - Sheridan County School District 2: www.scsd2.com - Sheridan County School District 1: www.sheridan.k12.wy.us/
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Hitting the snow covered trails By Brad Estes
For the winter sports enthusiast wishing to avoid the drone of a snowmobile motor, the Bighorn Mountains offer six cross-country ski areas. “These trails have yet to be discovered by most Nordic skiers and offer plenty of solitude,” according to a release from the Bighorn National Forest. Trails can be accessed from U.S. Highway 14 coming from Sheridan and from U.S. Highway 16 coming from Buffalo. Willow Park and Pole Creek, in particular, offer great cross-country skiing opportunities. Trails are open December through May. From the Bighorn National Forest: Near Buffalo • Pole Creek Nordic Ski Trail #557 Seven different loops to satisfy any ski level. Nearly 11 miles of groomed trails. Light use. Trail begins and ends at the parking area on Forest Service Road 457. • Pole Creek XCountry Site - The area provides op-
portunites for cross-country skiers and snowshoers to explore loops,
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hills, ridges and forested areas throughout the winter. From Buffalo take Highway 16 west about 17 miles. Turn right on to FSR 456. • Willow Park Nordic Ski Trail - #556 Offering 13 miles of groomed trails and a variety of
skill levels. Skiers can experience loops, hills, ridges and wonderful scenery Trail begins and ends at Willow Park. Antelope Butte Nordic Ski Trail #559 The trail is divided into four loops — providing for a variety of skill levels. The trail winds through lodgepole pine forests and breaks into large open parks offering the skier excellent scenic views.
Located about 40 miles east of Greybull on Higway 14, the trail system begins and ends at the ski area parking lot, off of FSR 244. Near Sheridan: Cutler Hill Nordic Ski Trail #552 Cross-country ski with your dog on gentle slopes, spur trails and a meadow loop. From Dayton, take Highway 14 west 19 miles. Parking lot is on the north side of the road. This is a popular trail for Sheridan residents. Sibley Lake Nordic Ski Trail - #558 Some loops provide for skate/ski opportunities, snowshoers are also welcome. These trails are track set for classic skiing therefore dogs are not allowed. (no dogs allowed on ski trails) Directions: Trail begins at Sibley Lake Parking and ends at Sibley Lake Parking.
DOWNHILL SKIING Downhill skiing opportunities can be found just a short drive from Sheridan. The closest ski destination is Meadowlark Ski Lodge. It offers a triple chair lift, a double chair lift, a beginner lift and 20 runs. Find Meadowlark Ski Lodge 45 miles west of Buffalo and 20 miles east of Ten Sleep. Call for open dates and times: 307-267-2609.
By Brad Estes
The other ski area near Sheridan has been closed since 2004, but a nonprofit group has been formed and is hoping to re-open the Antelope Butte Ski Area. Located 59 miles west of Sheridan and 35 miles east of Greybull, the runs can still be used by skiers eager to walk back to the top of the hill.
By Brad Estes
When it comes to ice fishing, staying warm might test your patience, but the activity is definitely worth a try for those willing to brave it. Sibley Lake and Lake DeSmet provide easy access from Sheridan for ice fishers. With a wide array of well-kept secrets and some longer drives, there are plenty of opportunities to try the popular winter activity in the area. When it comes to treading on ice, safety is always important. “Ice conditions often fluctuate
throughout the winter months as water levels in lakes and reservoirs change, and freezing and thawing weather patterns come and go and can contribute to unstable ice conditions,” according to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. Four inches of clear ice is usually safe for fishing, according to the WGFD, and they recommend that ice be checked every 100 to 150 feet. Ice on rivers, in particular, can prove dangerous as moving water underneath
A local skier spends the day near Cutler Hill in the Bighorn Mountains | Sheridan Press ﬁle photo
can change conditions quickly. For this reason, the state recommends that anglers stay off rivers. Other recommendations from the WGFD include not driving ATVs or vehicles on the ice and always fishing with a buddy. Always bring a floatation device and an ice pick in case you fall in. Be sure to get your fishing license and stamp before heading out on any fishing adventure.
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SNOWMOBILING The Bear Lodge Resort is your jumping off point for snowmobiling in the Bighorn Mountains. With rental and tour opportunities, the lodge is located at Burgess Junction. “We have 193 miles of well-marked and groomed trails, an additional 22 miles of ungroomed trails and thousands of acres of unbroken powder meadows,” according to the Bear Lodge website. The Wyoming Department of State Parks, the Bighorn National Forest and local snowmobiling clubs work cooperatively to maintain the area’s trail system.
By Brad Estes
Riding seasons span November to April with elevations varying from 7,500 feet to 10,000 feet. Wyoming law requires that snowmobiles have a resident or nonresident user fee decal on the machine, according to the Bighorn National Forest.
For those unfamiliar with the area a tour guide is recommended. A full list of rules and safety tips can be found in the Northern Wyoming Snowmobiles Trail Map or by visiting the Bear Lodge website at bearlodgeresort.com. Also, a list of the many trails can be found under the recreation/winter sports section of the Bighorn Natoinal Forest website.
Lee Hart heads out to start his poker ride from Bear Lodge. | photo by Justin Sheely
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KOLTISKA PUMPKIN PATCH The Koltiska Pumpkin Patch will be open through Oct. 13. It is located west of Sheridan at 120 Cat Creek Road and is owned and operated by Vicki and Gary Koltiska.
Sheridan Press ﬁle photos
Pumpkins are $6 apiece and the Koltiskas provide a short hay ride out o the field for picking.
CHRISTMAS STROLL One of Sheridan's most beloved winter events is set for Nov. 29, as always, the day after Thanksgiving. The Christmas Stroll was developed many years ago in an effort to bring Black Friday shoppers to downtown Sheridan. It is a community event to kick off the holiday shopping season. Friends, family and neighbors gather downtown to take photographs with Santa and Mrs. Claus, enjoy free rides on the trolley, a hay wagon and miniature train. Hot drinks and food are also available on Grinnell Plaza, the centerpiece of
Sheridan's downtown. Live music also typically highlight's the annual event. In conjunction with the Christmas Stroll, the Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce organizes a "stroll button" design competition. The contest opens in April and ends in May. Children in first through sixth grades submit their button design to the Chamber and are asked to base their design on the year's theme. This year's Christmas Stroll theme is "Home for the Holidays." The design is used on buttons distrib-
from staff reports
uted and sold throughout the holiday shopping season. If your number matches the number hanging in participating businesses' you win a prize worth at least $50. Registration slips are also available in businesses to enter your button number into weekly drawings for $100 in Chamber Bucks. All of the button numbers gathered from registration slips are then entered in a grand prize drawing on Dec. 31 for $1,000 Chamber Bucks. This year's Christmas Stroll button design winner will be announced toward the October.
Sheridan Press ﬁle photos
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A family gathering The Sheridan County Community Holiday Dinner has become a heavily attended holiday tradition in the area and organizers have said volunteers are what make the event. And they do. In past years, more than 150 people volunteered for the event, helping before, during and after the actual feast. In past years, the Sheridan County 4H Club has helped pack food bags that were distributed during the event. Another organization that helps out before the big day is the Wyoming Girls’ School. For several years, students at the school have helped pull the meat from the turkeys prepared for the meal. Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors have also volunteered at the event since its inception in 1991. “When we started the dinner, we really didn’t have a signature event that the ambassadors did every year and that they could consistently fundraise for,” one dinner organizer Debi Isakson said. “So they took this on as what they felt was a community event where they could get out and be visible while work-
from staff reports
ing for the community. “They know what they are doing, and they do it year after year,” Isakson said, adding that the ambassadors dish out the food each year. Other groups that make the event possible are local Girl Scout troups that help families carry their plates to tables, local church organizations who help set up and tear down all of the tables and chairs used at the dinner and businesses who come out to help any way they can. “And this wouldn’t be possible without the Holiday Inn,” Isakson said, noting that the event has been held at the local hotel every year. “They are the only venue that could handle this kind of event with all of the food preparation. They order it, prepare it and use their employees to help oversee the volunteers.” “It has been wonderful to work with them and they don’t charge us a penny.” On average, more than 50 turkeys, 70 pounds of green beans, 20 gallons of gravy, 60 pounds of cranberries and 1,200 cups of ice cream are made ready
Above: Madelyn Katschke of Sheridan receives some green beans to go with her dinner during the annual Community Holiday Dinner at the Sheridan Holiday Inn. Below: Dylan Jacob of Sheridan has a drink with his mother, Brittany, as they wait to see Santa Claus during the annual Community Holiday Dinner. Right: Tess Bateman of Sheridan eats a cucumber the annual Community Holiday Dinner. | Sheridan Press ﬁle photos
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for hungry Sheridanites.But it is not just organizations who help out at the event. “We have a lot of individuals who want to volunteer as well,” Isakson said. One year, according to Isakson, a family arrived with their children to volunteer because they wanted their kids to see what the event was all about. “So we’ve had volunteers as young as 9, 8, 7 years old, and as old as 70,” Isakson said. Adding to the tradition of community and holiday spirit, the Holiday Brass Band and the Craft Brothers have performed at every Sheridan County Community Holiday Dinner. Mr. and Mrs. Claus, played by Judy Taylor Dave Youngren, are always on hand to greet attendees. While the Sheridan County Community Holiday Dinner is free, organizers ask that attendees get tickets in advance. Check the Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce website for locations where tickets are available. The dinner includes turkey and all the trimmings and will be held from 4-7 p.m. at the Sheridan Holiday Inn Dec. 8.
DOWNTOWN Sheridan from staff reports
Historic downtown Sheridan allows visitors to shop in delightful boutiques and enjoy the architecture of the old West. Sheridan's Main Street is home to 46 buildings on the National Registry of Historic Places, giving shoppers a wonderful mix of old and new. One address, 224 S. Main St. is home to the Sheridan County Courthouse, built in 1905 and on the National Registry, the courthouse was built for around $55,000. In 1913, a small building was built on the southwest side of the property and used as the county jail, there is an underground tunnel that connects the courthouse and former jail. At 42 N. Main St., the WYO Theater was originally named the Lotus and opened in 1923. The theater was one of six theaters located in Sheridan. The name was changed two WYO in 1941. Sheridan's original town hall and fire station is located at 112 N. Main St. The large archways were used to bring the horse and fire wagons
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through. The building now houses the Beaver Creek Saloon. The former home of The Sheridan Press newspaper can be found at 234-250 N. Main St. The building was constructed in 1910. A landmark of Sheridan, the Mint Bar, opened in 1907 at 151 N. Main St. and still operates today. The bar was remodeled in the late 1940s in the same rustic charm that visitors can still enjoy. In 1908, Stevens and Fryberger moved their dry goods store to 35 N. Main St. The name of the store was "The New York Store," easily identified by the engraving at the top of the building. For more information about Sheridan's historic downtown, see www.sheridanwyoming.org.
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D E S T I N A T I O N S H E R I D A N 50
A new breath of life for the Sheridan Inn Once deemed the finest hotel between Chicago and San Francisco, the Sheridan Inn opened its doors May 27, 1893. Today, visitors may relax in rocking chairs on the same porch from which William "Buffalo Bill" Cody, once the inn's owner, frequently conducted auditions for his Wild West Shows on the front lawn, offering the visiting train passengers a taste of the West from their windows. As one of the first Western hotels with running water and electricity, the Sheridan Inn quickly became a favorite stop for passersby. Notably among the hotel's guests was Ernest hemingway, who labored over "A Farewell to Arms" in the late 1920s. However, as passenger trains grew less popular and cars became the preferred mode of transportation , the inn's business began to dwindle. By 1965, it was bankrupt. The inn was given new hope when Neltje, a local abstract artist and philanthropist, began a campaign to save the historic building in 1967. After almost 50 tumultuous years of opening and closings, the Sheridan Inn was reopened in 1990 by the Sheridan Heritage Center, Inc., a nonprofit cor-
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poration that owns the inn today and is renovating the hotel's rooms. In 2008, the nonprofit board decided to borrow $1.8 million from Wyoming Bank and Trust in Cheyenne, as part of what was believed to be a final push to finish the renovation of the Inn. The loan was to be paid off through the issuance of revenue bonds. But, the downtown in the economy left the nonprofit with $7,000 per month loan payments, short of the money to finish the Inn and facing ongoing operational and maintenance costs. The ultimate goal was to complete the renovations of the upstairs rooms in order to generate additional revenue and make the Inn self-sufficient. As of this spring, that goal had not been reached, the bank gained ownership of the property and had placed it on the real estate market. This fall, a Tulsa-based man with Sheridan roots has entered into a contract to purchase the Inn with plans to finish its remodel and open it once again as operational inn. Bob Townsend said the closing date for he and his wife, Dana, is set for late October.
from staff reports
“I think that only makes sense to go ahead and finish that out,” Townsend said of his plans for the historic building. “Those 22 rooms — ideally you’d have more — but those rooms are what will make it viable. “Anyone who has looked at the building and is willing to finish it with the business model the Heritage Center started, knows that you won’t make a huge profit,” he continued. “But you can make money and you can keep it running in the black.” Townsend continued by saying that the business model set by the SHC is a good one that should be self-sustaining when completed. Changes to the building’s plans will be few. Townsend said he hopes to update the lobby to appeal more to guests who plan to stay at the Inn, but plans no major aesthetic overhauls. “People need that common space to sit around the fire, socialize and we’d like to give them space to do that,” he said of his plans for the lobby area. Other upgrades to the building will likely include completion of the Inn’s basement for use as conference space and a fitness center for guests.
Sheridan County Museum The Sheridan County Museum gives visitors a local perspective on the history of the American West. It presents a variety of exhibits that investigate history, culture, agriculture and the ingenuity of Sheridan County inhabitants. The Sheridan County Museum is open from 1-5 p.m. daily in May, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 1 through Aug. 31, and 1-5 p.m. daily Sept. 1-Dec. 24. The museum gift shop is open Tuesday through Thursday 1-5 p.m. The museum is located at 850 Sibley Circle in Sheridan, just off Interstate 90, exit 23. Admission fees are $4 for adults, $3
from staff reports
for seniors (60 years and older) and $2 for students. Children 12 years old and younger get in free of charge, as do veterans and active military members. The Sheridan County Museum is owned and operated by the Sheridan County Historical Society. The purpose of the museum collections is to further the appreciation and understanding of the prehistory, social and cultural history of Sheridan County. In 2007, the museum began offering a free program for children, the Junior Curator program. To participate,
all kids have to do is pick up a museum guide and activity book at the admission desk. The book is full of activities that children can do while exploring the museum. Children who participate in the program become Sheridan County Museum Junior Curators and receive a patch or a bookmark. For more information about the Sheridan County Museum and new exhibits, visit sheridancountyhistory.com or call the museum at 307-675-1150.
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Bighorn MOUNTAIN LODGES Snowmobilers have long known the attraction of the snow in the Bighorn Mountains and lodges in the mountains as well as the local economy as well are reaping the benefits. Rick Young, who owns Bear Lodge, Elk View Lodge and Arrowhead Lodge estimates that those three lodges bring in $4 million of revenue per year. In December, January and February they brought in $2 million worth of business and in February and March, he said the lodges were filled to capacity. Young and his wife, Roberta have
owned Bear Lodge since 1993, Arrowhead since 2008 and Elk View Inn since 2010. He said since their first days owning just one lodge, their revenue has increased greatly, expanding to employ 65-70 people. All three are located near U.S. Highway 14. “I think we have multiplied our impact four fold.” Young said. In the wintertime snowmobilers are looking not only for a place to stay and buy food, they are also purchasing decals, which are required to ride on trails in Wyoming. Young said this year he
from staff reports has sold 32,000 decals for $25 each. While wintertime is the busiest time for those three lodges, summer and fall can also bring in its share of business. Hunters tracking big game often stay at the lodges, although Young said hunting season hasn’t been as busy as in previous years. “The deer population is dropping a little,” he said. “We had a wait list six or seven years ago. Now we are probably 50 to 60 percent occupied. It has leveled off a little bit.” Summer brings bus tours, weddings,
Elk View Lodge | The Sheridan Press ﬁle photo
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family reunions and of course motorcyclists who are headed to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Those three lodges are not the only ones nearby that bring in visitors. The Paradise Guest Ranch is 16 miles from Buffalo and is owned by Clay and Leah Miller. According to Clay Miller, the business employs 45-48 people and guests typically stay for a week. Clay Miller said that his business hosts about 60 guests per week and runs at capacity during the summer months. He added that his business relies heavily on air service. He said the majority of his customers come from all over the country and the majority of them fly into Sheridan and the remainder fly into Gillette, Casper or Denver. Corey Hulse took over as manager at Wyoming High Country Lodge 30 miles west of Lovell in August. He estimates that between Dec. 1 and March 13 they have 670 guests with another 1,000 stopping through for food or gas. He said the majority of visitors come from Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa.
Kyle Reid, left, of Williston, N.D., and Cain Hanson, of Fremont, Mich., fuel up their snowmobile rentals at Bear Lodge Resort before hitting the trails again in the Bighorn Mountains. | Sheridan Press ﬁle photo
“They call themselves flatlanders,” Hulse said about the snowmobilers visiting their lodge. “During snowmobile season they ride on the plains and they don’t have the hills or the environment of the Bighorns.” He estimates that the average person spends between $1,000 and $1,500 on their stays, which includes fuel, lodging and food. Their staff is simply Hulse and his wife, who not only do cleaning, but maintenance as well as cooking.
There are plans for the lodge to possibly expand as they have received a permit from the United States Forest Service to allow RV and tent camping. “We will wait and see how this year goes,” Hulse said. Meanwhile visitors will continue to spend time in the majestic mountains whether it be snowmobiling, hiking, horseback riding or cross country skiing. “One of our biggest roles is to bring people to the Bighorns,” Hulse said.
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The Brinton Museum Bradford Brinton Memorial and Museum gives visitors a glimpse into the heart of a 1920s and '30s gentleman's working ranch. Located in Big Horn, the musem serves as home to a vast collection of art by Charles M. Russell, Frederic Remington, Edward Borein, Frank Tenney Johnson, Hans Kleiber, Bill Gollings and others. Records indicate that the ranch was first homesteaded by Mr. and Mrs. Richard F. Clark in 1882. The Clarks' dugout home was on the site of what is now the ranch foreman's house. William Moncreiffe of Scotland purchased the homestead in 1892. He built the amin ranch house in 1892-3 and established the Quarter Circle A Ranch. Moncrieffe sold the main house and one remaining section of land to Brad-
Birdie Real Bird of the Crow Tribe speaks about traditional beading and her vast work at The Brinton Museum. | Sheridan Press ďŹ le photo
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from staff reports
ford Brinton in 1923. Brinton continued to operate the Quarter Circle A as a gentlemen's working ranch and summer home and a place to keep the bulk of hide art collection. He purchased an additional 2,200 acres to the east and added new buildings (the horse barn and Little Creek Lodge). The main house was renovated and enlarged by Bradford Brinton in 19278. The work was done by Prentice Senger whom Brinton had met at Yale. Upon his death in 1932, the ranch passed to his sister, Helen Brinton. When she died in 1960, the ranch was opened to the public as a memorial to Western art and history through Helen Brinton's will. Most of the downstairs rooms in the main house are open to the public.
Visitors are welcome to take in Brinton's extensive collection of art and historic documents, such as letters from Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. The Bradford Brinton Memorial and Museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum is open this fall Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays noon to 5 p.m. Those hours will run through Oct. 31. For additional information on off-season hours and exhibits, visit www.bbmandm.org. Admission is $4 for adults and $3 for seniors (62 and older) and students (13 and older with a valid ID). Children 12 year old and younger, school groups, military and museum members get in free.
Sheridan ice rink
from staff reports
While the snow tends to quiet the hustle and bustle of life in Sheridan throughout the winter, at least one location awakens with the cold to become a flurry of activity. Sheridan Ice, LLC, located at the corner of Sheridan Avenue and East Brundage Street, is the local ice rink home to open skates, hockey leagues, skating lessons and curling matches. Open recreational skating times are some of Sheridan Ice's most popular programs. The free open skates are typically held in the afternoons throughout the week and again in the evenings on Fridays and Saturdays. Skate rentals are free due to the support Sheridan Ice receives from a variety of community sponsors. Several hockey leagues are also available to those willing to don the pads and helmet and step in front of a whizzing puck. Adult leagues typically run from November to March. Hockey season for Mini-Mites (ages 5-6 years old) and Mites (ages 78) typically run from November through February. Leagues are also open for grades four-six and seven through nine during that same time frame. Registration for hockey leagues are held in late October and early November. Skating lessons and figure skating lessons and competitions are also available for children of varying ages. For more information on hockey leagues and skating lessons, or for complete schedules of open skates for the 2013-2014 season visit www.sheridanice.org.
Sheridan Press ďŹ le photo
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Arvada/Clearmont If small town America is something you desire, Clearmont is the place for you. According to the 2000 Census, Clearmont had a population of 115. It's not the booming population that inspires travelers to stop in though, it's the history. Clearmont sits on what used to be a major route to Yellowstone National park and the Black Hills, Highway 1416. Since travel flows easier along the interstate, Clearmont has seen a decrease in activity. Still, its historical markers are enough to make the weary traveler stop and stretch their legs. The old jail was built in 1922 for $827 and is available for visitors to
from staff reports
check out. The jail is currently listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Just off Main Street sits the ArvadaClearmont High School. Next to it is the Old Rock School, which is a one room schoolhouse that offers a glimpse at days past. Although not in use anymore, the building was refurbished in recent years. Visitors to Clearmont can enjoy picnicking in the town's park, which is also located on Main Street. World War II enthusiasts will be interested to know that Clearmont once housed a German prisoner of war camp. Prisoners were allowed to work in the fields growing and harvesting beets. Clearmont was founded in 1892 as a
railroad town servicing the BurlingtonMissouri Railroad (currently known as the Burlington Sante Fe Railroad). When railroad officials arrived the town site was moved 1.5 miles and renamed to Clearmont. Aside from being a major railhead, Clearmont also served as a major point on rancher's trails servicing livestock from Buffalo, Crazy Woman and beyond. As is true with many midwest towns, Clearmont also has a heavy agricultural influence as is indicated by the concrete elevator built by the Leiter estate and was later used by the Best Out West Flouring Mills.
from staff reports
Nestled at the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains, Dayton is home to the first rodeo in Wyoming, the first female mayor and the famous artist Hans Kleiber. Dayton was founded in 1882. Its name is derived from one of the founding members, Joe Dayton Thorne. The first mayor of the town was Cornelius "Nea" H. Ketchum. His Successor Susan Wissler has the distinction of being the first female mayor in Wyoming — possibly in the United States.
Dayton was incorporated in 1906 and saw some growth as mining and agriculture took its hold on the area. German born Hans Kleiber came to the Dayton area in service of the U.S. Forest Service as a ranger. He soon gave up his career to capture the beauty of nature in art. Mostly self taught, Kleiber became known as the Etcher Laureate of the Bighorns for his amazing depictions of wildlife, Dayton, historical figures and life on the prairie. Kleiber's cabin studio is open for tourists and sits just a few hundred feet from its original location. It's a must see for anyone passing through Dayton. After checking our the Kleiber studio, travelers can stretch their legs at Scott Bicentennial Park. The park features volleyball pits, picnic areas, biking/walking/running trails and a great view of the Tongue River. Hikers and outdoor enthusiasts can use Dayton as a stopping point before heading off into Tongue River Canyon or into the mountains for a day on the trails.
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Big Horn Located on the eastern slopes of the Bighorn Mountains alongside Little Goose Creek, Big Horn has more than doubled in size since 2000. The population of Big Horn in 2000 was only 190. Now, according to the 2010 census, the small town has grown to 490 residents. This is by no means the largest the town has ever been. At one time, Big Horn had as many as 1,000 residents. The city had a college, a brick factory, saloons, churches, a hotel, a livery barn and a mercantile. The town saw a massive downsizing when it lost the bid to be the county
seat to neighboring Sheridan. More people left when it learned that three railroads were surveying Sheridan — the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad. When the railroads arrived in 1893, Big Horn quickly became a satellite community of Sheridan. Big Horn was founded in 1882 by wealthy cattle and sheep ranchers. Some of the early settlers include sheepbreeding Moncrieffe brothers, English noblemen, Oliver Wallop, Goelet Gallatin and Bradford Brinton. The trend of those with higher means continues today as many distinguished, but low profile executives call Big Horn
home. Some work in nearby Sheridan. Big Horn boasts two polo clubs — Big Horn Polo and Flyiing H Polo Club — that offer a more laid back atmosphere compared to their eastern and European counterparts. In May the Big Horn Equestrian Center has been known to host the a large soccer tournament. In 1984 Queen Elizabeth II stayed in Big Horn while visiting her friends, Lord and Lady Carnarvon, at Mr. and Mrs. Wallop's Canyon Ranch. The event brought national media to Big Horn, all interested in recording the cisit of royalty to a small, western town.
Story Nestled in the thick pines, shady and cool in the summer, Story can be a getaway destination from Sheridan's summer heat. Story, an unincorporated community 20 minutes south of Sheridan, sits on the banks of Piney Creek, according to Wyoming Travel and Tourism. Story was first platted by a horse trader, Marshal Wolf, who was going to name the town after himself but was dismayed to find that Wolf, Wyo., already existed. The town was instead named after Charles B. Story, a rancher who was instrumental in getting a post office established — the first building in what
had until then been a town made up of only tent structures. Today, Story acts as a gateway to ATV and other trails, and features the newly-renovated Story Fish Hatchery. With $2.6 million in funding from the Wyoming Legislature, the hatchery celebrated a grand reopening in September of 2011. The remodeling included improvements in water delivery systems, fish rearing areas and egg incubation facilities. Many features were designed specifically to house the additional brood stocks and for spawning activities and egg incubation.
Powder River Expedition into battle with Chief Black Bear and Arapaho tribe. This fight was the only major encounter that the Powder River Expedition was involved in. It ended in Connor's troops being forced out of the area. The park also rovides playground equipment for children and a monument in honor of the site. A visit to Connor Battlefield allows travelers a chance to walk in the footsteps of Connor and Black Bear. Feed your brain at the T-Rex Museum on Main Street. This museum
from staff reports
The hatchery is open daily year round from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Each year, the community celebrates the end of summer with Story Days. In addition, each year the Sheridan Woman's Club offers a dinner for the community. This year's event is set for Oct. 5. The event always features a Thanksgiving-like meal — including turkey and all of the fixings — as well as homemade pies. Lines typically stretch outside the Story Woman's Club and into the tree-lined streets. For more information about the Story community, visit http://storywyoming.org.
Ranchester History and prehistory come alive in the first stop off of U.S. Highway 14 on the scenic trip to Yellowstone National Park. Ranchester is located just north of Sheridan along the Tongue River . This unique town has much to offer travelers on the way into the Bighorn Mountains. Situated just miles from the Bighorn National Forest, Ranchester is home to the Connor Battlefield State Historic Site, Tyrannosaurus Rex Museum, Rotary Park and beautiful mountain views. In 1865, Gen. Patrick Connor led the
from staff reports
from staff reports
transports you back to the time of dinosaurs. Learn about the prehistoric timeline and natural history of the area. Rotary Park offers visitors a place to relax and enjoy paved walking trails, fishing, for children 14 years old and younger as well as picnic facilities. In the summer months, the community of Ranchester hosts a festival to celebrate the town's history and heritage. Visit the Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce website for more information, www.sheridanwyomingchamber.org.
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Wyoming Information Center from staff reports
Looking for information on local hotels, restaurants and entertainment? Visit the Wyoming Information Center located on the east side of the Interstate 90 Fifth Street exit. The center offers friendly specialists to aide with any travel needs, 24-hour public restrooms inside the building, a kiosk where you can check out the area's different points of interest, a children's playground, a mini-museum and a picnic area with panoramic views of Sheridan and the Bighorn Mountains. The information center and museum are owned by the state and operated by the Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce and Sheridan Travel and Tourism. The information center is equipped with a ﬂatscreen television, computers with Internet service and wireless access. Parking at the facility is ample and able to accomodate vehicles of all sizes. There is also an RV waste disposal site for the convenience of travelers. The Chamber of Commerce and information center can be contacted at 307-672-2485 or through sheridanwyomingchamber.org. STT can be contacted at 307-673-7120 or sheridanwyoming.org. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays from mid-October through mid-May.
What you will ﬁnd at the center: • 24-hour public restrooms • One-on-one assistance from travel specialists • Information kiosk • Brochures on area's points of interest • Dog-walking area • Picnic area • RV waste disposal site • Parking • Panoramic view of the Bighorn Mountains • Wyoming Game and Fish regional offices nearby
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