STORY — From the kaleidoscope of color at the quilt show, to the squeals of delight from children who “struck” gold at the gold panning demonstration, to the obvious joy Story residents took in chatting with neighbors and friends over puffballs of cotton candy, Story Days lived up to this year’s theme: Treasure in the Pines.
“That’s what a lot of people think of Story being is our own little treasure right here because we’re kind of an oasis, isolated from the rest of the people,” Story Lion’s Club member Patrick Morgan said.
“The energy here is really good. That’s one of the best things about Story being the treasure in the pines,” he added.
The 28th annual Story Days brought back longtime favorite events like the Dutch oven cook off and parade and added a few new twists, too, like a “chariot” race with wheeled outhouses and a rodeo event sure to test even the most weathered cowboy or cowgirl: chicken roping.
Other events included a book sale, gold panning demonstration, vendor booths, beer garden, pancake breakfast and more.
Ed Kline, of the Gold Prospectors Association of America, set up a table near High Mountain Java to demonstrate the art of panning for gold to his fellow Story residents.
“It’s a fun hobby that helps pay for itself,” Kline said.
Throughout the day, he helped kids and adults learn how to swish water and sand in a gold pan until pieces of gold peeked through the silt, eliciting oohs and ahhs from all who were near.
Wyatt Schrank and Dustin and Rebecca Quillen garnered a different sort of oohing and ahhing with their 43.91-second win in the brand new chariot race event, sure to become a Story Days favorite.
As team “Got the Runz,” they worked together to pull a wheeled, wooden replica of an outhouse 100 yards down Main Street and another 100 yards back up.
Their strategy: run really hard and really fast.
“It was very fun. It’s a tradition I hope Story keeps for many years to come,” Dustin Quillen said.
After the chariot race, team “Got the Runz” was headed toward the Wagon Box Inn to let the kids ride sheep and rope chickens and generally enjoy all sorts of Wyoming fun.
“We decided we wanted to do something similar to what other towns do at other parades, like the bed races in Sheridan, but we wanted something uniquely different so we decided to do outhouse racing,” Event Chairman Marc Strahn said.
Teams now have a year to strategize for the second annual outhouse races at the 29th Story Days.
Another Story Days staple, the parade, featured the Drum and Bugle Corps and a variety of floats depicting how Story is a treasure in the pines.
The Lion’s Club took home the Chairman’s prize for their Hobbit-inspired dragon guarding a treasure box full of the treasures of Story: love, peace and joy.
The dragon was named Scorch, the Story Dragon, Guardian of our Treasures. It took eight men nearly two weeks to construct by forming wood, piping and chicken wire over a Kubota tractor and covering the form with thousands of triangles of builders paper with edges painted black to look like dragon scales.
Morgan rode inside the dragon and used a 20-pound canister of Co2 to blow steam out its nostrils, wowing young and old alike all along the parade route.
The rest of the day, people enjoyed homemade pie, perused books and generally enjoyed one of Sheridan County’s most loved annual events.
“It’s an overall fun, all-around family event, so everybody comes up and enjoys it,” Strahn said.