Like a bull moose plowing through fireweed, summer has arrived in Sheridan with bravado and bluster. The Snickers Big Horn Soccer Cup has long been the unofficial kickoff to the summer season in Sheridan, and with good reason — Snickers has become a tent-pole event that not only draws participating families from across the state, but has cultivated a reputation as a premiere youth sporting event from coast to coast.
The volunteers that work countless hours to make this event happen for the community should know that what they do for our youth is immeasurably impactful and appreciated.
This weekend, the Rocky Mountain Leather Trade Show celebrates 25 years in Sheridan with a convention at the Holiday Inn and a series of events with partners King’s Saddlery, Black Tooth and the Chamber of Commerce. The Leather Trade Show represents fine western craftsmanship, artistry and culture and has become a touchstone event for the community.
By the time a hundred horses thunder down Fifth Street on their way to Eatons’ Ranch next Sunday morning, there’ll be no mistaking that summer is here. While many community partners have worked tirelessly to expand travel and tourism experiences in the winter and our shoulder seasons, summer is still king in the West. That’s why I’m thrilled to look at our community calendar and see a major event set for nearly every weekend from now through October.
The Dead Swede Hundo bike race series, which takes place June 2, has exploded in popularity in only its second year thanks to the work of John Kirlin, Sheridan Bicycle Co., Black Tooth and many others — they recognized that the Bighorns could and should serve as one of the top adventure race series destinations in the Mountain West. That same day, the Bot Sots Remount “Heap Good” horse sale will take place at the Trail End State Historic Site — this is a singularly unique western experience.
Of course, we can’t talk adventure racing without recognizing the Bighorn Mountain Wild and Scenic Trail Run; the run has become a week-long celebration for outdoor enthusiasts, not unlike the multi-day celebration that is the Sheridan WYO Rodeo (in its 88th year in 2018, in case you were wondering).
Misty Stoll at Fort Phil Kearny is working diligently to roll out a spectacular new program that is set to change the historic battlefield experience across the state. SkyLab at Fort Phil is Wyoming’s gateway to the night sky and the stargazing experience of a lifetime. Fort Phil Kearny State Historic Site will host an observatory and telescope that can let visitors glimpse planets, constellations and other celestial wonders “up close” with a guide who will launch them on a night sky adventure through Wyoming. This is creative, imaginative stuff that adds another layer to what our community has to offer visitors.
I could go on and on — new events include the Medicine Wheel INFR Rodeo; the WYO Theater’s Untapped Homebrew Festival; Ernest Hemingway Festival; WYO Film Festival; and a series of new events and exhibitions at The Brinton Museum and the Whitney Center for the Arts. This in addition to the opening of new restaurants (like Birch), new food trucks and new outfitters and guides ready and willing to embrace visitors and make their experiences in Sheridan memorable ones.
Returning and long-running events include the Third Thursday Street Festival, Bighorn Mountain and Suds N’ Spurs Brewfests, Antelope Butte Summer Fest, SAGE Photography Gala, Karz Hot Rod Run, Bike MS Wyoming, Elks Youth Rodeo, Don King Days, Biketoberfest, Oktoberfest and so much more. Check our calendar at sheridanwyoming.org — it’s not an exaggeration to say that there’s something new popping up every day. All this makes my job an exciting one — there’s always a new story to share, a new attraction to promote or a cultural hallmark to advertise in a new, creative way.
When I first started at Sheridan Travel and Tourism, the refrain I’d hear most often from tour operators, journalists and national media was the same: where’s Sheridan, and why would I go there? That’s all changed. Now folks have an entirely new issue: How long should I stay in Sheridan, and how can I experience everything? It’s a good problem to have.
Shawn Parker is the executive director of Sheridan Travel and Tourism.