Summer took a detour on its way to Wyoming, but it’s here now, ready to dress the mountain in wildflowers, open up trails to the high country and pull back the curtain on Sheridan’s epic summer events lineup.
There’s a lot going on this summer, and my office is thrilled to be able to play a small role in promoting the activities and attractions across the community.
Last weekend’s Dead Swede Hundo saw racers challenge a tough gravel course after brutally unseasonable weather, but organizers still managed to attract more than 500 racers to Sheridan in just the third year of this race’s existence. Ike Sankey’s Bots Sots Remount Horse Sale continues to define western tradition and experience with an incredible event at Trail End State Historic Site, and because three events is better than two, the annual Hoop Jam got the town bouncing.
There’s so much more to come this summer. Today, at Black Tooth Brewing Company, the Demple family relaunches the Sheridan Beer Company, welcoming home a legacy brand after a half-century hiatus. Next week, Sheridan is host to the Wyoming Association of Municipalities annual convention, the Weatherby grand opening and the Bighorn Trail Run, one of the summer’s most spectacular events. The week after sees the launch of the Bighorn Mountain Crawlers Summer Safari, as well as additional events for outdoor enthusiasts, art lovers, craft kings and cowpoke.
Events and activities like these have helped Sheridan redefine itself as a major Wyoming vacation destination. Our average overnight stays continue to climb, while travel and tourism spending hit an all-time high in 2018 in Sheridan County, with $115.8 million. That translates to more than 1,000 local jobs, $6.5 million in travel-generated taxes and nearly 12 percent of all sales tax collections. The city and county use these funds to support infrastructure and public services, and my offices is able to provide grant and sponsorship funding to many of our events and to promote the community regionally, nationally and internationally.
I spent most of last week at IPW, the travel industry’s largest trade show, where more than 7,000 tour operators, travel agents and destination offices come together to do business. Sheridan’s reputation as Wyoming’s cultural capital, Emerald City and Bighorn Mountain playground continues to thrive. Our tour operator partners frequently pass on feedback from visitors, and the tune is generally the same — Sheridan is a beautiful mountain town; there’s so much to see and do downtown; the Bighorns are epic; I wish I had spent more time in Sheridan.
Helping our reputation precede us is one of the most rewarding parts of my job. Here’s to another epic summer season in Sheridan.
Shawn Parker is executive director of Sheridan Travel and Tourism.