The first half of summer 2019 has been exciting. Sheridan County mostly weathered some extreme late spring and early summer storms, and the mountains and the foothills remain green and fringed with wildflowers. This, and a lack of regional wildfires and smoke in the air, should help extend the summer a few weeks into the fall.

New companies have opened, and local businesses have expanded, increasing Sheridan’s visibility and profile within the state and across the nation. That growth has been impressive — Weatherby, Bison Union and Wyoming Candle Co. have all opened their doors this summer, while new food trucks and restaurants have popped up across town. EMIT, Kennon, Vacutech and other great local businesses continue to grow, help diversify our local economy and provide excellent job opportunities for residents.

The community has hosted major conferences and events, including the Wyoming Association of Municipalities annual conference — I can’t tell you how thrilling it is to hear city council members and mayors from other communities talk positively about Sheridan’s beauty, vibrancy and culture. It’s that culture that has put us in a position to attract major national and international events for 2020 and 2021, including the Ernest Hemingway Festival next June and the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association annual conference the June after.

This incredible economic development velocity has helped make Sheridan County even more attractive to visitors. Add our ultimate x-fact, the Bighorn Mountains, and Sheridan truly appears to be one of the finest vacation destinations in the American West. Few destinations can match our history, heritage, craft culture and great outdoor attractions, and fewer still can do it the way we do — without feeling crowded, busy, or “touristy.”

What makes me most proud about living in this community is the fact that we do things for one another first — goal one is always to positively impact the quality of life for residents of Sheridan County. When we do that, the tourism dollars will follow.

There’s still plenty of summer left, and with it some great legacy events and new activities with which to become involved. There are a few weeks left in this polo season. Suds ‘N Spurs Brewfest, Trailfest, Don King Days, and Balloon the Bighorns are right around the corner. Ditto for the newly expanded Born in a Barn.

Octoberfest, Biketoberfest and the all-new Flyathalon will mark the end of summer in fine form. What’s the Flyathalon, you ask? Oh, just a little something my office has been putting together with The Sports Stop — the geniuses behind the Bighorn Trail Run. I promise, this is going to be a good one for the community.

Shawn Parker is the executive director of Sheridan County Travel and Tourism.