I’ve heard those three words quite a bit lately. In fact, it seems like I can’t walk half of a block up or down Main Street without someone stopping, smiling and saying, “Welcome to Sheridan!” The same goes for pert near anytime I call someone or email anyone. It’s a wonderful greeting.

By now you may be pondering why it is you’re reading “Welcome to Sheridan!” in a newspaper space that purports itself to be about the outdoors. In fact, you’ve now read those three words three times inside three paragraphs. Well, in writing lingo, it’s called “the rule of three” and it’s a principle whose premise is simple: things are more humorous or more satisfying or more effective when they come in threes. Studies show people are more likely to take in, process and utilize information when it comes in threes, too. For simplicity’s sake, I call it “thrice is nice!”

Nice is certainly one of the words — beautiful and friendly seem to be the others — I find myself using to describe Sheridan to the folks who welcome me or to friends and family when they ask me what Sheridan’s like so far. You see, I’ve now been in the community three weeks as the new director of marketing and development for the Sheridan Community Land Trust. As it turns out, SCLT has three core missions: to create and expand accessible outdoor recreation opportunities, to conserve open spaces and working ranches, and to preserve places of historical significance.

It was the opportunity to have a hand in those missions that first intrigued me as I sought to leave behind the world of community journalism — and a business I owned and operated — in which I’d spent nearly a decade, all of it in my old hometown of Pocahontas, Iowa. A drive up Red Grade for a few days of forest trouting, a bit of time in the Tongue River Canyon and seeing the Soldier Ridge trails (and knowing 7 new miles are in the works) made me excited to come to the Bighorns, so when the good folks at SCLT gave me the official “Welcome to Sheridan!” it was a matter of tying up loose ends so I could trade the Princess City for Wyoming’s Jewel.

I arrived just in time for the start of flinter — you know, that time when most days feel like winter but the calendar still says fall. I’ve had a few opportunities to get out and explore, mostly along the Tongue River Water Trail since the snow tires have only now been put on this born-and-bred Flatlander’s rig. So far, the river has taketh more than it’s giveth, but it’s hard to be mad when you’ve had the opportunity to be humbled in such beautiful places.

I can’t give you any “insider advice” or “pro tips” or what have you beyond this: don’t overlook the spaces you know, because even the familiar can be fantastic. For many of us, those spaces — Red Grade, the Tongue River Canyon and Soldier Ridge — are why we put the exclamation point on “Welcome to Sheridan!”

And for that, I say, “Thank you for having me!”


Chris Vrba is the director of marketing and development for Sheridan Community Land Trust