“Milligan Climb,” featuring climber Alex Milligan on the Square Top Boulder in Sinks Canyon, brought home awards at the 124th annual Wyoming Press Association Convention, including the coveted “Photo of the Year” honors. (photo by Carl Cote)

By Sarah Elmquist Squires

Managing Editor

CHEYENNE – Carl Cote, the man behind the camera for The Ranger, Lander Journal, and Wind River News, swept the top spots for Wyoming photojournalists at the 124th annual Wyoming Press Association Convention in Cheyenne. 

In addition to a host of awards, Cote secured the coveted “Photo of the Year” honors for his stunning snapshot of climber Alex Milligan as he forges his way through the crux section of German Girl on the Square Top Boulder in Sinks Canyon. 

“Great composition and execution to capture the sunburst during this moment that demonstrates the precarious nature of the sport,” judges noted of “Milligan Climb,” which also took a first-place win for the sports feature photo category. 

“Milky Way Bridger-Teton” took home second place in the scenic photography category for this year’s Wyoming Newspaper Contest.

In total, Cote took home first-place finishes in both the sports feature and general news photo categories, a second-place nod in the scenic photo category with “Milky Way Bridger-Teton,” and those wins secured the much-anticipated photography sweepstakes special award. And, the top photojournalist accolade in Wyoming, the “Photo of the Year” award, was granted to Cote for the “Milligan Climb” image, which pits finest work of the state’s best photographers, including daily and weekly newspapers, against one another for the special awards category. 

“We couldn’t be more proud of Carl’s accomplishments in this year’s awards contest,” this editor said of Cote’s sweeping wins. “Not only does Carl produce the most professional, beautiful images for our newspaper, but he approaches every assignment with energy, respect, and the eye of a true storyteller. He shares the breathtaking sights of Fremont County with the world, and he’s literally willing to climb mountains to do so.” 

“Training Day” netted a first-place nod for the category of general news photo.

“This is an amazing photo!” judges exclaimed of Cote’s “Training Day” photograph. “You were able to capture the emotion as well as the temperature of the day. Great work!” Judges for the “Photo of the Year” category shared that all of Cote’s sports feature images “were some of the strongest photos in this competition. Either of them could have been entered in the feature single category and won there as well. The subject matter in both Mutton Bustin’ and Milligan Climb lends itself to good pictures as well … The climbing photo finally got the nod because it is just a beautiful photo. It has a good, tense moment and is a strong feature.”