By Ernie Over


With the weather finally cooperating, our summer fun season is in full swing. We’ve just celebrated the 1838 Mountain Man Rendezvous, Lander’s Pioneer Days, and Riverton’s Day in the Park, along with South Pass City State Historic Site’s Gold Rush Days. Still to come is the International Climbers Festival in Lander this week, the Rockin’ the Winds at the Red Rocks on the way to Dubois, to be followed by the Riverton Rendezvous Hot Air Balloon Rally, the Rocky Mountain Rebels Car and Bike Show and the Fremont County Fair and the PRCA Wind River Rodeo Roundup. Of course, there will be more Lander Presents concerts, Sugarbeats music in Riverton, Hot Shoshoni Nights, the Dubois Friday Night Rodeos and more…

I had a blast, literally, at the Pioneer Days Parade in Lander. I was the recipient of two big blasts of H2O from water cannons in one of the floats. As usual, I was talking photos of the parade entries when I saw the “water float” approaching. Fortunately, my iPhone is waterproof, to an extent, so trying for the best photo, I got right in the line of fire. On usual July 4th parades, it’s nice and hot. Not this year. It was cool with some occasional sprinkles and a few good rains. So the additional soaking I got made it a little chilly. Fortunately, I had a change of clothes anticipating something like that might happen. Actually, the change was to get into my Rotary gear for the barbecue at city park. I was on the serving line again this year getting to meet and greet locals and visitors alike. Last year I had the condiment station, this year it was the buffalo burgers. It was so much fun to see faces light up when they realized they were getting a half-pound burger that was in the shape of a multiple pointed star. The sprinkles did not dampen the spirits of the crowd, either.

Just as the barbecue was winding down, members of Lander’s Finest began running from the park as a young driver high on meth was racing through town at speeds up to 100 mph. Police Chief Scott Peters told me on my radio show Monday that ordinarily the police would not give chase to someone on the busiest day of the year in town. But it was unclear at the time if the kid was holding a hostage and if he had plans to crash into something. Peters told me it was the nature of the emergency that resulted in the police response. He said they wanted to funnel the speeder out of town. And that they did. The case ended in a crash on the Sinks Canyon Road, but miraculously. There were no other injuries. Peters said the community members and visitors got out of the way and yielded to the emergency pursuit. At one time, a dozen emergency vehicles were involved from the city, county and state patrol.

The day before, at Beverly and Monte Paddleford’s place on South Second, my high school classmates from 1969 gathered for an “informal” reunion. It was a lovely afternoon and, much to my surprise, I recognized most of my classmates. I had a few awkward introductions, though. Embarrassing as I couldn’t connect the face I knew so well with a name. But other than that, it was a wonderful time. We even had some of our teachers show up. There was Chris Jeffres, Ray Deflici, Larry Esp and my football coach George Johnstone. So good to see them. I joked with Chris Jeffres that based on my work in high school, she never would’ve guessed I would’ve ended up as a writer. Some lessons kick in later, thankfully.

Have a good week.

Ernie Over is an employee owner and a staff member of The Ranger, Lander Journal and Wind River News. He’s also the news director of the five-station WyoTodayMedia Radio Network in Fremont and Hot Springs counties, and the editor of the award winning Internet local news site.