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Signing ceremony. White House courtesy photo.
White House signing ceremony U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney and Sublette County Commissioner Joel Bousman attended the White House signing ceremony today (Monday, March 27, 2017) with President Trump for H.J. Res. 44, which repeals the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Planning 2.0 rule. This rule would have implemented sweeping changes to how BLM develops resource management plans. Click here for the White House video of the signing ceremony. Rep. Liz Cheney is on the left with the pink top, Sublette County Commissioner Joel Bousman is behind her with the black cowboy hat, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (Wyo) is behind Liz Cheney to the right. More info and pictures here Photo by White House.
Signed bill. White House photo.
Signed bill President Trump holds up the signed bill. Click on this link for more pictures: Sen. Barrasso, Rep. Cheney and Sublette County Commissioner Joel Bousman attend White House signing ceremony Photo by White House.
Giving the President his cowboy hat. Senator John Barrasso photo.
The President gets a real cowboy hat Sublette County Commissioner Joel Bousman was honored to be invited to Washington DC for the bill signing ceremony at the White House on Monday. Bousman is a 4th generation rancher and of course he wore his favorite cowboy hat for the occasion. Afterwards, he offered his hat to the President and the President asked if he could keep it. "That was the best hat I ever had," Bousman said. "Have to hit up Bob Bing for a new hat." Click on this link for more pictures: Commissioner Joel Bousman to attend signing ceremony at the White House for the bill to repeal Planning 2.0 on Monday, March 27, 2017 Photo by U.S. Senator John Barrasso.
Gas Prices
Mar. 18, 2017
Big Piney2.419
Regular unleaded average.
WY & US provided by AAA.
Diesel Prices
Mar. 18, 2017
Big Piney2.749
WY & US provided by AAA.

Pinedale Local:

Nordic ski trail grooming report – March 29, 2017
Sublette County Rural Healthcare District Board Special Board Meeting March 29
Death notice: Sharon Lozier
Sublette BOCES Spring Class Lineup
Town of Pinedale update – Spring Cleaning
Spring Health Fair Blood Draws in Marbleton March 28 & 29
Daffodil Days

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WYDOT Web Cam on US 189 north of Marbleton at the junction with Hwy 351  - view looking south
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Events: Click for event information
April 15: Lions Club Easter Egg Hunt - In Pinedale 10am Boyd Skinner Park. For toddlers to 5th grade. Don't be late!
April 20: Broadway's Next Hit Musical - Pinedale Fine Arts Council presentation, season ticket series event. Pinedale Auditorium, 7:00PM. More info at
April 27 & 28: Dancing with the Sublette Stars - Fundraiser for the Children's Learning Centers of Sublette County.
July 3 & 4: 4th of July Chuckwagon Days in Big Piney & Marbleton - Rodeos, Little Buckaroo Rodeo, 4th of July parade in Big Piney, morning fun run, pancake breakfast, free community BBQ, street dance, fireworks.
July 6-9: Green River Rendezvous Days in Pinedale -

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Pinedale Online is Pinedale, Wyoming on the web. We give our viewers, locals and out-of-area visitors, a "slice of life" snapshot window into our world view of what is happening in Pinedale. Visit us for current local news on what is happening, photos of local events, links to area businesses and services and more. We are long-time area residents and are happy to answer questions if you are planning a visit to our area. Much of our information is by community contribution.


Wolf Watch, by Cat Urbigkit


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Signing ceremony with President Trump in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. Whtie House photo.
Signing ceremony with President Trump in the Roosevelt Room of the White House.
Sen. Barrasso, Rep. Cheney and Sublette County Commissioner Joel Bousman attended White House signing ceremony (posted 3/27/17)
Senator John Barrasso media release
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today (Monday, March 27, 2017), U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), released the following statement after he attended the signing ceremony for H.J. Res. 44, which overturns the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Planning 2.0 rule. If allowed to stand, this rule would have implemented sweeping changes to how BLM develops resource management plans.

"Today, President Trump signed a resolution to roll back another harmful Obama administration midnight rule. The misguided BLM Planning 2.0 rule would have taken authority away from local land managers who have the most knowledge and experience overseeing resources in their own districts. Local management plans must include key input from county commissioners, sportsmen, local businesses and those who interact daily with these landscapes.

"I want to thank Representative Liz Cheney and Senator Lisa Murkowski for taking the lead on this resolution in the House and Senate. Now that this rule is overturned, we can work together on a new policy that makes the planning process more efficient and improves input at the local level."

Click here to download footage from today’s signing ceremony:

Background Information

On June 21, 2016, Barrasso, then chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining, chaired a subcommittee oversight hearing on the BLM’s Planning 2.0 initiative.

On Dec. 1, 2016, the Obama administration finalized the BLM Planning 2.0 rule.

In March 2017, the House and Senate passed H.J. Res. 44. The resolution of disapproval was introduced by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) under the Congressional Review Act. Barrasso and Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) cosponsored the Senate version of the bill.

Related Links:
Commissioner Joel Bousman to attend signing ceremony at the White House for the bill to repeal Planning 2.0 on Monday, March 27, 2017 Pinedale Online, March 26, 2017
YouTube video of signing ceremony

Wolf News Roundup – March 27, 2017 (posted 3/27/17)
Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
The success of Mexican wolf recovery across Arizona and New Mexico hinges more immediately on maintaining social tolerance than on genetic diversity, according to a recently published peer-reviewed study.

The study was published in Biological Conservation, a leading international conservation science journal. In it, the authors, which include Arizona Game and Fish Department biologists, conclude that maximizing genetic diversity in Mexican wolf recovery must be strategically balanced against impacts and concerns from local communities or the entire recovery program might be compromised.

"It has become increasingly evident that recovery of Mexican wolves will need to consider and weigh both the social concerns voiced by local communities and the numbers of wolves required for sustainable populations in the wild," the study states.

California officials have lost track of the Shasta wolf pack, but Nevada officials have provided a clue. According to SFGate, a Nevada Department of Wildlife official confirmed that the state has confirmed wolf presence for the first time in nearly 100 years. After a wolf was seen in an area of Nevada some 20 miles from the California border, scat was collected on site. Lab work determined that the lone male wolf was genetically linked to the adult pair of wolves that whelped near California’s Mount Shasta in 2015.

Vancouver Island
British Columbia media report that a popular Vancouver Island beach has been closed after a wolf repeatedly behaved in an aggressive manner around humans. The beach was closed after a wolf attacked a leashed dog, the second attack this week. Wildlife officials plan to try to haze the animal from the area.

Although wolves are a protected species in Switzerland, government officials have granted approval for hunters to kill a specific wolf, M75, after genetic testing linked the wolf to the death of more than 40 sheep in the southern part of the country. According to media reports, local authorities can authorize the killing of wolves that kill more than 25 livestock.

Related Links:
Arizona - Science Direct - full paper
Nevada - SFGate
Vancouver Island - CTV News
Swiss -
Wolf Watch - By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!

Two leather tooling classes available (posted 3/27/17)
At the Art Institute of Jackson Hole, Jackson, Wyoming
The Art Institute of Jackson Hole is offering two leather tooling classes. A Basic Leather Tooling Workshop will be on Friday & Saturday, March 31st and April 1st, and an Intro to Leather Floral Carving class on Sunday, April 2, 2017. The classes will be at the Art Institute Multi-Purpose Studio in Jackson.

Basic Leather Working Workshop
Friday & Saturday, March 31 – April 1, 2017, 9:00am - 5:00pm

Cost: $180 Members, $215 Non-Members
Instructors: Marty Elmore, Rick Lanning
Location: Multi-Purpose Studio, Jackson, Wyoming
Skill Level: All Levels Welcome
Materials: $45 for Leather Projects Kit $30 - $60 Leather Tools
Students will learn leather-working with traditional tools in order to create 3 of 9 possible projects taught by leather workers Marty and Rick, who have 60+ years of combined leather experience. Students will learn what the tools are and how to use them. Group critiques will be given after each finished project to compare and contrast various styles and artistic methods. Finishing methods will be covered.
More info:

Intro to Leather Floral Carving
Sunday, April 2, 2017, 9:00am - 1:00pm

Cost: $55 Members, $65 Non-Members
Instructors: Marty Elmore, Rick Lanning
Location: Multi-Purpose Studio, Jackson, Wyoming
Skill Level: All Levels Welcome
Materials: Leather and Tools will be provided
Floral Carving and tooling is one of the most versatile leather crafts in the leather business. It has been used to decorate leather in almost every field of leather working, from footwear, to furniture, purses to saddles and everything in between. This short class is designed to introduce you to this world. During this class, you will learn some of the elements of floral carving and leather tooling, and practice with the instructor’s help
More info:

Civilian Firearms Training Class offered in Rock Springs
Civilian Firearms Training Class offered in Rock Springs
Sweetwater County Sheriff's Office offers Civilian Firearms Training (posted 3/27/17)
Sweetwater County Sheriff's Office
ROCK SPRINGS, WYOMING - March 27, 2017: The schedule for this year's Sweetwater County Sheriff's Office Civilian Handgun Training Courses was released on Monday.

Sheriff Mike Lowell said each course begins with a 9:00 AM classroom session at the County Emergency Management training room in the basement of the county building at 731 C Street in Rock Springs, followed by range and shooting exercises at the Sweetwater County Firearms Range Complex south of Rock Springs.

The course schedule is as follows:

Saturday, May 20
Saturday, June 17
Sunday, July 23
Sunday, August 6
Sunday, September 19

Topics covered include grip, stance, sight picture, trigger control, holster considerations, home firearms storage, and above all, safety. There is a $30.00 charge for the course. Participants are required to supply a handgun, 100 rounds of ammunition, eye and ear protection, and comfortable clothing appropriate for weather conditions. Water, snacks, a hat, sun block, and a sturdy belt and belt holster are strongly recommended.

Those who wish to sign up can contact the Sheriff's Office at (307) 352-4901 or 4903. Shooters are encouraged to sign up early, as class size is limited to 15 people per class.

Commissioner Joel Bousman to attend signing ceremony at the White House for the bill to repeal Planning 2.0 on Monday, March 27, 2017 (posted 3/26/17)
Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!
Update from Commissioner Bousman, Monday, March 27, 7:00AM: "The word I get this morning is that the time has been moved to 3PM ET and that it will likely be televised. No idea if live or to be on later news."

Sunday: Sublette County Commissioner Joel Bousman received a special invitation to attend the signing ceremony with President Trump at the White House in Washington DC on Monday, March 27th as the President signs the bill to repeal the controversial BLM Planning 2.0 rule.

As written, the new rule diluted county input into land management decisions and hinder local government consultation and collaboration with BLM. BLM's Planning 2.0 rule was published on December 13, 2016 and went into effect on January 11, 2017. The National Association of Counties (NACo) and over 60 other groups that represent a broad cross-section of public lands stakeholders supported legislation disapproving of the Planning 2.0 rule. On January 26, NACo joined with 23 state associations of counties, national, regional and state level organizations representing public lands stakeholders in sending a letter urging disapproval of the Planning 2.0 Rule. On February 8, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.J. Res. 44, a resolution disapproving of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Planning 2.0 rule. Commissioner Bousman was involved in this process as Sublette County’s commission representative and as being the President of the Western Interstate Region of Counties (WIR).

The honor invitation came to Commissioner Bousman as a phone call late on Friday, March 24th. He and Nevada Commissioner Jim French we selected as the two county commissioner representatives from across the nation to be at the signing ceremony. The two had been deeply involved in the county input process to argue against Planning 2.0.

With approximately 80% of Sublette County as public land, the new rule effectively moving the decision-making process away from local input could have had a significant negative impact on decisions being made about public land in Sublette County.

Commissioner Bousman made fast travel arrangements and caught a plane from Jackson Hole to Washington D.C. early Sunday morning. The signing ceremony will be on Monday, March 27th at 2:30PM at the White House. NACo is picking up the tab for the travel expenses for the two commissioners.

More pictures from the bill signing here

Related Links:
BLM 2.0 Planning Rule Land Use Planning
House passes resolution disapproving BLMs planning 2.0 rule National Association of Counties (NACo)

Road damage to US 26-89 in the Snake River Canyon as of Friday, March 24, 2017. Photo by Bob Rule, KPIN 101.1FM Radio.
Road damage to US 26-89 in the Snake River Canyon as of Friday, March 24, 2017. Photo by Bob Rule, KPIN 101.1FM Radio.
Snake River Canyon road damage (posted 3/24/17)
Pinedale Online!
The Wyoming Department of Transportation has been monitoring road damage to US 26-89 in the Snake River Canyon due to saturated soil conditions. The highway is open, but a detour had to be put in after part of the road failed in mid-March. The slide area is about two miles south of Hoback Junction. Maintenance crews noticed fissures that were as wide as four inches and as deep as two feet in the Deer Creek Landslide Mitigation area near milepost 139. Two-way traffic is still operating through the detour area. WYDOT is advising travelers to use extreme caution when traveling through this area and to be prepared for potential delays. For the latest information on road closures and other travel information, motorists can visit WYDOT's 511 Travel Information web page at

Related Links:
WYDOT monitors movement on US 26-89 March 17, 2017

Amazon planning nationwide sales tax collection starting April 1 (posted 3/24/17)
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) will start collecting sales taxes from all states with a sales tax beginning April 1, 2017. After April, the only states in which AMZN will not collect taxes are Alaska, Delaware, Oregon, Montana and New Hampshire, which do not have sales levies. Many shoppers do not realize that even if an online retailer does not assess a sales tax because it lacks a brick-and-mortar location in their home state, the state may require payment of taxes on a purchase. States that assess use taxes, which apply to items bought outside one's state of residence, provide ways to report the tax but the reality is that most have been lax in collection.

Related Links:
Amazon to collect tax from Wyoming retail sales beginning March 1, 2017 Governor Matt Mead news release, January 17, 2017

Sniffer Dog. Ripley, a six-year old black lab, works on fecal samples taken from cow elk at Wyoming's feed grounds to identify brucellosis. Photo by Jared Rogerson.
Sniffer Dog. Ripley, a six-year old black lab, works on fecal samples taken from cow elk at Wyoming's feed grounds to identify brucellosis. Photo by Jared Rogerson.
Can dogs smell brucellosis? (posted 3/24/17)
Wyoming Game & Fish Department
Wyoming Game and Fish Brucellosis-Feedground-Habitat personnel are partnering with researchers from Utah State University who are testing the feasibility of using sniffer dogs to identify cow elk that are infected or seropositive for brucellosis. Fecal samples and vaginal swabs were collected at a number of elk feedgrounds. The animals from which samples were collected also had blood drawn and researchers determined which samples to use as the training ‘target' based on the results of their bloodwork.

Two dogs, a black lab and an Australian cattle dog mix, were then trained using a ball reward to discriminate between samples taken from seropositive and seronegative elk.

This project has several goals. Currently, there are few tests for brucellosis in elk that can be conducted quickly in the field. If sniffer dogs can accurately identify infected or seropositive elk, they could provide wildlife managers with another research tool.

The broader implications of this work are that disease detection in wildlife could be conducted without the need to capture and handle animals. For instance, if the question is, "Are any of the animals in this herd sick?" scat samples could be collected by people (with or without dogs) where the animals have recently been. These samples could be taken to another location where trained sniffer dogs run past them, and if they alert to any of the samples, you would have reason to suspect there are infected animals present on that landscape.

Dogs have been used to detect cancer and other diseases. The science underlying much of this sniffer dog work is that when an animal has a particular illness, there are volatile organic compounds present in their breath, feces, or urine, that are unique to that illness, and that dogs can smell and remember. Results are expected later this year. In the meantime the dogs are training every day!

Curlews in Sublette County. Photo by Cat Urbigkit.
Curlews in Sublette County. Photo by Cat Urbigkit.
Long-billed curlew research (posted 3/24/17)
Wyoming Game & Fish Department
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is excited to announce that they have received funding allowing them to continue their long-billed curlew research in Wyoming. The research, initiated in 2015, is being conducted in partnership with the Intermountain Bird Observatory of Boise State University and is part of a larger study including the states of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana.

Research to date has shown that some of the highest densities of nesting long-billed curlews can be found in the wet meadows of the Daniel/Pinedale area. Researchers have already collaborated with many area landowners to document nesting curlews and hope to partner with these and additional willing landowners to expand their research.

"We already knew that curlew numbers in this region were some of the highest recorded in Wyoming, based on a previous study of breeding curlews in Wyoming conducted in the Horse Creek and New Fork areas in the early 1980s," said Wyoming Game and Fish Department Nongame Biologist Susan Patla. "It was reassuring to learn that numbers remain robust and that the abundance of curlews we found in 2015 was higher in Daniel compared to the other study areas in the region."

New funding this year through the Wyoming State Wildlife Grants program will allow researchers the opportunity to revisit this landmark study from 2015 to add a second year of data collection to better understand how curlew abundance and reproductive success varies between years and different weather conditions. Thanks to support from many additional partners, including the Meg and Bert Raynes Wildlife Fund, the Wyoming Wildlife Foundation, Teton Conservation District, Bureau of Land Management and private donations, researchers will also be able to study curlew reproductive success in the Jackson area in 2017 – specifically on the National Elk Refuge and the Kelly hayfields area of Grant Teton National Park. Researchers also plan to deploy up to 11 additional satellite transmitters on breeding curlews in several areas across the state.

"An important thread we’ve seen so far in our research is the importance of working lands, such as flood-irrigated fields, in both breeding and wintering grounds for curlews," says collaborator Jay Carlisle, Research Director at the Intermountain Bird Observatory. "Curlews defend territories during the breeding season and typically return to the same territory they held in the previous year. Traditional ranching and farming practices can be beneficial for curlews and these birds often do well in areas where the vegetation has been grazed to lower heights. Curlews also forage for insects on these agricultural lands."

Researchers will again be seeking permission from private landowners in the Pinedale area for a team of two field biologists to access their land in order to learn more about habitat important for curlews. "With landowner permission, we hope to collect information similar to what we collected in 2015, which was simply to look for and monitor curlew nests, and measure basic habitat features at those nest sites," says Carlisle. "We realize that access to private land is a privilege and would always respect the landowner’s rights and wishes at all times."

The research is planned to be conducted from about April 17th through the end of June and would involve traveling on foot to any off-road locations. "Our field biologists will plan to use minimal equipment and would not be altering or removing anything from the landscape or leaving any equipment behind," says Carlisle. "We would like to take photos, but again, only with the landowner’s permission."

For those landowners willing to participate in the study or wishing to speak directly with one of the researchers, they can contact Jay Carlisle, Research Director at Intermountain Bird Observatory, (208-830-3363). "As we continue to plan logistics, we may give you a call or stop by your property to discuss the project further once we arrive to the area," says Carlisle. "We sincerely appreciate everyone’s interest and willingness to consider providing access to their land."

Related Links:
Curlew Research - Boise State
Curlew on FB - Facebook page

Career Fair in Rock Springs March 29 (posted 3/23/17)
Western Wyoming Community College will host a Career and Transfer Fair on Wednesday, March 29, from 10:00AM until 2:00PM in the Atrium of the Rock Springs campus. Admission to the Career and Transfer Fair is free for job-seekers and for students considering college transfer options. This event is a great opportunity to meet with local HR representatives and college admissions counselors. Dress for success and bring résumés.

The following colleges and employers will be on hand:
All Recycling Inc.
Wyoming National Guard
Chadron State College
City of Rock Springs
Department of Workforce Services
Elwood Staffing
Evanston Child Development Center
Star Valley Medical Center
Sweetwater County Fire Department
Sweetwater County Veteran Services Office
Sweetwater Memorial Hospital
Union Wireless
United States Army
University of Wyoming Outreach School
Utah State University
Volunteers of America
Weber State
Westminster College
Wyoming Department of Correction
Medicine Bow Technologies
Southwest Counseling
Compliance Staffing Agency
Wells Fargo

Pinedale Online Job Board
Pinedale Online Job Board
Looking for a job? (posted 3/23/17)
Current listings on the Job Board – March 23, 2017
Pinedale Online!
Looking for a job around Pinedale? We currently have over 25 jobs listed on the Pinedale Online Job Board. These include everything from oil/gas field jobs (Mechanics, CDL Drivers, Roustabouts), waitresses, ranch hands, camp counselors, dishwashers, kitchen help, cooks, store clerks, bus drivers, cashiers, carpenters, concrete form setters and more. Many of these jobs are "Open Until Filled" which means if you see it listed today it is still open, but it could fill at anytime, so get your application in right away if you are interested in it.

To see the current job listings, go to the Job Board at Click on the link of the job title to get to a more complete job description and the company’s instructions on how they want applicants to apply for the job (don’t contact Pinedale Online to apply - some jobs request no phone calls or walk-ins, please follow their instructions).

Listed jobs as of Thursday, March 23, 2017:
Home Remodeling Handyman, Wind River Stone Scapes, Inc., Closing date: Open Until Filled
Certified Mechanic, White Mountain Operating, Closing date: Open Until Filled
Deputy Clerk Position, Sublette County Treasurer’s Office, Closing date: 4/14/17
Part-time Cleaning Assistant, Clean Wash Laundromat, Closing date: Open Until Filled
Servers, Dishwashers, Morning Breakfast and Cleaning, Hostess, and Kitchen Help, Half Moon Lake Lodge, Closing date: Open Until Filled
Seasonal Lead Day Camp Counselor,Pinedale Aquatic Center, Closing date: 4/14/17
Seasonal Camp Counselor, Pinedale Aquatic Center, Closing date: 4/14/17
Recreation Manager, Pinedale Aquatic Center, Closing date: 4/14/17
CDL Driver – Class B, All American Fuel, Closing date: Open Until Filled
Part-Time Custodian, Pinedale Aquatic Center, Closing date: 4/17/17
Part-time Customer Service Attendant, Rocky Mountain Wash, Closing date: Open Until Filled
Water Truck Driver, Mountain States Water Service Inc., Closing date: Open Until Filled
Outfitter, Wranglers, Experienced Cook, Waitstaff , Boulder Lake Lodge, Closing date: Open Until Filled
Full-Time Calving/Ranch Position, Rocking Chair Cattle Co, Closing date: Open Until Filled
CDL/Roustabout, Diamond T Services, Closing date: Open Until Filled
Boulder 353 Regularly Scheduled Route Bus Driver, Sublette County School District #1, Closing date: Open Until Filled
Part-Time Pharmacy Technician, Altitude Drug, Closing date: Open Until Filled
Assistant Manager/Clerk, All American Fuel, Closing date: Open Until Filled
Delivery Driver/Yard Hand, Pinedale Lumber, Closing date: Open Until Filled
CDL Driver, M & M Transfer, Closing date: Open Until Filled
Cashier Daniel Junction, Daniel Junction, Closing date: Open Until Filled
Roustabout & Water Management Positions, R & R Services, Inc., Closing date: Open Until Filled
Experienced Diesel Mechanics Positions, R & R Services, Inc., Closing date: Open Until Filled
Class A CDL Drivers for Water Hauling Positions, R & R Services, Inc., Closing date: Open Until Filled
Carpenters, Carpenter Helper, Concrete Form Setter Finishers, Sluyter Construction, Closing date: Open Until Filled

Related Links:

Big Piney High School Robotics Team 3288 participated in the Salt Lake City Regional FIRST Robotics Competition. They placed 7th out of 48 teams. Photo courtesy Big Piney Robotics.
Big Piney High School Robotics Team 3288 participated in the Salt Lake City Regional FIRST Robotics Competition. They placed 7th out of 48 teams. Photo courtesy Big Piney Robotics.
Big Piney Robotics Team competes in Salt Lake City (posted 3/22/17)
Big Piney High School Robotics Team 3288 had the opportunity to participate in the Salt Lake City Regional FIRST Robotics Competition in mid-March where they placed 7th out of 48 teams. Now they are preparing to go to the Denver Regional competition.

FIRST Robotics is a program created to inspire young minds. FIRST stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. FIRST helps students have hands on experiences to teach them the importance of STEM related careers. As science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) become more prominent in the world, they—as the rising generation—must keep up.

Every year a new game is created and teams have six weeks to build a robot that will excel in the competition. This year Big Piney High School Robotics team built a robot to fit the challenge "Steamworks". With three teams on an alliance, they worked together to beat the other alliance. Five inch green balls represent fuel. The fuel is scored when it successfully enters the boiler either from the high or low goal. This creates "steam pressure" to help prepare the airship for flight. Robots retrieve and deliver gears to the airship. Two airships are in the middle of the field, one for each alliance. Two pilots are on the airship ready to pull the gears up from the robots and install them so rotors can start turning. At the end of the match ropes are deployed for the robots to climb up.

The team says they are very grateful to have the opportunities given to them and would like to thank everyone for all the support they received. "Without our wonderful sponsors we never would’ve made it this far. These sponsors include Shell, ExxonMobil, EOG Resources, Jonah Energy, Linn Energy, and Chevron," said team coach, Steve Nelson.

Click on this link for more pictures: Big Piney Robotics Team competes in Salt Lake City

Cheyenne Stewart during the Climbing Competition at the Pinedale Aquatic Center on Monday, March 21st. Photo by Terry Allen.
Cheyenne Stewart during the Climbing Competition at the Pinedale Aquatic Center on Monday, March 21st. Photo by Terry Allen.
Climbing Competition - Pinedale Aquatic Center (posted 3/21/17)
Held March 20, 2017
Terry Allen
When Dawn asked me if I'd like to do a story on the PAC Climbing Competition Monday afternoon, I eagerly accepted thinking I might get some great shots of agonized faces from the crow’s nest on top of the climbing wall.

Jason Burton, the competition organizer, just started shaking his head as soon as he saw me walk thru the door and kept on shaking it thru my story about having DNA origins to great ape silverbacks in Africa. "No, no, no," he said. "It ain't gonna happen. I can't even get up there without special training and signatures in triplicate that have to be sent to Washington, DC."

He must have sensed I was about to cry, so he offered to climb up there with his camera and get a few shots of climber faces as they fought to gain the summit.

If you look at the wall, you see all the pretty colored hand-holds. It doesn't mean a home decorator did it, it means that each color is a route up the wall. For example, you follow purple all the way from the bottom to the top if you can. You have to drop back down and start over if you step on or grab any other color. You also have to start over if you fall off the mountain.

Don't worry about falling, tho. You have a choice of a human belayer or an automatic belayer. Your buddy stays on the ground and keeps the rope tight so if you fall, you don't fall very far because he/she pulls the rope hard and stops the fall. Since you depend on your buddy, I noticed the belayers on the ground were all totally focused on the climber they were teamed with. I would be a bad belayer, I'm too sociable. I'd talk, you'd hit the dirt. The automatic belayers are sort of like seat belts. They sense a fall and jerk you to a stop pretty quick. There were about 4 or 5 different colored routes and each one had a different degree of climbing difficulty.

Cheyenne Stewart started this sport in grad school. "I chose this because it was the only sport that totally took my mind off school," she said. "It's a great workout and climbing is a mental puzzle that you have to solve by thinking several steps ahead. It is impossible to think of anything else when you do it."

Thomas Mack was busy wrapping a finger with a Popsicle stick and tape. "I smashed it yesterday," he said. "I'm rebuilding a flat head six and somehow whacked it." You might recognize Thomas driving an old blue and white VW bus with a 1937 VW emblem on the front.

Music meant to inspire good climbing was pulsing from a boom box; and athletes cheered each other on from the ground and clapped and yelled when a competitor reached the top especially after a challenging climb.

If some of the photos look a little foggy, it might be because there was a lot of talc powder in the air. They thrust their hands into little bags of the white powder as they climb to keep their hands from getting slippery from sweat. Sweaty hands means falling off the wall if you aren't careful.

I watched Tilly Bennett stop climbing from time to time and strike an artistic pose. It looked to me like she was just stopping to admire the climb. "I was stopping to rest," she said. "You are right, tho. The first time I saw this sport I watched a man climb and I thought he looked like a dancer just dancing up the wall. I wanted to do that. I am seeking an intuitive way to climb where my hands, feet and body move together in a fluid dance. The more ways one can hold or press, the more fluid one can become."

I expected to see a lot of small, monkey sized people at the competition, but there were gorilla and chimpanzee sized folks too. It didn't seem to matter, everyone attacked their routes and became successful over the course of the four hour competition.

The top three finishers were Kole Stewart in 1st, his wife Cheyenne Stewart in 2nd and Jenn Burton in 3rd. There were cash prizes and a whole lot of other prizes donated by the Great Outdoors Shop.

I saw Britney leaving the PAC in her exercise clothes this morning and asked if the competition had taxed her. "Oh yes," she said. "My quads are really sore, but so are my fingers and the balls of my feet. But I feel great."

One last thing before I go, there are quite a few shots of Cheyenne, because she was so darn good. Look at all those different positions she is in as she climbs that wall. There must be a lot to learn by just studying her work.

Thanks to everyone for helping me understand this sport. Thank you very much Dawn Ballou at Pinedale Online for hiring me to do this community story. Please let me know if I need to correct anything in the story. You may take low rez photos from this story for personal use, just credit the photographer, please. Hi rez images are for sale.

Click on this link for more pictures: PAC Climbing Competition

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