Polaris gives Pinedale a special celebration
Pinedale Mayor Bob Jones and Polaris representative Josh Hermes, VP of Marketing for Polaris Industries, unveil a small version of a bigger sign that will installed in Pinedale. Photos by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!
Jason Munns (Left) representing Troop 18 & 851, said they will use their new RANGER at Camp New Fork. MC Dave Stephens stands to his right.
Maggie from Pinedale raises her hand saying 'I know the answer!' hoping Dave will pick her.
For being chosen to be ‘RANGER Country USA’
by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!
April 15, 2018
Last fall, Polaris rolled out its 1 millionth RANGER off the assembly line. To celebrate that milestone, Polaris began a search for "RANGER Country USA." Five towns were nominated that embody the hard-working values of RANGER and represent the RANGER Country lifestyle. The votes were tallied, and Pinedale, Wyoming won.
Polaris hosted a RANGER Country USA party for Pinedale which included an official naming ceremony, donation of three Polaris RANGER vehicles to deserving organizations, and a special guest appearance. The celebration was held on Thursday, April 12th at the Sublette County Fairgrounds. Their special guest performance was a concert by country music singer Jake Owen and members of his band. Sublette County residents got free tickets to attend the event.
As this was a huge event for the county, it involved a well-planned massive coordination effort by many people including the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office, Tip Top Search and Rescue, Sublette County Emergency Management, the Sublette County Fire Department, the Town of Pinedale, Wyoming Highway Patrol, the Sublette County Fairgrounds staff, the Pinedale Lions Club, and many volunteers. There were people doing traffic control on the highway, people assisting with orderly parking, people manning the metal detection screening at the entry gate, and event staff people inside for all the set up and event coordination. Pitchfork Fondue of Pinedale provided the food services for the event.
Local Pinedale Polaris dealer, Bucky’s Outdoors, was on hand and helped greatly with getting Pinedale on the Polaris radar as truly being the best candidate to win the title of RANGER Country USA. Four-wheelers and snowmobiles are embedded in the daily life, work, and recreation for the locals of Sublette County.
The other towns in the Polaris RANGER Country USA competition were Spring Creek, Nevada; Darlington, Wisconsin; Stephenville, Texas; and Corning, Arkansas. Each community created a video explaining why they should be declared the one that best fit the title. Polaris also donated RANGERS to those communities as part of their promotional event.
The event was organized to accommodate over 2,000 people and our guess is that close to that were present. It was held in the big event building at the Sublette County Fairgrounds. There were many models of RANGER vehicles on display throughout the parking lot and inside the event hall showcasing the new 2019 models.
On either side of the actual stage was a huge flat screen monitor. Polaris brought a camera crew with a stationary camera at the back, a camera mounted up above the stage to look down at the action, and several roving cameramen, all combined to make a professional multi-camera shoot of the event. It allowed those sitting in the very back bleachers to get an up-close view of what was happening on stage as it displayed on the two big screens.
Local auctioneer Dave Stephens entertained the audience with Polaris ‘Did You Know?’ questions while everyone waited for the huge crowd of people to flow in and get seated. Many Polaris t-shirts were given out and some lucky people won big coolers. As the time got nearer for the event to start, the Polaris people started shooting off t-shirts in t-shirt cannons, to the thrill of the people in the audience and those who caught the projectiles.
Dave Stephens served as MC for the event on stage and first introduced Josh Hermes, VP of Marketing for Polaris Industries. Hermes explained why Polaris was doing the promotion, in celebration of the making of their millionth RANGER, and that Pinedale won by receiving over 300,000 votes to be picked ‘RANGER Country USA.’ He gave recognition to Bucky’s Outdoors, our local Polaris dealer in Pinedale, and their years of loyalty to Polaris, going back to founders Bucky and Lucy Neely, and their son Gary. The dealership ownership has now been passed on to Sandy Sletten, but the Neely family is still very much a part of helping the business and using Polaris 4-wheelers and snowmachines for work and play.
Pinedale Mayor Bob Jones was introduced and he thanked Polaris for this recognition. Local community leaders helped Polaris pick the three deserving organizations that would each win a Polaris RANGER. The criteria for the winners was that they be organizations that help out the community, and the RANGER gift would help make their organization stronger so they could do their job better. "Polaris, we can’t thank you enough for doing this for us," Mayor Jones said.
At that point, Hermes and Jones unveiled a small version of a sign that is to be installed in Pinedale later the next week. The sign declares Pinedale as Polaris RANGER Country USA. The big version of the sign will go on the outside of the old town hall building on Pinedale’s main street.
Dave Stephens then introduced Bucky’s Outdoors owner Sandy Sletton so they could announce the three organizations who won the new RANGERS and give them the keys to their new vehicles. The three winners were Tip Top Search & Rescue, the local chapter of Boy Scouts of America, and MESA Therapeutic Horsemanship
Lesta Winer, representing Tip Top Search & Rescue, said, "This will definitely allow us to quickly respond to those in need. We have over 5,000 square miles of territory to cover. This new RANGER will help us to transport people and gear to search areas."
Jasper Munns was introduced on stage to accept the new RANGER keys on behalf of the local chapter of Boy Scouts of America. "Troop 18 and 851 will use our new RANGER in our scout camp at Camp New Fork. We’ll do service work in the community and get more boy scouts in the mountains," he said.
Marilyn Jensen got to take the keys on behalf of MESA Therapeutic Horsemanship, an organization that does equine-assisted riding therapy for individuals with a wide range of physical, cognitive and emotional challenges. Funding for the program is paid for by grants and donations, so families receiving the therapy do not have the economic burden of the program. MESA stands for Mind, Energy, Spirit, Attitude. "Our new RANGER will be used to feed horses, muck out stalls, and keep the horses where they need to be. The kids really appreciate it," she said.
The presentation ended with a thank you to Gary Neely and Sandy Sletten of Bucky’s Outdoors, and Maureen Rudnick of the Town of Pinedale for their countless hours preparing for this event.
With that, Dave Stephens introduced the entertainment part of the show to bring out Country Western star Jake Owen and his band who gave an outstanding musical concert. People danced in the aisles, and many migrated from their seats to down in front of the stage to enjoy a close up view of the band. Jake and the band were a real treat!
At one point near the end of the concert, someone up front by the stage threw a ball cap hat up to Jake, which he caught. The hat said "Waterhole #3." One of the girls up front invited the band to come out to the Waterhole after the show. Waterhole #3 is a bar in Marbleton, just a couple miles down the road. Jake laughed and proceeded to delight the crowd by singing an impromptu personalized song about "Watering hole #3." If you’re wondering where the name came from, ‘Waterhole #3’ was a movie made in 1967. It was hugely known and popular even into the 70s when the bar was opened in Marbleton. It was a western comedy set in the late 1800s after the Civil War, starring James Coburn, involving a search for a buried cache of stolen Army gold and the antics that ensued. Great movie, rent it sometime.
We don’t know if Jake and the band made it out to Waterhole #3 after the concert. He said his next stop was Las Vegas. But we hope, if not, someday he and the band members will return when they have more time and experience the amazing outdoor lifestyle of the Pinedale area that earned us the title of Ranger Country USA. 80 percent of our county is public land, forest and open sage range land with miles and miles to explore, camp, fish, and hunt on. There are hundreds of miles of trails to play on with 4-wheelers and snowmobiles. There are places you can go in the backcountry and not see another human being for days. There are places you can stand in the mountains and look out and see for a hundred miles. There are lakes you can go to and not see a single man-made structure around the entire lake shore to impair the view. There are more antelope and cattle in Sublette County than people. We are so rural there isn’t a single traffic stop light in the entire county - for real. (The manually activated crosswalk light in Pinedale doesn’t count.) We have real cowboys here, and don’t be surprised if you drive down the road and find yourself stopped for half an hour by a cattle drive going down the highway, with hundreds of cattle taking the entire road guided along by cowboys (and cowgirls and cowkids) on horses moving the herd from one pasture to the next. And we’re pretty proud of that and them.
The concert ended with the local sheriff’s office and Wyoming Highway Patrol again guiding traffic out of the fairgrounds complex and safely out onto the highway, and a long line of red tail lights in the blackness of night headed the 30 miles back to Pinedale.
Thank you, Polaris!
Click on this link for more pictures from the event: Ranger Country USA