Ranger Country USA
And a Celebration with Jake Owen
by Terry Allen
April 14, 2018
Thursday evening April 12 at the Sublette County Fairgrounds, Pinedale and Sublette County were celebrated as the nationwide winners of the Polaris Ranger Country USA contest. There were four other finalists, but somehow the county with the lowest population in the lower 48, won. Gary Neeley announced this part so I'll just take his word for it.
Josh Hermes, VP of Marketing for Polaris Industries said the company was looking for a community that embodied hard work, resourcefulness, and the drive to do more. He felt our community had done more than any other to support Ranger's in all their varied uses.
I asked him if he had a Ranger Racing Team, because some of us really liked racing and he grinned and said the new Ranger 1000 had 82 horses, so he figured someone might take advantage of that in ways not thought of yet.
Billy McAdams of Big Piney has had two Rangers. His new one he rolled into an irrigation ditch. He went home got a tractor, stood it up and drove it on home.
Deputy Dan McClure was telling me about his old ranch truck and I was real interested but I told him I had to go over and talk to that lady over there. He looked to where I was nodding and said: "I understand." Lindsey Hayes is from Minnesota and grew up on a farm, but now puts together 20 episodes a year of "Destination Polaris." It's a tv show that goes all over the world telling stories of interesting Polaris machine people. She's just shot a few hours down at the Sandra Millage ranch in Big Piney, so look for it next season.
Koral Pierce was dancing with her Mother and they let me take their picture. I noticed she was missing four front teeth and I guessed it was a result of hockey and she said it was the result of an encounter with a Grizzly. Ha! That's they way you get in one of my stories!
Vivien Klaren was in the drivers seat of a Ranger on the floor and said she had a red one at home. "Gus rides in the seat beside me," she said. "He sits and looks out the window. He's a black cow dog."
Greg Meisner was grilling burgers outside and I asked him if he'd ever grilled one on a hot Ranger engine. "No, but I have warmed up a can of Vienna Sausages on one," he said.
Speaking of stuff you wash down with beer, a few folks commented about the no drinking at the event policy. One young lady said it wasn't much to worry about. "The parking lot was full of people slamming 'em down before they came in for the concert," she said. There's that resourceful, git 'er done, Wyoming attitude, right there!
I didn't get to interview Jake Owen, but I sat in the media section right next to Chuck Daulfin who works for Billboard Magazine. He told me he had interviewed Jake and Jake had said: "Polaris is a big part of my life and my friends."
Ashlee and Austin just moved here from southern Illinois where they had a farm and cattle operation. Austin now works for Game and Fish and Ashlee has an online business called The Sassy Barn Boutique. She does hand painted barn wood signs. She's on etsy and instagram @the sassybarn. Drop her a line and welcome them to the community! I think that might be Austin's hat by the stage in a photo or two.
There was a BIG Ranger giveaway to deserving organizations just before the music started. Lesta Winer accepted one on behalf of our Tip Top Search and Rescue. It will help them respond quickly to those in need.
Jasper Munns accepted one on behalf of The Boy Scouts of America. They are going to use it up at their scout camp on the New Fork.
Marilyn accepted one on behalf of MESA, the therapeutic horsemanship organization. They are going to use it to help muck out stalls, fix fence and other things within their mission.
The music started and I couldn't hear a thing or do anymore interviews so I just tried to figure out how to take pictures in the dark. I had to get a little more creative than usual, I hope you like them. Sorry I didn't include the other musicians in Jake's band. They were not named on his website.
On the way out the door I stopped by Gary Neeley's group. I mentioned it seemed like a good use of a few taxpayer dollars every year to have a county-wide get-to-gether like this. "A party this time of year is fantastic," said Gary. "It's right in between seasons. A free concert might be just the thing. We could call it the Cabin Fever Concert. It would be awesome. What I really like about it is it gets the whole county here."
Hey, sounds like a great idea.
A special thanks to Claire and Christina for getting me set up and in the door, and interviews and photos where I wanted them.
Thank you Dawn Ballou at Pinedale Online for sponsoring this story.
You may all share these low rez photos among yourselves for personal purposes.
Terry Allen: firstname.lastname@example.org