Lander’s first Pride Picnic was overwhelming success, organizer said; Over 250 attended

(Lander, Wyo.) – By any measure, Lander’s first ever Lesbian Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) Pride Picnic at city park was an overwhelming success.

“This has been the largest event in the state so far, including Cheyenne and Casper,” said Matthew Baker representing the Human Rights Campaign, which set up an information table at the event.  Baker was gathering signatures in support of the federal Employment Non Discrimination Act. The minimum crowd count at its peak was about 250 people.

“This is so inspiring, it’s fantastic,” said organizer Liz Hardwick. “This gives people an opportunity to express the kind of community we want to live in,” she said. “We have lots of allies here, people who stand for love and acceptance.”

The picnic included a number of side events, including a just over 5K run around town, a bicycle ride and, at the park, a croquet tournament, volleyball, live music with the Low Water String Band, a piñata for the kids, and a pot luck picnic. Participants in the event included a trio of men on an American vacation from France, and state residents from Riverton, Jackson, Casper and Laramie, to mention a few. 

The event began with a short downpour of rain and claps of thunder, but that didn’t dampen spirits at all. With all the rainbow attire, decorations and flags adorning the picnic shelter and park area, a real rainbow, after the rain, made its appearance.

Many in the crowd remarked on the rainbow of diversity attending the event, from the local and reservation communities, representatives from some local churches, politicians who made an appearance, young folks, seasoned citizens, couples with kids, folks with their dogs and such.

“This is such a great turnout for our first pride picnic, which showed it was time,” said Curtis Tronolone and Alyse Guarino, the MCs for the event, who chatted with County 10 as the festivities were about to begin.

In addition to the Human Rights Campaign Fund, the Fremont County Democrats had a table at the picnic.  Spotted in the crowd during the event were three elected officials, St. Sen. Cale Case, R-Lander; St. Rep. Lloyd Larson, R-Lander and County Commissioner Keja Whiteman, D-Arapahoe. Former St. Rep. Del McOmie, was in attendance as he is a candidate for Lander Mayor, and Sergio Maldonado a Democrat seeking nomination in Senate District 25 was also there.

Photos by Ernie Over, Click to enlarge. 



  1. Debra J. East

    This was a great community event. Thanks to all who planned, helped and attended; people had full hearts.

  2. Kevin Roberts

    Stay tuned for news on the upcoming pro-marriage picnic. The silent majority will begin to speak on this issue.

  3. Judy Crawford

    Awesome coverage – thanks for sharing

  4. Julie Tadevich

    So glad to see this!

  5. Jerry Gilland

    The "overwhelming success" with the LGBTQ is just another indicator of how deviate America and the state has become. The life style that LGBTQ promotes is unnatural and ungodly. Your kind did not come into existence by practicing your life style. God did not create Adam and Steve.

  6. Emily Shoutis-Frank

    wish I could have been there, what an awesome picnic. Lander is great, thank you for all who supported this event.

  7. Amber Lynn

    So proud to be part of a community with such open-mindedness and compassion. Way to go Lander, WY!

  8. Alison Frost

    So proud of Lander today! Sorry to have missed it due to vacation. Hoping this will become an annual event!

  9. Gina Marie Clingerman

    Liz Hardwick you are amazing! Thank you for representing! Awesome!

  10. Releasda Kraken

    To quote Bernice King, the daughter of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King: My father did not take a bullet for same sex marriage!

  11. Releasda Kraken

    Nowhere in Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream speech is homosexuality mentioned. Stop comparing being homosexual to being black to further your agenda.

  12. Susan Pitre Rabalais

    Lafayette had the same gathering a few weeks ago.

  13. Dave Gray

    So proud to live in Lander where an event like this can happen.

  14. Patti Rausch

    on what issue? Compassion?

  15. Patti Rausch

    God created love
    "of all of these, the greatest is love"

  16. Jan Gosse

    If this can happen in a small Wyoming town, then the LGBT movement really is grassroots.

  17. Folger Cleaveland

    What a wonderful event and milestone. As a former resident of Lander (1998-2001) I'm so proud of the community, so impressed with the diversity. I had lived there only a short time when Matthew Shepard was killed and was very impressed then at the more somber community gathering to mourn his loss; it made me feel good to be living in Lander.

  18. Liz Shield

    Yay Lander!

  19. Leona Hiebert

    Looks like fun…next time i would like to b ther..i didnt know bout this event..i think it would b educational for my children to know its ok for ther mom to have someone she loves n her life even if its the same sex

  20. Jason Mullett-Bowlsby

    Riverton born and raised here… Congratulations. Never thought to see a celebration like this I'm my lifetime. Keep up the good work!

  21. John Houseman

    God also told us NOT to judge one another!

  22. Perry Cook

    I am proud to be a part of this diverse and tolerant community. Lander is a great community for families, singles, and couples. Let's work to keep it this way.

  23. Darla Meinhard Newell

    Way to go Lander! You folks that attended have my respect and vote.

  24. Rodney Knight

    Faith. Peace, and love and the greatest of these is love

  25. Willy Cunningham

    Attended and glad I did, old friends, new friends and friends I have yet to meet.

  26. John Campbell

    you know, it's said that the people that complain the loudest about homosexuality are the ones who have those thoughts themselves.

  27. Releasda Kraken

    John Campbell That's right Buckwheat…keep telling yourself that! That logic will really take you places.

  28. John Houseman

    John Campbell Even Shakespeare stated something about, "He who doth protest too loudly." :)

  29. Releasda Kraken

    Working as a stringer for a newspaper, I got to be in the court room and know what really happened with the Matt Shepard case. It was not the hate crime the liberal media made it out to be and there was barely a mention of the real story. It was a drug deal gone wrong, plain and simple. Several witnesses, including Aaron Mckinney and local law enforcement and the investigators all testified to this. His sexual orientation was mentioned only once during the proceedings but the media ran with it… (not me). The defense clearly had the case nearly won until it was mentioned that Shepherd was gay and he had been raped while in Morocco. This was a last ditch effort to get a conviction. Had the two defendants been acquitted, they would have been found guilty on the lesser drug charges. Judy Shepherd used the money raised for the Matt Shepherd Foundation to buy a house and take a cruise. People need to know the real story.

  30. Emilie Ryan


  31. John Campbell

    Releasda Kraken just a school of thought thats all. at least i dont claim to be a know it all.

  32. Folger Cleaveland

    I ned to take issue with your characterization of Judy Shepard. Several years later I heard her speak at Amherst College. As far as I know she has dedicated her life to fighting prejudice against gays and supporting gay pride and openness. One repeated message in that speech was "Come out all day, every day". While I also feel that the link between violence and methamphetamine use was overlooked in coverage of the trial, I doubt that Matthews's murder was simply a matter of "a drug deal gone wrong, plain and simple".

  33. Forrest Phillips

    Have to agree with Jerry Gilland !!!!! Very well Stated .Thanks Jerry!!!

  34. Sean Patrick Brennan

    Excellent! So happy for my sisters and brothers in Wyoming!

  35. Nancy Llewellyn

    On the issue of the integrity of our culture. It's possible to be compassionate without compromising that. And when our society disintegrates, everyone loses in the end.

  36. Belinda Huemer

    The sanctimonious tone of some of the commentary on this post is sadly predictable. In case some of you missed it, there are no less than 73 verses in the Bible regarding the SIN of self-righteousness, starting with: Luke 18: 9-14. (The prayer of the Pharisee). "We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another" Jonathan Swift

  37. Mike Shalta


  38. Linda Terry Sall


  39. Amy Blumenshine

    Hurrah for Lander!

  40. Michael P Clancy

    So I take it that you have seen these verses as well….Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, 1 Kings 14:24, 1 Kings 15:12, 2 Kings 23:7, Romans 1:18-32. And yes, there are many more of those as well. Both sides should stay away from the religious aspect because you can oppose each statement with another involving the bible. Do what you think is right and don't push onto others.

  41. Belinda Huemer

    Michael P Clancy I am intrigued by your use of the bifurcation fallacy:
    (BOTH sides should…) Really? Only TWO sides?! There are infinitely more than two points of view on an issue this universally divisive. Yes, indeed I HAVE read the verses you mentioned, which have been used/ abused AD NAUSEUM regarding resistance of equal rights of the LBGTQ community. My intent was to present a reasoned argument to the prevailing theme of mindless condemnation, pointing out clear contradictions. As to your appeal to…"Do what you think is right…" and "…don't push onto others…";For your information, my goal has always been to (do what I think is right", therefore, I do not "push onto others" as you PRESUME. In fact, the motivation for my comment was born from my complete lack of tolerance for BULLIES, and yes, that includes bullies that use DOGMA as a weapon and license to impugn the character /qualities of another in order to convince themselves of their own MORAL superiority. Ironic, really.

  42. Releasda Kraken

    Folger Cleaveland Was this while she was collecting speaking fees for the Matt Shepherd foundation.

  43. Releasda Kraken

    Belinda Huemer bifurcation? There is no such word. There is bitmouse and clandistine…but not bifurcation. Maybe before you go being all high and mighty and arrogant you should use that book called a dictionary.
    While you are at it…where in the Constitution does is guarantee the LGBT same sex marriage?
    LGBT is the new NAZI….
    Using your logic "do what I say not as I do" could be applied to the LGBT. Hitler did the same thing. But you in your narrow thinking will not see that.

  44. Releasda Kraken

    Folger Cleaveland Were you in the courtroom? If you weren't than you would have seen a totally different perspective on the Matt Shepherd case. It was a drug deal gone wrong…but that is not what liberal media would have wanted you to hear

  45. Releasda Kraken

    LGBT is the new Nazi

  46. Releasda Kraken

    John Campbell Well yes but I am

  47. Releasda Kraken

    Where was County10 last Sunday when there was a pro marriage picnic in Lander? Guess County 10 and their journalistic credibility needs to be questioned

  48. Belinda Huemer

    Releasda Kraken Well, RK, are you pretending to be obtuse or…? Regarding " bifurcation fallacy", (aka false dilemma fallacy), while I do understand that the concept of logical fallacy is probably too complex for someone with a seemingly "black and white" worldview, your own apparent resistance to growth as a human being is not my problem. Furthermore, I DO NOT possess the time or PATIENCE to further respond to your tantrums /rants. By the way, it's "clandestine", NOT "clandistine"

Leave a Comment

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Current ye@r *