Behind the lines: Community support

    Guest Posts on County 10 are provided by contributors and the opinions, thoughts, and comments within are their own and may not necessarily reflect those of County 10.

    It was a busy night for the Riverton volleyball team at the 2-A West Tournament last weekend. The girls sold Italian sodas at a table near the exit of the concession stand and in the space of just four hours, made $3000 in sales.

    That’s a lot of customers at four dollars a soda, $750 an hour for four hours.


    It’s a message that was reflected by Riverton girls’ soccer coaches Azia Waheed and Jarrit Watson who manned the concession stand with their girls for all three days of the tournament.

    Evidently, it’s a message that didn’t make it to the Riverton Chamber of Commerce. The lack of interest in events like the Class 2-A West Tournament, the Ron Thon Wrestling Tournament, and the occasional 3-A or 4-A regional event held at Wolverine Gym by Riverton businesses is legendary.

    The local businesses don’t mind booking motel rooms to capacity, having wait lists hours long to serve meals, selling untold amounts of water, energy drinks, and having thousands of parents from small communities buying groceries and other goods they just don’t want to lift a finger to help bring in this revenue.

    The lack of interest in events that can generate much-needed boosts to the local economy is depressing.


    Over the course of the three-day event visiting coaches repeatedly asked locals where they could feed their teams far too many times.

    We all know the lament of service industry business owners, “We just can’t find any help.” That’s the suspected reason that several well-known, well-respected restaurants closed their doors during the height of the tournament. Many teams have frequented these establishments for over a quarter-century, but not this year, they were closed.

    It’s the background music to the Riverton economy, and it’s one of the reasons we’re viewed so poorly by the rest of the state.


    Rallying for an event that brings over 3,000 people from out of town might be a good idea. Even the fast-food places had impossibly long wait times this weekend. The Greybull team waited over two hours to be served at one fast food chain. They sat in the lobby, being ignored while the non-stop drive-through customers were served. At least they finally were able to feed the kids.

    If you’re one of those businessmen or women reading this, no, it’s not the same everywhere. Casper dives in to support the state volleyball, wrestling, basketball, and state track meets they host.

    Estimates range from an extra eight to 12 million dollars rolling into the Oil City at each of these culminating events.


    We could join them, but first, the people who could make a difference have to pay attention and generate interest, it can’t always come from the school alone.

    On the subject of the school, the tournament was a good one. Well organized, well scheduled, and a tribute to the efforts of Riverton activity directors Reggie Miller and Tim Bell.

    Tournaments bring out the best and the worst in fan behavior. Were fans ever knowledgeable of the rules and able to support their team without taunting the other squad and constantly whining about the officials?

    News flash, without officials you don’t have prep athletics, or competitive athletics at any level.

    One anonymous voice screaming from the stands epitomized the weekend. As Rocky Mountain’s Shelby Wambeke and Emma Miller of Wind River got into a little heated shoving under the basket, then did it again on the other end, they were both called for the identical foul just seconds apart.

    The anonymous expert screamed, “Call it both ways ref!” Game officials sitting along the end line watching the game broke into hysterical laughter, “He just did!” they collectively said.

    Other things were fun to watch. During downtime, while they were watching another couple of teams play, the Rocky Mountain girls had a styling salon going on in the stands. Girls love to do each other’s hair.

    That’s probably what happened in the motel room with the Kemmerer girls as well. They came into the championship game with an amazing collection of braids, twists, and stylish hair designs.

    There must be more to do in Kemmerer than work at the power plant. These kids did a great job on their hairstyles.

    The Shoshoni girls had a disappointing season fraught with injuries, but it was great to see the excitement and enthusiasm of Lady Blue senior Abby Jennings when she hit a 3-point shot. Jennings missed the majority of the season with a severe concussion but came back in the final weeks.

    Each time she hit a long-range bomb, she took a little hop step of excitement as the ball ripped the net. Isn’t enthusiasm great, it’s one of the reasons we play the game.

    The mark of any good tournament is close games. There were a pair of overtime games on the weekend in the boys’ tournament.

    Wind River lost a heartbreaker to Big Piney in the opening round and Rocky Mountain almost turned a disappointing season around against that same Puncher squad going into overtime after missing a layup with just seconds left in regulation. Big Piney won by five and went on to take the third-place seed into the state tournament.

    If you’re a Fremont County basketball fan, you learn quickly that the Wyoming Indian Chiefs have the best following of any team in the state. If the Chiefs or Lady Chiefs are playing in Rapid City, Billings, or Ft. Hall, Idaho the visiting section will be filled with loyal Wyoming Indian fans.

    The Wind River girls were upset 45-44 by Kemmerer in the semi-finals in a game starting at 3 p.m. Friday. The fans remained in their seats for the next game, not because they’re Big Piney and Greybull fans, but because they’re from Fremont County and enjoy the Chiefs and Lady Chiefs.

    Rocky Mountain played the next semi-final game against the Lady Chiefs at 6 pm.

    A few Lady Grizzly fans don’t understand the fan base the Lady Chiefs and Chiefs can generate.

    Big Horn County fans entered the gym and tried to find seats behind their bench, but Wind River fans were already filling several rows.

    It got a bit ugly quickly. One vocal woman kept accusing the Cougar fans of being selfish and demanding they give up their seats.

    You already know the response, “Give it up Karen,” came a voice from the Wind River crowd. The angry Rocky fan started to video them with her cell phone as if it had some magic power. It didn’t work either as the locals waved, smiled, and called her Karen repeatedly.

    Call it fans behaving badly or just a clash of cultures, but it was not a big deal. Many people saw the humor in it and just laughed at the situation.

    Another February, another regional tournament.

    Let’s keep it in Riverton but remember there is no guarantee. Casper would love to hold this event as would Rock Springs or Cody, and their businesses know the value of thousands of potential customers.

    It’s time for the chamber to step up to the plate.


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