Lander mayor moving forward with July 2 fireworks event; public invited to ‘step up’ and support July 4 display

    The Lander City Council spent the bulk of its regular meeting Tuesday discussing fireworks.

    “Apparently there’s (been a) misunderstanding,” Mayor Monte Richardson said at the beginning of the evening.


    He started the fireworks discussion by going back to 2021, when he said the organizers of the Independence Day rodeo and fireworks show in Lander contacted City Hall to say they would not be able to put on a pyrotechnic display as part of their event that year.

    In response, Richardson said, “the city took the initiative to pay for the insurance and fireworks … out of the general fund.”

    “We stepped up and helped them (for) a couple years,” he said.

    Now, however, Richardson said it’s time for the organizers to “support their own” fireworks display.

    “That’s just where (I) stand,” he said, inviting the public to “step up to the plate and help” plan the July 4 event. “I just don’t think … the city should be (using the) general fund to support that.”


    Richardson is now focused on organizing a community event for Sunday, July 2, at the local golf course, featuring fireworks as well as family-friendly activities and live music.

    He noted that golf course representatives “approached” him with the idea.

    “They were really interested in putting on a fundraiser,” Richardson said, adding, “I think it’d be a good thing for Lander to have more things happening on the Fourth of July weekend (to) bring economic development into the city.”

    The council approved a grant application this week that could help pay for the event – though Councilmember Melinda Cox pointed out that the city could also give the grant money, if awarded, to the Lander Old Timers Rodeo Association to support the July 4 display instead.

    “I can appreciate that you would want to have an event on July 2,” Cox said, addressing Richardson and calling him a “community man.” “But traditions are traditions.”

    Richardson said the July 2 event would “mimic” and “recognize” the fireworks display Brent Bills used to organize in the days leading up to the Fourth of July in Lander.

    “It was just fantastic,” Councilmember John Larsen recalled. “It was a first-class operation, (and) very patriotic.”

    ‘Unhappy people’

    Councilmember Julia Stuble expressed a preference for “the show on the Fourth” – but she acknowledged that the council “does not have the role to weigh in” on that “operational decision.”

    The council does have the role of answering phone calls and emails from constituents, however, Councilmember Josh Hahn said.

    “That all falls on us,” he said. “That puts a lot of weight on our shoulders. (There are) unhappy people that we have to talk with and try and explain – when we don’t know what’s going on in the first place.”

    Richardson said he would work to keep the council better informed “from now on” about his plans for upcoming community events.

    For more information call the City of Lander at 332-2870.

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