2022 Year in Review

2022 Year in Review Main Photo

6 Jan 2023

January 6, 2022

The 2021 Citizen of the Year for the Weston County Gazette this year is none other than local philanthropist Carla Materi. Weston County Assessor Kara Lenardson took the Oath of Office from County Clerk Becky Hadlock on Monday. Michele Murray, of Upton, is employed as a teacher at the Wyoming Honor Conservation Camp & Boot Camp, a minimum security prison north of Newcastle, and she informed the Gazette about a case of “green thumb” spreading among the inmates there at the Honor Camp.

January 13, 2022

Marty Ertman was once again voted in as chairwoman of the Weston County Commission on Tuesday. Nathan Todd is vice chair. The Upton Mat Cats were awarded the Team Sportsmanship award at the 9th Annual Brandon Delzer Memorial Wrestling Tournament in Sturgis on Saturday. Team members are Coach Dalton Douglas, Coach Chris Schneider, Josie Dean, Raegyn Stockler, Liam Douglas, Cannon Cowger, Merik Toth, Kaegan Hiatt, Eithan Fowler, Brendan Sanderson, Jeremiah Fowler, Nathan Fowler, Brayton Douglas, Ryder Hamilton, Douglas Barton, Trey Schneider, Nathan Sanderson, and Chase Juliano. The Bobcats made the trek to South Dakota last Thursday to take on the Lead-Deadwood Golddiggers. The score at the half was 59-17 and the final was 81-33, Upton winning. Dawson Smith had a breakout game, scoring 21 points. Reece Barritt chipped in 20. Luca Brooks rounded out the scoring with 17.

January 20, 2022

During the January meeting of the WCSD7 Trustees, Upton High School English Instructor Christina Parks brought in a retinue of freshmen students for a presentation on Victorian England. The students, many dressed in period clothing, educated the Trustees and WCSD7 Administrators on the clothing, history, and etiquette of Victorian England. A great crowd was on hand at the Campbell County Public Library in Gillette on Saturday for the combined poetry reading and booksigning held by awardwinning Upton poet Nicholas Trandahl and Canadian poet Brandon McQuade, currently of Gillette. The event was also streamed live by several hundred viewers from across the world. The Special Olympics team participated in their first practice at Terry Peak. We currently have four members, including Chord Toth, Jacob McNutt, Abby Mullins, and Terry Anderson.

January 27, 2022

A Town Hall meeting was held at Boal Auditorium on Monday night, hosted by Representative Chip Neiman. The purpose of the Town Hall was to discuss the proposed redistricting of Weston County facing legislators in the upcoming general legislative session. The election results for the Upton Chamber of Commerce for 2022 are as follows: Buffy Helwig, president; Clark Coberly, vice president; Kelly Wozney, secretary; Roxie Taft, treasurer; Kelley Millar, two-year board member; Walt Riehemann, three-year board member; Scott Evans and Gloria Knapp, owners of the Iron Town Tavern, co-oneyear board members. The Upton High School Students of the Month are Chord Toth (freshman), Sophie Louderback (sophomore), Rylee Davis (junior), and Jerrica Caylor (senior).

February 3, 2022

Weston County Health Services have hired tow new physicians to see their Newcastle and Upton Clinic patients. Dr. Cary Bybee and Dr. Sara Bybee. They are a married couple with three children and are looking forward to being in a rural area and practicing medicine and farming. They are relocating to the area from Oregon. The Red Onion Museum in Upton invited the Upton Elementary First Grade Class to visit the museum last Wednesday, to get some hands-on experience with the lost art of butter-making. Anita Shepperson, new to the museum, went through the whole process with the children, and they got to taste the product of their labors when finished. Reece Barritt was chosen for the Shrine Bowl team and Nathan Baker was chosen as an alternate to represent the North Team at the Wyoming Shrine Bowl to be held in June in Casper.

February 10, 2022

The University of Wyoming lists seven students from Weston County on the 2021 fall semester President’s Honor Roll. Students from Newcastle are: Jordan Terese Daniele, Courtney Rainbolt, and Peyton R. Tystad. From Upton: Dawson T. Butts, Riley T. Coburn, Jared Hylander, and Daniel C. Wozney. The final ended 71-57, with Upton over the Hawks from Broadus, Montana. Luca Brooks was again outstanding with 27 points, 9 assists, and 8 rebounds. The Bobcats had three other players in double figures (Barritt 15, Smith 12, and Mills 10). Baker did the dirty work, coming away with 11 rebounds (7 offensive).

February 17, 2022

Joe Samuelson of Upton is set to take the helm of Upton high School as Principal, beginning with the 2022-2023 school year. On Friday, Upton Police Officer Dave Larson responded to a call at Joe’s Food Center in the late afternoon in which a 35-year old female stated she had been held in a vehicle for ten hours, traveling to three states. She had been threatened torture during the ride. The alleged perpetrator has been identified as a 29-year old male, who is known to the victim. The Bobcats picked up another conference win last Friday against an undermanned but very hardworking Midwest Oilers team. It was a special night as the Bobcats’ four outstanding seniors, Luca Brooks, Reece Barritt, Dawson Smith, and Nathan Baker, were honored before their last game on Upton’s court.

February 24, 2022

Upton High School Senior Alyson Louderback has signed her Letter of Intent to continue her volleyball career at Black Hills State University this coming fall. Louderback, who is a 3-time All-Conference and a 2-time All-State selection and the 1A Northeast Player of the Year, becomes the first student-athlete from UHS to sign and play a college sport since 2017. Attending the FIRST Tech Challenge, held virtually, were the Upton “Do Overs”, coached by Karla Ludemann. Team members are Joseph Morgan, James Locke, Garrette Locke, Brodie Kelly, Clayton Johnson, and Matthew Stirmel. High School Students of the Month for January are Senior Luca Brooks, Junior Paige Timberman, Sophomore Chase Mills, and Freshman Breeley Materi.

March 3, 2022

Josh Womack, 220 lbs., from the Newcastle/Upton Wrestling team won first place over Carson Tims of Mountain View by a decision of 2-0. Josh was also chosen for All-State. The Upton Bobcats dominated the 1A East Regional Tournament this past week, earning the championship. Upton’s Special Olympics Ski team participants in the Area Games at Terry Peak Ski Area were Abby Mullins, Jacob McNutt, Terry Anderson, and Chord Toth.

March 10, 2022

The Upton Bobcats made more history Saturday night, winning their second State title in as many years with a great tournament run. Lily Trandahl, sophomore at Upton High School, has two poems published in the forthcoming spring edition of the Duck Head Journal, a quarterly Wyomingbased literary journal which published poetry and short fiction. Lady Cats earning AllConference were Jerrica Caylor, Brooklyn Materi, Sophie Louderback, Paige Timberman, and Alyson Louderback. Jerrica, Alyson (also in 2021), and Sophie also earned All-State.

March 17, 2022

Upton Chamber of Commerce Board Members installed last Saturday were Gloria Knapp, board member; Kelley Millar, board member; Clark Coberly, vice president; Buffy Helwig, president; Kelly Wozney, secretary; Brittany Trandahl, past president; Roxie Taft, treasurer; and Walt Riehemann, board member. Changes are happening in the community as Buffy Helwig and Jaki Gustaf will be opening a brand new coffee shop this next month. Helwig and Gustaf, who have co-owned Joe’s Food Center since 2020, have been in the process of renovating the store for the past month to bring coffee back into Upton. Roxanne Duarte, who has been the manager of the Cedar Pines Golf Course in Upton, will be stepping down from the management position April 1 to pursue other opportunities.

March 24, 2022

Upton FBLA members attending the State Leadership Conference in Laramie were Advisor Karla Ludemann, Matthew Stirmel, Chase Mills, Reece Barritt, Lola Wozney, Kailer Duarte, Brooklyn Materi, Kelly Cork, Erin Bears, Hailey Turner, Jerrica Caylor, Clayton Johnson, and guest Amanda Knapp. The Upton Elementary/ Middle School Students of the Month for February are: K-Sawyer Todd, 1st-Amber Tacy, 2nd-Finnely Todd, 3rd-Logan Biley, 4th-Connor Cook, 5th-Vivien Cowger, 6th-Raylee Materi, 7thPeyton Wilson, and 8th-Gwen Murray.

March 31, 2022

Jackie Cowger and Vivien Cowger. Co-chairwomen of the Upton Veteran’s Project, held their second annual Daddy-Daughter Dance this past Friday. Nearly 120 people attended the event, and over $3,000 was earned. Upton Senior Luca Brooks qualified for the Wyoming State Track meet this past Friday at the Laura Chord Memorial Track Meet in Newcastle, placing first in 100m dash, long jump, and triple jump. The seventh grade girls relay team of Madeline Prichard, Lilly Jackson, Caden Simianer, and Sophia Riehemann placed first in the 4x400 last weekend in Newcastle.

April 7, 2022

The Upton Men's and Women's Track teams were scheduled to compete in the Mick Tonkel Fly High Classic in Upton, but a nighttime snowstorm required Upton to postpone the meet. Although the track meet was postponed, the track team honored Upton senior track athletes Nathan Baker, Reece Barritt, Luca Brooks, Aidan Coberly, Calla Butler, Jerrica Caylor, Alyson Louderback, and Aloria Miller. As of Monday, Barton Road now has posted 35 mph speed limit signs, and signs warning of sharp turns and lower speed limits around those corners. Kudos to the residents of Barton Road in their persistence in getting the somewhat sluggish cogs of county government turning.

April 14, 2022

The final piece of the Upton Co-op’s expansion is set to be completed at the end of April, opening the entire new expansion for good. Those attending the State FCCLA Convention in Cheyenne were advisors Amanda Bishop and Lara Coberly, Aidan Coberly, Lillyawna Barton, Kelly Cork, Hannah Stirmel, Erin Bears, Lilly Jackson, Leah Keever, Peyton Wilson, Sophia Riehemann, Rylee Donner, Xyla Rehling, and Reece Riehemann. Kailer Duarte and Cullen Davis competed in the varsity pole vault Thursday at the Mick Tonkel Fly High Classic in Upton. They both qualified for State at this meet, vaulting 10’10”.

April 21, 2022

Special guest Mr. Peep the Easter Bunny was in attendance last Saturday for the annual Chamber of Commerce Egg Hunt at the City Park. Upton High School Students of the Month for March are Garrette Locke (senior), Brooklyn Materi (junior), Matthew Stirmel (sophomore), and Kelly Cork (freshman). March Students of the Month for Upton Elementary and Middle School are Rowdy Watt, kindergarten; Baylee Philpot, 1st; Sadie Jackson, 2nd; Josie Dean, 3rd; Tayvin Huckins, 4th; Aiden Keller, 5th; Whitney Barritt, 6th; Caden Simianer, 7th; and Addison Gustaf, 8th.

April 28, 2022

Upton High School Senior Aidan Coberly, son of Clark and Lara Coberly, has officially made his college decision, taking him to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. The acceptance is a grand accomplishment for Coberly, as the Naval Academy is very selective with an 8% acceptance rate. The Advocate State Award for Excellence by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners is given annually to an individual in each state who has made a significant contribution toward increasing awareness and recognition of Nurse Practitioners. The Wyoming Advocate recipient for 2022 is area physician Dr. Heith Waddell of Sundance. UHS Students participating in the Stock Market Game were: Cammie Biley, Ashlyn Bunker, Joseph Morgan, Caleb Oby, Brittney Rainbolt, and Gunnar Murray.

May 5, 2022

Aidan Coberly was selected as Prom King, with Jerrica Caylor selected as Prom Queen. Kindergarten attendees were Sawyer Todd and Chase Heinrich. Father and daughter published poets, Nick and Lily Trandahl of Upton, made the trek to Douglas over the weekend for the annual two-day WyoPoets Spring Workshop. Lily applied for a received a student scholarship to attend to workshop for free. An emerging poet with poems already published in literary journals and anthologies, Lily participated in her first poetry reading during the event. This past weekend, the last original building at the Upton Co-op was completely demolished, relocating inventory and furnishings to the new building, allowing it to be opened.

May 12, 2022

FirsTier Bank would like to introduce you to Craig Barta, the new Market President in Upton. Craig and his wife Lori have relocated from Broken Bow, Nebraska. Rich Hillman of Upton has a head start on tomatoes he is growing at the Goodwell, Inc. office. Rich is the facility custodian. He planted the seeds January 22 for Ed and Donna Hogue and himself. The Lady Cats 4X100m relay team took first in Sundance last Friday. Team members are Zoey Wilson, Lola Wozney, Sophie Louderback, and Maddie Mills.

May 19, 2022

At the UHS Activities Banquet held on Monday, Alyson Louderback was selected as Female Athlete of the Year, and Luca Brooks and Reece Barritt were selected as the Co-Male Athletes of the Year. Class of 2022 Valedictorian is Aidan Coberly, and Salutatorian is Reece Barritt. Brooklyn Materi was chosen as the Girls Powder River Player of the Year, and Logan Timberman was chosen as the Boys Powder River Player of the Year.

May 26, 2022

The Class of 2022 were sent off well-prepared on Sunday. The scholarships awarded them were in excess of $1,000,000.00. Aidan Coberly received the Balfour Award, given to the student the staff believes is the best example of what all of us, students and adults alike, should strive to be. Coberly receives a medal and will have his name added to the plaque which hangs in the high school. Alyson Louderback received the Citizenship award, given to the senior who best exemplifies being a good citizen—someone who has been a force in making the school and community a better place. Reece Barritt received the Activities Award, given to the student the staff feels possesses the qualities of leadership, commitment, and determination. Barritt demonstrates these while taking part in a wide variety of school activities where he has excelled. Darian Samuelson, UHS Science instructor, has named High School Science Teacher of the Year by the Wyoming Science Teacher’s Association. Seven eighth grade students received the Presidential Award for outstanding academic excellence at the awards assembly last Monday. The students are Addison Gustaf, Bella Keller, Holly Trandahl, Xyla Rehling, Reece Riehemann, Nathan Sanderson, and Trey Schneider. The Upton Veterans flags have found a permanent home in Veterans’ Row in the beautiful Upton City Park. Project coordinator Jackie Cowger had wanted the memorial to be started before Memorial Day, and the Upton City Crew and Town Council helped to make that dream come true.

June 9, 2022

With a District Court ruling in his favor, Commissioner Barton is free to finish his term as Weston County Commissioner, on behalf of the Weston County voters that elected him into office for his second term in the last election. Sheridan College is pleased to recognize students named to its honor rolls for the spring 2022 semester. From Weston County, Dylon Tidyman of Newcastle and Anathasia Schiller of Upton were named to the Vice President’s Honor Roll.

June 16, 2022

The first May Yard of the Month recipient is Ken and Brenda Weimer. Since moving into their house, they have worked diligently to improve their yard by adding rock to accent the lawn, along with keeping up with other basic yard work. Upton-Sundance Patriot Reece Barritt was selected to play in the 49th annual Wyoming Shrine Bowl AllStar football game in Casper last Saturday. Reece’s position was defensive corner for the North Team, who went on to win the game. The “Best Town on Earth” was well-represented at the Wyoming Association of Municipalities (WAM) Summer Conference held this last week in Laramie. Attending the conference from Upton, were Councilmen Joe Watt and Nick Trandahl, City Clerk-Treasurer Kelley Millar, Upton Police Chief Susan Bridge, and City Superintendent Mark Lindstrom.

June 23, 2022

The Upton City Pool celebrated its first official week of operations, with the first day of summer swimming season taking place Monday. Members of Upton Prairie and Pines 4-H spent time this past Thursday planting new flowers into the planters in downtown Upton. Members planting were Pyper Arthur, Cannon Cowger, Kelly Cork, and Vivien Cowger. When one of the Upton Books for Brains Scholarship’s largest supports, Karen Ackerman, passed away, husband Bill decided to continue to legacy of his late wife by donating the proceeds of the Karen Ackerman Memorial to the scholarship. Currently, the memorial has raised $2,425 for the scholarship.

June 30, 2022

Aly Kruger, Upton Middle School English teacher, has been selected as the Weston County School District #7 Teacher of the Year for the 21- 22 school year. Kruger joined the Upton Middle School staff in 2019, directly after graduating college. Commissioner Barton moved to appoint Kristen Kohlbrand as Weston County Health Officer. This was seconded by Commissioner Todd, and the motion carried. Recent Upton High School graduates Luca Brooks and Alyson Louderback participated in the Wyoming vs. Montana All-Star games. Brooks and Louderback will conclude their high school athletic careers in Casper, as Brooks will be playing basketball in the North/South game, and Louderback will be playing in the North/South volleyball game.

July 7, 2022

The Upton Seniors have been cleaning up and preparing the planter by the Upton Senior Center for some flowers. Schroeder’s Greenhouse in Upton donated all their full-sun annuals inventory to the Center for the planter. Donna and Kelvin Kennedy donated some soil. Aidan Coberly, a graduate of Upton High School, was inducted into the Naval Acadmey Class of 2026 Thursday, June 30, and will begin six challenging weeks of basic midshipman training as part of Plebe Summer. Two educators from Weston County were selected from a strong pool of nominees to participate in the inaugural cohort of the WTMC. Kasi White of Upton and Kathleen Engle of Newcastle will be participating.

July 14, 2022

Upton Fun Days is back! This weekend the Upton Chamber of Commerce hosts its annual Fun Days celebration. This year, Fun Days will feature “Think Upton First 2.0” as the official theme. Attending the FBLA National Leadership Conference in Chicago, Illinois were advisor Karla Ludemann, guest Amanda Knapp, Hailey Turner, Matthew Stirmel, Chase Mills, Kailer Duarte, and Clayton Johnson.

July 21, 2022

Recent UHS graduate Hailey Turner was crowned the Upton Fun Days Queen. Hailey has been riding in the front of this parade since she was a small child. Sandy Hart, the 2021 recipient of the Chamber Citizen of the Year, presented Rick Rothleutner, 2022 Citizen of the Year, with the plaque during Saturday’s parade. At Fun Days, the Upton Economic Development Board and the Upton Chamber of Commerce sponsored free T-shirts for all. The group of girls distributing them at the barbecue were Holly Trandahl, Reece Riehemann, Emma Gustaf, Addison Gustaf, and Sophia Riehemann. These young cousins are likely the next generation of Chamber members.

July 28, 2022

Recent Upton High School graduates participated in the Wyoming Coaches Association All-Star volleyball and basketball games in Casper last Saturday. Alyson Louderback competed in the North volleyball team, with Luca Brooks and Jerrica Caylor playing for the basketball teams. County Homeland Security Emergency Management Coordinator Gilbert Nelson explained that the American Red Cross was trying to increase their number of emergency shelters in the country. This includes Weston County, where Upton will get its first ever Red Cross shelter. Nathan Sanderson, Brendan Sanderson, and Liam Douglas attended the Muley Fanatics Youth Fun Shoot near Keyhole Reservoir on Saturday. They didn’t come home empty handed. All three young shooters garnered prizes.

August 4, 2022

Upton alumni Josie Olson, daughter of Lori Materi and Joe Olson, graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the West Point Military Academy. Ranked 127 out of 1018 graduates, Olson earned Magna Cum Laude in her class. Weston County School District #7 announced two Coaches of the Year this year. Beau Garcia for 2A Girls Golf and Joe Samuelson for 1A Boys Basketball. Federal, state, and local firefighters are responding to the Fish Wildfire near Sundance. The fire was reported at approximately 11:30 a.m. on July 31. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

August 11, 2022

The Upton Chamber of Commerce “Meet the Candidates” event was held at Boal Auditorium Monday night, and in contrast to other public political forums held this election season in Weston County, professionalism and order prevailed. Newcastle’s oldest bank is set to change ownership for the first time in 58 years, purchased by a bank in Buffalo, according to an announcement this week. An agreement has been reached for the First State Bank of Newcastle to be acquired by the First Northern Bank of Wyoming. Weston County resources worked throughout the night on the Fish Fire in Crook County, and were released the next morning. The southern fire line ended up holding, and at the nearest point, the fire was about 3.5 miles from the Weston County line. The fire did impact multiple Weston County ranchers though, as several folks graze both private and federal lands in the area and were forced to relocate cattle as the fire progressed.

August 18, 2022

Weston County School District #7 will be welcoming seven new faculty for the 2022-2023 school year in Upton—Jessica Libbe, Rebecca Ruffi, Lori Barta, Deryn (Catt) Cattaneo, Crystal Toth, Joy McNutt, and Matthew Kettan. Upton Lady Cats Volleyball kicked off their first practice on Monday, with 21 ladies joining the volleyball team for the season under firstyear Head Coach Myla Mills and Assistant Coach Jackie Materi. The Upton Golf Team is off and running after their first tournament of the season in Glenrock on Friday. The girls team came in first place and were paced by two-time defending state champion Senior Brooklyn Materi. Materi placed second with an 84, junior Ciarra Moore shot a 100 for sixth place, senior Leah Keever shot a 106 for seventh, and senior Avril Norman shot a 120 for ninth.

August 25, 2022

In Upton, there were 136 write-ins for mayor, a job no one chose to tackle before the Primary Election. With the write-ins counted, Travis Beck, Justin Norman, and Nick Trandahl received the most write-in votes. Current Mayor Travis Beck declined the offer, as did Councilman Justin Norman. Councilman Nick Trandahl and the next highest vote receiver, Neil Schiller, have thrown their hats in the ring. The first day of school was August 22nd. The total enrollment is at 227. Elementary-94, Middle School-58, and High School-75. While summer for most teens consists of relaxing, the summer for recent graduate Luca Brooks has been the exact opposite. Brooks, who will play college basketball for Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana this winter, has played in many tournaments over the summer to prepare him.

(Continued Next Week)

Courtesy of the Weston County Gazette.