Community events are returning to Powell after the COVID-19 pandemic canceled so many in 2020. Last weekend, the Powell Economic Partnership hosted two days of events in celebration of the …
Community events are returning to Powell after the COVID-19 pandemic canceled so many in 2020. Last weekend, the Powell Economic Partnership hosted two days of events in celebration of the town’s namesake, John Wesley Powell.
While the fading pandemic permitted the outdoor gathering, the weather remained a force to contend with. PEP held kid’s bike races and handmade boat races on Friday, as well as art events and booths. With rain, winds, and cold temperatures, the turnout was smaller than expected.
Saturday’s sunnier weather went a lot nicer on the 20-mile adult bike race, cornhole tournament, whiskey tasting, and dance party.
While John Wesley Powell never set foot anywhere near this Wyoming town that bears his name, the one-armed bearded geologist’s explorations of the West — including a three-month trip down the Green and Colorado rivers in 1869 — were instrumental in assessing the arid conditions of the region. His work was a key influence on the development of the West, including irrigation in the Big Horn Basin.
“The Powell Economic Partnership is dedicated to continuing the John Wesley Powell Days two-day festival, to bring awareness about John Wesley Powell and his part in local agriculture and outdoor recreation — all while highlighting the arts scene in Powell, Wyoming,” said PEP Executive Director Rebekah Burns.
A total of 22 people from around the area competed in Saturday’s bike race, and Burns said it was a good turnout.
“We expect the race field to grow in number substantially next year,” Burns said. “Races like these are a hugely important part of showcasing Powell’s outdoor rec culture to build our outdoor industry.”
Robin Nichols of Basin, who was the sole member of his team, took first place in the race, with a time of 1:21:57.
“I had a great time,” Nichols said. “The gravel was good.”
Brad and Stephanie Metzler, who formed team Hey You Guys, took second in the race. Nate Hecht and Billie Boehm, of team A&O, were the third place winners.
The race went from Homesteader Park, up to Lane 8, past the Park County Annex, and down a series of paved and dirt roads, before returning to the finish line at Homesteader. Some bikers wore beards in honor of John Wesley Powell. The race included an irrigation challenge with Beryl Churchill, where the racers tried to set water — using siphoning tubes to get water flowing down a field of furrows.
Burns gave a shout-out to Josh Stewart of team PitStop, a sponsor of the race.
“Mike Bailey [owner of PitStop in Powell] is a real trailblazer. He understands that these types of events are good for the responsible growth of Powell,” Burns said.