While Laramie is a fairly large city for Wyoming, our class spent the Fourth of July in the small town of Rock River, the nearest community to our field site. Rock River has a population of 245 people, so it was a bit different from the usual bustle of Pittsburgh. Towns like Rock River are pretty standard in Wyoming though, breaking up the long stretches of highway that stand between Laramie and our destinations for the day. We were greeted with as many hamburgers as we could eat, and everyone was exceptionally friendly; they all seemed happy to have us around. After playing a game of basketball with a few highschoolers, I learned their class consisted of twelve people, a pretty big difference from my three hundred and ninety, but the guys acted just the same as those from my rural hometown. We played a lot of basketball and volleyball that day, but one of the best highlights came at night when we had the pleasure of watching an excellent firework display put on by the fire department. After the show, one of the locals came over and made a point to tell us how much fun she had that day and it really meant a lot. These small, tight-knit communities typify the Wyoming landscape, and their welcoming attitudes to visitors is an artifact of the times when travelling ranchers would be graciously afforded a bed and meal for a night before being sent on their way.
A recent event that solidified my comfortability in Laramie was the recent Jubilee Day Festival. Starting off with a parade in the morning, the states roots were on display with wagon, horse, and dinosaur floats making their way down the crowded road. The parade was easily the best I have ever been to and watching the interactions between the crowd and those in the float made joining into the atmosphere all the more inviting. Later on, our group headed to the festivities where we enjoyed live music, food, and the various shops in downtown Laramie. The large crowd consisted of different groups of people from the surrounding area and seeing everyone mesh together and have fun made for an amazing day and an even better introduction to the life of Laramie.