Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert gives talks to the crowd gathered for the “Save America” rally by former president Donald Trump on Saturday, May 28, 2022, in Casper. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City News File)

CASPER, Wyo. — Over 9,400 ticket holders packed the Ford Wyoming Center on Saturday for the Save America rally, with state and national GOP leaders priming the crowd leading up to an appearance by former President Donald J. Trump.

“Welcome to mega-ultra-MAGA country,” said former Lincoln County state representative and former national committeewoman Marti Halverson, assuring Trump offstage that he was in the reddest of red states.

Trump is on the road highlighting “America First” candidates and causes. In Wyoming, that means an endorsement for Cheyenne trial attorney Harriet Hageman, running to unseat Liz Cheney for the state’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Though Wyoming has just one vote out 535 in the U.S. House, some of the speakers painted the Hageman vs. Cheney race as a harbinger of the Republicans’ push to take back control of the body in the midterms.

“We’ve got to take back the House,” Florida Congressional Rep. Kat Cammack told the crowd. “It starts in Wyoming, it starts here. … We take back Wyoming, we take back America.”

70% of Wyoming voters went for Trump in the 2020 election. The backlash against Cheney for her vote to impeach Trump in the wake of the U.S. Capitol riot has only increased due to her leadership position on the Jan. 6 committee investigating the panel.

“Wyoming only has one seat in Congress, and that voice has to represent the people of Wyoming,” Utah Attorney Sean D. Reyes said.

Cheney’s refutation of Trump was a paramount concern for ralliers who spoke to Oil City News outside the event. But she has also been criticized for the extent to which she resides in suburban Virginia, as well as policy positions that highlight the rift between MAGA-Republicans and the era of the neo-cons.

“I have not found a three-letter agency that Cheney does not want to grow, a CNN interview she won’t do, or a war she won’t fight with your tax dollars,” U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado said.

As a member the House Armed Services committee, Cheney has pushed for a more proactive U.S. presence in foreign affairs.

The political left at large was also the subject of derision, blamed for the impact of inflation on the consumer marketplace.

“Democrats are literally ruining breakfast, lunch and dinner,” Wyoming Sen. Cheri Steinmetz said.  

Social issues like Critical Race Theory, gender politics, and “cancel culture” were also named as trends to be checked by the MAGA-platform.

“We cannot escape the social crisis as we watch society wander in darkness and try to convince us that there is no such thing as life at conception, male and female, the traditional family, or God,” Steinmetz said.

Wyoming House District 39 Rep. John Bear spoke of the Wyoming House Freedom Caucus’ growing ranks in keeping these issues raised at the state level, calling on Gov. Mark Gordon to support bills banning transgender athletes in school sports and preventing cross-over voting.

As the rally led up to a Trump appearance, Halverson spoke to the state’s deep affinity for the former president. 

When Trump was in office, “we were filled with optimism and patriotism,” Halverson said. “Thanks to Trump, the world knew America was MAGA-strong.”