PHOTO GALLERY: One last glance back at 2020 in Wyoming
Armed citizens watch on David Street as more than 800 people gather in front the Hall of Justice on Friday, June 5, 2020, during a vigil in honor of George Floyd in Casper. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
CASPER, Wyo. – New Year’s Eve 2019 feels almost like another lifetime, when people traveled, gathered and celebrated the arrival of 2020.
Who could’ve guessed this year would be the most memorable and historic in generations.
The year was defined by COVID-19. As of Dec. 31, 2020, the global pandemic has killed more than 1.81 million people worldwide, 341,000 in the U.S., and 405 in Wyoming.
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Wyoming’s economy, already challenged by a slowing fossil fuel industry, was pummeled when energy demands evaporated as world economies were stopped in their tracks by the pandemic.
Things got tense.
Frustration and misinformation spread, health experts were publicly heckled, and we became an even more politically divided country. Protesters and counter-protesters marched through downtown. Stores ran out of toilet paper.
However, there was still beauty to behold. Families around the region flocked to Wyoming’s great outdoors over the summer. A once-in-a-lifetime comet encouraged people to stay up late and gaze at the clear, dark skies. Outside gatherings, including church, became a thing. Technology helped us stay connected. Wyoming students and teachers grabbed their masks and went back to school. By year’s end, the first COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered to frontline workers.
Darkness still looms. Wyoming’s COVID-19 surge that started in the fall has subsided, but globally the pandemic is raging. Even as vaccines are rolled out, health experts say it could be months before herd immunity is reached.
But there’s still plenty of reason for optimism, and the marking of a new year can help to keep us focused on the positive.
So goodbye, farewell and good riddance to 2020.
Happy 2021, everyone.
Casper was shut in after a large winter storm closed roads on Feb. 3, 2020. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Governor Mark Gordon and First Lady Jennie Gordon walk toward the House chamber before his State of the State address during the opening joint session of the 2020 Budget Session of the Wyoming State Legislature on Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, in Cheyenne. Gordon’s approval ratings have steadily slid through the year as Wyoming struggled with the pandemic and economy. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Children gather for Ash Wednesday at St. Anthony’s Tri-Parish Catholic School on Feb. 26, 2020. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
WWII veteran Remigio Barela is given military honors during a ceremony at the Oregon Trail State Veterans Cemetery on Feb. 28, 2020, in Evansville. Hundreds turned out for the 101-year-old veteran who had outlived most of his family. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
KW’s Noah Halsey pauses for a quick prayer before his match against Cheyenne East’s Cade Happold on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, during state high school wrestling. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Wyoming author C.J. Box poses with fans during a signing for his lates book, “Long Range,” on Monday, March 9, 2020, at Frontier Brewing Company in downtown Casper. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Casper College staff turn people away after the 2020 Wyoming State High School Basketball Tournaments were abruptly cancelled on Thursday, March 12, 2020. The events were cancelled a day after the first reported case of coronavirus was reported in Wyoming. All schools in the state would be closed to in-person learning by the following week. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Natrona County Health Officer and infectious disease specialist Dr. Mark Dowell talks during a press conference after deciding to cancel state basketball tournaments on Thursday, March 12, 2020. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Shelves in the household paper isles at Target were nearly empty on Saturday, March 14, 2020. Stores across the country were short on shelf-stable food items, toilet paper and disinfecting products. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
A Target employee gives instructions to customers as they line up outside just before opening time on Thursday, March 19, 2020, at Eastridge Mall in Casper. Shipments of paper products and other in-demand items were stocked overnight. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
“Stay Home. Stay Safe. Stay Health.” The Natrona County Public Library Closed in mid-March the coronavirus spread through the country. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Shannon Feurt poses with his service dog-in-training, Star, at the Kelly Walsh High School campus on Wednesday, March 17, 2020, after schools were closed during the start of the pandemic. Feurt said he was looking for an open place to train and found the empty school to be a good option. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
A sign on Johnny J’s announces their temporary closure in March after health orders were issued to stop COVID-19 spread. COVID-19 stayed mostly in check in Wyoming during much of the year, until a deadly surge finally arrived by fall. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Volunteer Jenny Vass threads her vintage portable sewing machine while making protective masks on Monday, March 30, 2020. Hospital and consumer PPE (personal protective equipment) was in short supply globally during the start of the pandemic. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
General manager Andy Houck delivers bags of popcorn and snacks to a waiting vehicle at Studio City Mesa on Tuesday, April 7, 2020. The Casper-based movie theater developed a curbside movie snacks program after being forced to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic, joining restaurants across the country in finding ways to stay in business amid shutdowns. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
A message reading “We Miss You” is seen in a window near the entrence to Natrona County High School on April 12, 2020, in Casper. Schools in Wyoming were closed in March to help slow the spread of coronavirus. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
The Super Pink Moon is seen rising behind trees in central Casper on Tuesday, April 7, 2020. The moon was at its closest distance to Earth in 2020. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Sarah Farrer waits with her children Bella, 10, Wyatt, 12, and Scarlett, 4, during an Easter meal giveaway at the Boys & Girls Club of Central Wyoming on Friday, April, 10, 2020. Her daughter Jovie Farrer, 7, not pictured, was at right. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Videos to Go owner Sissy Byrd helps a customer on Thursday, Aril 9, 2020, in Mills. Byrd, who has been running the area’s last remaining video rental store for three decades, saw a slight uptick in business when more people were forced to stay home during the pandemic. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Sarah Newsom is reflected in her bike mirror as she listens to a live internet broadcast of a Casper City Council work session on Tuesday, April 14, 2020. Newsom organized a silent protest at the Casper Soccer Complex in north Casper on Tuesday to speak out against a proposed ordinance that would make ignoring health guidances for coronavirus a criminal offense. The ordinance was rejected. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Connor Waltermath polishes new wheels on his truck before the start of the Saturday Casper Cruise on April 22, 2020. His mother, Tammy Waltermath, is reflected in the mirror. The cruise was organized as an outdoor COVID-friendly event, and became a regular feature of weekend evenings through the summer. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
A churchgoer participates in the praise and worship section of outdoor church at The Fort Ministry in Mills on Sunday, April 26, 2020. The church started performing outdoor services after health restrictions limited indoor attendance. Many churches switched to online-only services. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
A resident at Mountain Plaza Assisted Living pets a horse after a Glenrock family brought their animals to the home on Wednesday, April 29, 2020. It was one of the first time some of the residents had seen outside visitors since the facility was locked down in early March to prevent the spread of coronavirus. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Rialto Barber Shop owner Larry Kirby disinfects the chair after giving regular customer Steve McGinty, left, a haircut on Friday, May 1, 2020, during the first day of operation since shutting down for coronavirus health regulations. Health restrictions were starting to ease by May, allowing many businesses to reopen with health procedures in place. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Leslie Scherer stands at the gravesite of her in-laws Rolland and Alyce Scherer at the Oregon Trail State Veterans Cemetery on Memorial Day, May 25, 2020. Leslie, now living in Colorado, was in town over the weekend visiting her mother. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
NCHS, KWHS, Roosevelt and Midwest schools held outdoor graduation ceremonies on May 28 and 29. The events marked the end of an unusual and uncertain school year, where in-person learning and all extra curricular activities were canceled. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Casper Pride held a drive-up pride parade on June 13. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Protests against racial injustice sprang up across the country and in some parts of the world after a smartphone video captured the death of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis. On June 3 and 5, two protest marches organized by different parties took place in Casper. They were closely watched by armed citizens, who lingered in Casper’s downtown core well into the night after the protests concluded. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Tristan Bohannon gets a quick pep talk before her race at the Mike Sedar BMX track on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. The BMX club saw attendance spike as parents looked for COVID-friendly activities. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Kassidy Orr leads her swine through the outdoor pens set up in the outdoor arena at the Central Wyoming Fairgrounds on Saturday, July 11, 2020, in Casper. The 2020 4-H-FFA Livestock Shows and Sale were held this year in a modified outdoor setting to help slow the spread of COVID-19. This year’s rodeo and fair were canceled because of the pandemic. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Comet Neowise is seen streaking far above downtown Casper in a view from Washington Park on late Thursday, July 15, 2020, in Casper. The newly-discovered comet won’t be seen again for 6,800 years, according to NASA. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City News)
Comet Neowise is seen in the northwest sky in a 10-second exposure from a viewpoint on Muddy Mountain south of Casper late Saturday, July 25, 2020. The comet was visible for about a week during the summer. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
YMCA’s healthy living coordinator Bailey Mason rolls out spin bikes in preparation for a COVID-friendly outdoor spin class on Aug. 11, 2020. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Two men watch from the sidelines as KWHS plays its first football game of the season on Aug. 28, 2020. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Fans stand for the National Anthem at NCHS for the first football game of the season on Aug. 28, 2020. Attendance for school sports was highly limited. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Students walk onto school busses for the first day of school on Sept. 9, 2020. Health protocols were put into place to keep schools open. While community spread of COVID-19 led to staffing issues and missed classes by individual students, in-person learning continued through the Christmas break. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Delacina Chief Eagle of the Dancing Warrior from the Oglala Nation, falls from her horse during the women’s relay at the Indian Relay Races on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, at the Central Wyoming Fairgrounds arena. Chief Eagle was uninjured and was able to finish the race on another horse. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Members of a crowd argue with health experts and country officials during a joint special meeting of the Natrona County Commission and City of Casper at Casper College on Monday, Nov. 2, 2020. The meeting, which was streamed live and intended to give information on the surge in COVID-19 cases in the country, quickly devolved into a shouting match between officials and audience members before being abruptly ended by commissioners. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Residents at Primrose Retirement Communities attend a morning activity on Sept. 30, 2020. Residents, staff and visitors are required to socially distance and wear masks while outside of their individual apartments. Long-term facilities, which house the most vulnerable population, have struggled to balance COVID-19 safety and mental health due to added isolation from loved ones. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Record numbers turned out for the general election on Nov. 3, 2020, in Natrona County. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
A man walks along the extended shore of Alcova Lake on Nov. 7, 2020, after the water was lowered for a dam maintenance project. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
CY Junior High students brave punishing winds for a brief Veterans Day parade on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020, in Casper. Several vehicles driven by veterans drove by the student body, who lined up and waved flags in front of the school. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Healthcare workers at the Wyoming Medical Center Respiratory Screening Clinic wave to first responders from several Natrona County agencies during a brief parade around the WMC campus on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, in Casper. The parade was organized to show appreciation for healthcare workers during the COVID-19 surge, which saw hospitals across the state at or near capacity. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Angela Booth gives an emotional account of her father’s death exactly one week prior from COVID-19 complications. Booth, a nurse practitioner at the Wyoming Medical Center’s Respiratory Screening Clinic, was the second WMC employee to receive the new Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Casper/Natrona County Health Department RN Hana Kim reconstitutes the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine with sodium chloride while preparing the first doses to be administered in Natrona County on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
The Casper Children’s Chorale warm up before video recording a holiday concert on Dec. 15, 2020. Arts organizations turned to technology after the pandemic stopped in-person concerts and gatherings. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
A fresh blanket of snow turns Casper white on Dec. 28, 2020. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)