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‘Street Outlaws’ production generates an estimated $1.8 million for Natrona’s economy

Numerous vehicles line a closed street near Mills on Tuesday, July 8. The area was being used to produce the Discovery series “Street Outlaws: Fastest in America.” (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — For several weeks in July, television crews working on the show “Street Outlaws” for the Discovery Channel were in Natrona County to shoot new episodes.

The show has run for 15 seasons. The first season of its new “Fastest in America” spinoff premiered in January, and the Natrona film shoot appears to be geared toward a second season of that spinoff, though television crew were tight-lipped regarding details when approached by reporters earlier this month.

Pilgrim Studios produces the show for the Discovery Channel and the decision to locate the recent television shoot in Natrona County had a notable impact on the local economy, according to Visit Casper CEO and Natrona County Commissioner Brook Kaufman.

“Street Outlaws generated around $1.8 million in economic impact for the time they spent in Natrona County filming,” Kaufman told Oil City via email on Monday, July 28.

Kaufman said this estimate of the economic impact of the television shoot takes into account factors like spending on accommodations, dining, entertainment and recreation while the cast and crew were working in the area.

“I have heard from members of my team that they purchased 2-3 vehicles while they were here,” Kaufman added. “They’ve also spent money at Alcova Marina, Wyoming Gun Company, at local hotels (on lodging) and in many of our restaurants.”

Natrona County Commission Chair Rob Hendry said on Tuesday that the estimate for overall economic from the production he had heard was north of $2 million.

“It was a big deal,” Hendry said.

He said that members of the cast and crew apparently purchased car parts from local auto companies. Hendry said the production generated about $600,000 in hotel accommodations alone and that he’d received calls from restaurants like the Yellowstone Garage that the cast and crew’s presence was a definite boost to their business.

The Casper City Council are set to discuss the topic of “Street Outlaws” during their Tuesday, July 28 work session. Kaufman and Wyoming Department of Transportation Senior Public Relations Specialist Jeff Goetz say that a number of people are interested in having another season of the show filmed in the area.

Goetz explained on Monday that WYDOT was approached by the Wyoming Office of Tourism when the production company expressed interest in filming in Wyoming.

WYDOT ended up recommending the West Belt Loop bypass west of Casper as the roadway could accommodate the needs of the show. Goetz said that Amoco Road in Casper was also considered.

The production company received a permit from WYDOT, with agreement from Natrona County, to allow the production to occur on the roadway. Goetz explained that there is no cost to such permits which are also available to groups organizing parades or other activities on Wyoming’s roadways.

He added that the production company is reimbursing WYDOT and other agencies like the Natrona County Sheriff’s Office for services they rendered, such as the temporary closing of the West Belt Loop, during production. The production company have also contracted a local company to clean the roadway of the rubber tire marks left during production.

Outside of being reimbursed for personnel time or other services, WYDOT and Natrona County did not receive funding from the production company for the shoot, according to Goetz and Kaufman.

Kaufman said that the economic benefit from the county’s perspective “came through indirect sales and use tax.” She did note that the Natrona County Fairgrounds received payment for the rental of their facility.

Hendry noted that the production company would need to obtain a conditional use permit should further production occur in the area. He said that while there were some complaints about noise in the area during production, he was told the production company made a number of efforts to address concerns of people in the area.

Goetz said that the production company followed stringent protocols due to COVID-19, requiring anyone coming on set to receive testing or temperature checks. He said that one reason Wyoming may have been selected for the show was due to stricter COVID-19 regulations in other states.

It is not the first time a large film shoot has occurred in Natrona County. Hell’s Half Acre was used as a shooting location in 1996 for the film “Starship Troopers.”

Kaufman added that she’s aware that the City of Casper has been approached by a few other production companies over the years who were considering shoots in town.

“The shoot that comes to mind was for Wells Fargo a few years ago,” she said.

Oil City attempted to reach out to the Wyoming Office of Tourism and the Wyoming Film Office on Monday to ask whether they had more information about how the “Street Outlaws” production wound up in Wyoming and to ask about their efforts to attract productions to the state, but did not receive an immediate reply. We’ll provide updates if those become available.