The Mayor’s Minute from Mayor Patrick Collins – July 29th

Published on July 29, 2022

Mayors Minute

CHEYENNE – Cheyenne has seen much success with data centers making their home in Cheyenne. I met with a new data center that has purchased land in our North Range Business Park. Bison Block Chain is a bitcoin mining operation that will be made up of 30,000 miners using an unbelievable amount of electricity. I did not know or understand this kind of business, but the education we received has helped me feel comfortable and excited about this investment. Congratulations to LEADS and Black Hills Energy.

This week consisted of countless all-day events for Cheyenne Frontier Days (CFD). It began with the Chambers’ kick-off luncheon, Pardners N’ Prosperity. Many folks don’t know that Frontier Days was part of the Chamber of Commerce for decades. It is now a stand-alone venture. However, Pardners N’ Prosperity is a chance for all our partners to celebrate businesses and this grand event. It is so nice to hear from our federal delegates, county leaders, and the business community. We truly have a great team working to make Cheyenne the best it can be!

Cheyenne is proud to have a namesake submarine. The USS Cheyenne is a Los Angeles class, fast attack submarine that has been in service since 1995. Today, it is in port getting the reactor refueled to extend its life for another 15 to 20 years. Each year the boat sends a few members of the crew to attend CFD to have fun and celebrate our relationship. This year the Captain, Chief of the Boat, Junior Sailor of the Year, and Enlisted Sailor of the Year made the trip. I am always amazed at the quality of these young men who man our namesake submarine. It was a blast to host them in my office and to learn about how the boat and crew are doing. I hope to make a trip to see the boat and crew while they are being refitted to thank them for their service and for the positive way they represent our city.

Benjamin O. Davis Sr. lived in Quarters 64, Fort D.A. Russell, beginning in 1912.  He was a Buffalo Soldier and a Lieutenant. He entered the Army in 1898 and served in four different wars over 50 years. He is remembered as the first African American to reach the rank of general. I was honored to attend the dedication ceremony naming Quarters 64 for Benjamin O. Davis Sr. It was fitting that General Tony Cotton, Commander of Air Force Global Strike Command was there to lead the ceremony. General Cotton was stationed in Cheyenne also and is an African American four-star general.  He spoke beautifully about standing on the shoulders of his heroes, the Davis family. You see, Benjamin O. Davis Jr. was the first African American four-star general and was the leader of the Tuskegee Airmen. Truly a great legacy and a beautiful ceremony.

That same evening, we attended a reception for General Cotton at the Governor’s residence. He was in town to be the Grand Marshal for the CFD parade on Saturday morning. It is great to get the military and business community together for any reason, but to welcome Tony and his wife Marsha back home to Cheyenne was a blast. He looks great in a cowboy hat!

Saturday morning, 6:30 AM (sigh!!), I got another rare opportunity. The military attachés from the United Kingdom and Germany were in town and I was able to join them for breakfast in the military cabin at CFD. It was very interesting to hear their views on the world from a military perspective and to have reinforced the great partnerships our countries have together. They love the time they have spent in our country and are now being sent back home to their normal careers. I love these rare and interesting opportunities being mayor of our city has provided me.  I really appreciate Senator Boner from Converse and Platte Counties for the invitation. Senator Boner served as a missileer at FE Warren before retiring and moving north.

Judy and I have been having so much fun this week. We started with the first parade on Saturday. I was impressed by the number of folks lining the route. It is amazing to see the coordination it takes to pull this off four times during CFD. I especially love the wagons and horses, though I am glad we don’t have to rely on them anymore. One highlight for me was taking Rowan and Charlotte in our carriage to experience the parade from an inside perspective.  They just moved to Cheyenne with their family due to military orders. 

Each rodeo starts with a grand entry, and Judy and I enjoy riding in our carriage to greet the rodeo fans. It is another amazing thing to see from the inside; all that has to be done to put on the greatest rodeo in the land. The volunteers, from the general committee to the newest members are truly dedicated to making the visitor experience as perfect as they can. It makes me so proud to be mayor of our fine city. I really enjoy visiting the sponsors and thanking them for making our rodeo possible. I also love meeting guests who have never seen a rodeo, they are blown away. My feet are tired at the end of the event, but I am filled with energy from the experience.

Sunday morning, I started with the General Committee doing what they call a cabin crawl.  Each CFD committee has a cabin on the grounds, and we went house to house greeting and thanking the volunteers. I learned that each house has a signature drink and some dang good cooks. It’s a great way to start the day; the park is so quiet and peaceful at 8 a.m.

Sunday night we attended a reception for the crew from the USS Cheyenne. Tom and Merrie Ellsberry are the chairs of the USS Cheyenne committee, and they do a great job of keeping the city updated on the status of the boat and crew. We had a nice gathering and an opportunity to really get to know the guys from the boat.

Monday is City Council Day, so it requires a few meetings to be sprinkled in with CFD events.  The day starts with an interview with KFBC Radio at 8 a.m., agenda review at 9:30, then off to the rodeo. The highlight of this particular day for me was the dedication of the POW/MIA chair that will be permanently on display at the arena. Alf and MS Salle are the team behind getting this done and I love them for their efforts. I hope you will take a minute next time you are at the rodeo to see the beautiful chair. Military Monday was a blast. We enjoyed the great videos of our service members in action, followed by a grand entry of cool vehicles led by our CFD general committee chair, Jimmy Siler riding in a Sherman Tank. What a great partnership we have in Cheyenne with our military.

Right after the POW/MIA dedication, I hustled to my office to meet with AMTRAK. We have high hopes for passenger rail service from Cheyenne to Denver and someday, to Pueblo, Colorado. Rob Eaton from AMTRAK came by to update us on the plan and progress. There are $44 billion dollars for rail service right now and we hope to see service in the next five to 10 years.

I don’t know why, but our council meetings during CFD seem to be some of the shortest we have all year. I appreciate it since so many of us hope to see the professional bull riding (PBR) right after the meeting. This year was no exception!

The rest of the week so far has been parades, pancakes, rodeos, and night shows, and I have loved every minute. Two additional highlights of my week were seeing the Thunderbirds; I can’t get enough of their precision flying, and the other, was the chance to meet the Tunisian Ambassador and have dinner with her. Interestingly, state National Guard units are paired with foreign countries. Tunisia is our partner, and we trade military training and advice with each other. They have a beautiful country with the most amazing Roman-era ruins and Mediterranean beaches. Judy and I are planning a visit, one day soon.

In the meantime, I hope everyone is enjoying all there is to do this time of year. Hope to see you all at the rodeo.