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307 First celebrates metal silhouette art project
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307 First celebrates metal silhouette art project

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307 Art

A metal silhouette of cowboys watching a rodeo is pictured Friday in Casper. The statue is one of many erected by 307 First as a way to promote buying local in Wyoming.

From the prairie 11 miles east of Casper to the edge of Riverton, a nonprofit that promotes buying and hiring local has been erecting metal silhouettes. The statues represent Wyoming’s past, and organizers say they are intended to encourage conversation and promote awareness of the Cowboy State’s history.

307 First officials recognized dozens of individuals and businesses who contributed to the 307 Metal Art Project by awarding them miniature-sized replicas of the silhouettes at a Friday dedication ceremony in the Ramkota Hotel in Casper.

307 First President Bob Moberly hopes to erect 307 silhouettes across highways in the state. But for now, he has close to 30 silhouettes in Natrona and Fremont counties.

“If you drove by yesterday and it’s 100 degrees, you’ll be having a little appreciation for those people and what they went through to get out here,” Moberly said. “So, it’s a little bit about Wyoming’s history, and we hope it sparks conversation and just makes the drive more interesting for people.”

The silhouettes represent Cowboys, wagons, Native Americans and more. They are being erected at significant areas across the state, including a route that was used by the Pony Express. The Pony Express had a short lifespan, 1860-1861, but was critical in establishing a mail service that could cross the country at a quick pace.

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Moberly spent three years driving to Cheyenne once a week and was inspired after noticing a jackalope structure in Douglas and a cowboy with a dog silhouette on a hill south of Chugwater.

“That’d be a lot more interesting if we had more of those around Wyoming,” he said. “I would look at them and wait for them every time I drove down there and back.”

Dean Cline, president of GW Mechanical and a 307 First partner, was a huge inspiration to Moberly. Cline provided time, resources and adopted a stretch of the highway from Casper to Shoshoni, where several silhouettes preside.

“307, to me, was very good,” Cline said at the dedication ceremony. “I graduated Wyoming, so I love Wyoming.”

At the moment, 307 First only has about 10% of the silhouettes spread across the state, and the group is still looking for partners, ideas, or any help, Moberly pointed out.

The nonprofit has lobbied the state to hire and buy local, stressing that government dollars should be kept in the state. Now, those same contractors that were helped by the group have turned right around and supported 307 First.

“Without Wyoming being here, we wouldn’t be here,” Cline said.

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