Saturday, July 12, 2008
Unfortunately the first entry in this blog is dictated by tragic recent events, a young man gone missing in the Wind River Mountains just outside of Pinedale, Wyoming, and the tragic recent discovery of his remains.
Bardy Bardin was a classmate of mine growing up in Big Piney, Wyoming, from grade school until we graduated from Big Piney High School as two of the thirty classmates in the Class of 1973. Bardy was one of those good looking, popular guys that everyone liked. He was an accomplished athlete, a valuable player on many of the sports teams, and participated in a number of other activities. In high school, we were in band, stageband and choir together. He played the trombone in band and stageband, and had a beautiful bass voice that took him all the way to All State Choir. I remember him singing the role of one of the three wise men in a setting of songs from "Amahl and the Night Visitors." He was talented and well liked. All the girls wanted to date him, but his heart eventually went to someone else. Oddly enough, I can still remember the first time I kissed him, at one of those parties famous in Big Piney where everyone pretty much kissed everyone before the night was through so the chances of your getting kissed were pretty good.
The county where we grew up has seen a lot of boom and bust with the petroleum industry in the half century that Bardy and I have been alive. I was reading an interesting article a couple of years ago on that subject in The Washington Post, "Gas is Both Boom, Bane for Wyoming County," when the first four words immediately jumped off the page at me.
Sheriff Wayne "Bardy" Bardin.
"Sheriff Wayne "Bardy" Bardin, who sweeps up criminal fallout from the hottest energy boom in the Rockies, has noticed something new and nasty on barroom floors in his county."
That Bardy had become sheriff of the county, now residing in its somewhat larger (by Wyoming standards) county seat, Pinedale, was not terribly surprising, I suppose. He could have gone on to become a roughneck in the oil fields, and progressed up the ranks of a local energy company, or been a cowboy on one of the local ranches, maybe even had his own, but now he presides over the law enforcement activities in a part of America that is both untamed wild and woolly west and key to the energy resources of our nation and the world. As a result, he ends up in places like The Washington Post.
A more somber headline appeared a couple of weeks ago, when in late June a young Pinedale man, just 24, went missing. A massive search and rescue operation was mounted to search for him, Garrett Wayne Bardin, Bardy's son. The sheriff's department was doing the searching, and the object of the search, sadly, was the sheriff's son. His silver Lincoln Mark LT pick-up truck had been discovered abandoned near Muddy Ridge in the Bridger-Teton National Forest.
Days later, a body was found, in a remote area overlooking the Big Sandy River, and later identified as Garrett Bardin. He was laid to rest on July 9, 2008, after a memorial service at the Pinedale Auditorium, with over 500 people attending.