Leaving bentonite breadcrumbs across the country

Big Horn County, it’s been fun.

It’s bittersweet to say (or write), but today I am leaving the place I’ve called home for the past four-plus years to embark on a new adventure. I can’t say it’s going to be easy to leave.

I don’t know where I’ll be in a few months, but for now I’m in the Detroit area for at least a few weeks. I’ll look for jobs throughout the Midwest and relax a little while hanging out with family and friends in Michigan.

In the past four years, this place has transformed from an unknown (to me) rural neighborhood, into a bustling community, filled to the brim with people who work hard to make it a nice place to live. It started as a town filled with unknown faces but I soon got to know the people behind those faces, which has been a lot of fun.

It won’t be easy to say goodbye to the many friends I’ve made around the county, but I promise to keep in touch online. Contact me at Devereauxbrad@gmail.com, Twitter @Braddevero or on Facebook. To the many great friends I never said goodbye to before leaving, I apologize, and I would be ecstatic to hear from any of you.

The Chronicle has been a great place to work, and a perfect experience for me to learn about all different types of news writing. I’ve learned things they didn’t talk about in school, and I’ve had to deal with the things they said I would, and then some. This newspaper has allowed me to take any idea I had and try it out.

They even decided to stamp my face on the cover of 5,000 calendars to be handed out to the community just a month after I signed on. That was a good way to “get your face out there,” and I knew right away that this small-town paper wasn’t afraid to try big and unique ideas. I got to exploit that fact a few times when I wrote a feature story that filled an entire page or wrote about my predictions 40 years into the future. Freedom and creative control are not luxuries many reporters enjoy at papers big or small across the country.

It is bittersweet for me to leave this area. I am certain I will never live in an area so sparsely populated. I loved hiking the trails and only seeing a few passers-by, and being able to camp truly “away from it all.”

I’ll miss the backroads, the bright stars and the friendly faces. The hangouts, jam sessions and fishing trips are forever burned into my memory.

Speaking of burned memories, I’ll never forget the experience of helping a friend de-horn bulls for the rodeo season. It may be a common task (and smell) to some people, but the local culture was a totally new experience for me. I got a dog out here and he sure liked the cows, too.

I know the Chronicle will continue to serve the community well by focusing on local coverage, and beating any competitors at delivering north Big Horn County news and events and relevant regional/county stories. It’s been my job to accept news tips and stories from the community for four years, and the Chronicle will continue to hold that role dear.

As for new jobs, I’m looking all over. I would like to stay in the journalism field, though I am ready to try something new and I’m looking in all areas of the industry and other related fields.

I hope everyone has enjoyed reading my stories and columns for the past four years. I have sure enjoyed writing them and getting to know all of my interesting subjects.

In my heart, when I think of Wyoming, I will always be proud to be a niner, and I’ll be back soon to visit.

I’m driving across the country with bentonite caked thick in my wheel wells and a 9 county license plate. I don’t want to change the plates or wash my car, but I know I will have to soon.

And to that I say, here’s to the future, the past, good friends, great times and new possibilities. I’ll miss you, Big Horn County.

Brad Devereaux