Honorees remembered at Old Settlers’ Picnic

(Courtesy photo) Past Honorees Dorothy Wood, Freida Dent and Mary French pose with the newly installed marker which lists the picnic’s previous honorees.


By Sarah Pridgeon

A stone marker commemorating previous honorees was unveiled at this year’s Old Settlers’ Picnic at Devils Tower, held on June 25 in the warmth of a sunny afternoon at the national monument. The event has taken place for over a century, begun by the ranchers who settled the area as a way to meet and visit.

Now hosted as a way to recognize the pioneers of Crook County, the picnic honors distinguished members of the community. This year, the Devils Tower Natural History Association honored Hap and Ruby Stuart, Jerry and Marilyn Knapp, Chipper Chatfield and Walter Gordon.

The day began with a church service, says organizer Renee Carrier, and continued with a welcome from Park Superintendent Tim Reid. The weather kept to a perfect mid-70s and the skies were blue, she says.

MC Bonnie Sweeney introduced the honorees and told the crowd of their history in the area, after which Chuck Larsen shared cowboy poetry and Cindy Witt entertained with music, accompanied by Todd Kahler, while the gathered visitors enjoyed cake and ice cream.

Visitors this year also included a bus of residents from the retirement home and another filled with tourists from China, while the afternoon air was punctuated by the sounds of children playing and the laughter of old friends taking the chance to catch up with one another’s lives.