Wheatland, WY, baseball season starts with a bang

Minor League Opening Day Ceremony

Paul Gallegos (far left), Laramie River Station assistant plant operator, shakes hands with another coach.

When volunteers are asked to organize a kid’s baseball game they may not go to the extent of Paul Gallegos. The assistant plant operator at the Laramie River Station has played a key role in organizing the Minor League Baseball program in Wheatland, WY, for several years.

The league is made up of boys and girls ranging between 7 and 9 years old. Approximately 64 kids participate on five teams.

The baseball field the league plays on is across the street from Gallegos’ house, so he also helps maintain the field.

Plant manager, Brian Larson, attended this year’s Minor League Opening Day Ceremony on May 30 and was blown away. Larson describes the experience in his own words:

Paul had asked me if I would throw out the first pitch for their Minor League Opening Day Ceremony. Little did I know what efforts Paul and several others have put, not only into the field, but also into this event.

Minor League Opening Day Ceremony

The retiring school superintendent of Wheatland, WY, hands off the baseball to Brian Larson, Laramie River Station plant manager.

An announcer at the pitcher’s mound read a list of all sponsors. There are 58 of them including Basin Electric and the Missouri Basin Power Project (MBPP). The announcer read off a list of all coaches and players as they marched onto the field and stood along the base paths from first to third. Our State Champion Legion Baseball team players and coaches were introduced and high fived all of the minor leaguers as they took their place on the field.

The American Flag was brought out on a motorcycle with a police and fire engine escort and taken by the V.F.W. Honor Guard, who ran it up a pole located near the scoreboard. A high school student whose father works at the plant sang the National Anthem, and fireworks were set off in center field. The V.F.W. members were introduced. An opening prayer was given by the priest from the Catholic Church. A raffle drawing was held for a hat worn by a Colorado Rockies player at the All Star Game last year and a bat from another player with the Rockies.

I threw out the first pitch to our retiring school superintendent. (According to Paul, it was a strike right down the middle.) An employee of our Parks and Recreation Department sang “God Bless America.” All the players sang, “Take Me out to the Ball Game.” Cracker Jacks were handed out to everyone in attendance, courtesy of MBPP. 

A minor league game followed all of this.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention that food and drinks were provided, the Legion team signed autographs for the minor leaguers, and a program for the festivities was provided. And if it wouldn’t have been so cloudy and windy, Paul had lined up a pilot to do a flyover!

WOW!

Watch the video to experience what Larson described:

The Missouri Basin Power Project is a proud supporter of the baseball program and the field. Dollars donated by MBPP helped build the dugouts, assemble foul poles and reset the bleachers. MBPP made donations to the Parks and Recreation Department and directly to the baseball leagues.

The following Laramie River Station employees and family members were volunteers and sponsors that helped make the opening ceremony possible:

Anthony Apodaca
Anthony Lucero
Aubrie Schindler
Braden Fagenbush
Brian Larson
Chris Locy
Deana Haeffelin, Yankee Team Mom
Flora Bascus, Exercise Here  
Jareb Goodrich
Judy Whelchel
Ken Gall
Leanne Warren, Cardinals Team Mom
Lee Apodaca, coach
Mike Haroldson
Myron Mattern
Paul & Kathy Gallegos, coach

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