It may not have been a world tour, but Casey Rislov covered Wyoming pretty well sharing her book, Rowdy Randy, with elementary school students. The Wyoming State Library supported her school visits with Library Services and Technology Act funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
All told, Casey appeared at 22 different schools in 16 communities, from some of Wyoming’s smallest places to the largest cities. Her travels took her to Laramie, Rock River, Cheyenne, Chugwater, Newcastle, Basin, Powell, Lovell, Cody, Ranchester, Big Horn, Sheridan, Casper, Glenrock, Shoshoni, and Pavillion. At some schools, she brought a special guest — an actress dressed as Rowdy Randy herself! (Paradise Valley Elementary students couldn’t get enough of Rowdy Randy after the event with lots of hugs and attention.)
“I was quite thankful for this opportunity to tour our great state with Rowdy Randy and meet so many amazing librarians and their schools,” Casey said. “The librarians were wonderful at hosting and communicating and the children were excited to join the western book fun!”
About 5,000 K-6 students enjoyed Casey’s presentations and gave her their rapt attention as she read from the book and interacted with them. She distributed about 1,100 free copies of Rowdy Randy to teachers, librarians, and students. Many were funded by the WSL with federal funds — the rest she was able to provide through numerous private donations.
Not to mention, she covered nearly 4,000 miles traversing the state!
Librarians overall went above and beyond to make the visits great. Many had large screens to place the book on for large groups to see. Here are a few of the stories Casey shared with us from her travels:
“Lovell Elem. invited my Rowdy Randy actress and I to a last day of snow cones with the kindergartners. Then the librarian, Gwen Walker, sent us on our way to see the wild horses and Big Horn Canyon near their area. It was a gorgeous spot to visit!”
She had her first auditorium experience in Glenrock Intermediate, and then Big Horn Elementary in Big Horn and Prairie Wind Elementary in Cheyenne. “It was incredible to experience this setup. All of them had large screens for the book, microphones, and plenty of stage room to move. Michelle Juschka-Faris at Prairie Wind was ready to go in her Western gear too as she is a real cowgirl.”
Visits to gymnasiums also let her see many children at once and allowed for movement. “It was fun to move around in my Western get up and get western with the children helping to shout ‘Yeehaw!’”
Students were proud of their mascots. The Paradise Valley Tigers showed “fun and fierce” spirit. The Beitel Elementary students gave her stickers and and a big thank you with their mascot on it. It was one of many such notes.
“SO many handwritten notes!” Casey said. “I read each and every one of them. I was extra thankful that the students enjoyed these author visits.”
Federal funds through the Institute of Museum and Library Services fund many great projects and services that benefit residents of Wyoming. Learn more on our website.
Private donations for books that were distributed came from Walsh Drive Self Storage & Interstate Storage Solutions (Brendan & Brian Bummer); Farnham’s Furniture; Fox Ventures LLC, Fox Investments LLC (Cory Fox); Pro-Kote Engineering & Supply (Steve Holt); Rocky and Lisa Eades; Waves Web Design (Anthony Marcil and Summer Henderson); Big O Tires; Galles Greenhouse; East Casper Chiropractic; Farmers Insurance; Hilltop National Bank; R & R Rest Stops; Waves Web Design; and Casper Sinclair.