A Tough Wyoming Cowboy Who Just Happens to Wear Women’s Clothes
Sissy Goodwin isn’t gay; he’s been married for 45 years and has two adult children. As a young man, he was a rodeo cowboy who rode bulls bareback, a free spirit who never shied away from a fistfight. The former aircraft mechanic loves to drink beer, play golf, throw steaks on the grill.
What sets him apart, he says, is what he calls gender independence: He just likes to do most things in a dress.
A resilient guy living it out in Wyoming, a state he refers to as “the Mississippi of the West” for its disposition toward him, Goodwin has been beaten, arrested and glared at for years - but he continues his defiant dressing habits to this day.
Read more from reporter John M. Glionna in a Column One feature.
Photos: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times
Grand Prismatic Spring
Located in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, the Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest natural hot spring found in the US. The spring has a scalding temperature of 160 °F (70 °C), a total depth of 160 feet and a diameter of 300 feet. The vivid, rainbow colors in the spring are the result of pigmented bacteria in the microbial mats that grow around the edges of the mineral-rich water.
The Legend of Devil’s Tower
Brought to international attention by the hugely popular movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Devils Tower in Wyoming has been a sacred place of numerous Indian tribes since prehistoric times. The Tower also seems to attract many UFOs that have been seen at its summit.
Various legends are told about the origin of the tower. One story concerns a group of seven small girls pursued by a giant bear. According to this legend, the girls were one day playing in the forest. A great bear came upon them and gave chase. Recognizing the hopelessness of their situation, the girls jumped upon a low rock and prayed loudly to the Great Spirit to save them. Immediately the small rock began to grow upwards, lifting the seven girls higher and higher into the sky. The angry bear jumped up against the sides of the growing tower and left deep claw marks. The tower continued to soar towards the sky until the girls were pushed up into the heavens, where they became the seven stars of the Pleiades.
Long an inspiration and attraction for nature lovers, mountain climbers, and UFO enthusiasts, Devil’s Tower was the first site to be named a National Monument in the United States. It received the honor in 1906, just thirteen years after the first recorded ascent of the mountain by William Rogers and W.L. Ripley in 1893.
The Miracle of Cokeville
On May 16, 1986, a mentally disturbed man and his wife entered an elementary school with guns and a homemade gasoline bomb in Cokeville, Wyoming.
The man’s name was David Young, a former town marshal. He had been the town’s only police officer for six months in 1979. When he was fired, he moved to Tucson, Arizona. For reasons unknown, he and his wife Doris returned to Cokeville in 1986 and took an entire elementary school hostage. Their demands for the release of the hostages, over 160 children and teachers, were $300,000,000 and a personal phone call from the President of the United States.
Keeping everyone in a single classroom, the Youngs began a standoff that lasted 2 1/2 hours. When David momentarily left the room, the bomb accidentally went off instantly killing Doris. When he returned to the classroom and saw that his wife had died, he turned the gun on himself.
Bomb experts called out to the scene were stunned. They couldn’t figure out why the school was still intact when a bomb that size should have destroyed the entire building, killing everyone in the process.
After the incident, children began to tell stories of angels who appeared to them right before the explosion. Some said that angels instructed them to move to a corner because the bomb was about to explode. Others said they didn’t see anything, but heard disembodied voices telling them that they would be safe.
Adding to the mystery, one of the blackened walls covered with shrapnel was burned with the shape of a human outline with wings.