All aboard for the Sherman Hill Model Train Show
May 13 – Stop tomorrow at Archer’s Event Center if you want to spot a train.
In fact, you’ll probably see hundreds of them.
If there’s one thing Cheyenne and its people can shamelessly flaunt outside of authentic cowboy culture, it’s the town’s undeniable history as a railroad mecca.
If you haven’t noticed, the Red Lion Hotel was buzzing this week with the Union Pacific Railroad Historical Society convention. This event may be coming to an end tomorrow, but the party isn’t over yet.
Over the next two days, Archer’s event center will be decked out in all things railroad. It’s the Sherman Hill Train Show, and it’s not an event exclusive to train enthusiasts who revel in the intricate craftsmanship of model railroading.
“We call it Cheyenne Railroad Heritage Days,” said Jared Chicos, president of the Sherman Hill Model Railroad Club. “We try to celebrate the history of the railroad and Cheyenne and how Cheyenne came to be. We have a bunch of different exhibits.”
In previous years, the rally was held at Frontier Park. The new location was adopted for the best possible reason: rapid growth.
With the added space, the Sherman Hill Model Railroad Club has elevated the event to something more diverse than before while emphasizing creating fun for all ages.
Chicos is in his second year as president of the club, and it’s been his goal from the start to make it not just an event, but a sort of railway festival. Just during his conversation with the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, Chicos dreaded waking up in the morning to help erect 400 tables in preparation for the event.
Obviously, guests will get more than they bargained for when it comes to model train displays. Fanatics will come from all over the region – an Illinois resident was personally invited by Chicos because of the quality of his model train Facebook updates – so each display will be meticulously detailed, assembled and presented.
“Probably about a third of what we get will be model train setups and displays that actually work,” Chicos said.
Truth be told, Chicos is a little nervous about moving to Archer after hosting the event in a smaller venue. His concern is that the change will impact attendance.
Have space, bring trains
But if you have space, take advantage of it.
There will be up to 60 different vendors set up during the convention, many of which will focus on model trains and railroad history. Some will be pop-up stalls of local artisans selling a range of products.
In another first for the convention, Sherman Hill invited manufacturers to operate booths and interact with model railroad enthusiasts seeking to learn more about new products.
“I thought, ‘What can we do to fill this gap?’ Because we have a few different manufacturers that are right in Colorado, in the Rocky Mountains area,” Chicos said. “Let’s ask them to come up, the worst they can say is no.”
The children will have something to occupy themselves with during the two days of Railway Heritage Days. There will be a designated kids’ corner with boxcar racing, scenery clinic, switch setup controlling model trains, face painting and an interactive Lego train area.
The highlight may be the Sunrise Lions Club miniature train rides. Children and their families can board and take a tour of the parking lot, weather permitting. Food trucks will also be parked in sight.
In addition to Sherman Hill, the National Model Railroad Association’s Rocky Mountain Region will simultaneously hold its annual show beginning Friday night.
However, this convention is more for those who are immersed in the throes of model train building. The majority of the convention are various programs and presentations discussing the technical aspects of creating a display.
Yet, in the interests of some residents, the NMRA will judge a model railroad show competition. Judging is scheduled for 1-4 p.m. Saturday and prizes will be awarded Sunday at 11 a.m.
Typically, the Cheyenne Depot Museum offers a larger lineup of railroad-centric events for its annual Cheyenne Depot Days event. This year, stop by the Depot to see the UC&N Model Railroad and catch a presentation by Ed Dickens at 10 a.m. or 1 p.m.
Sherman Hill Train Show wristbands are $10 and allow entry to both days of the convention. Children 12 and under enjoy free entry.
Will Carpenter is the arts and entertainment/reports reporter for the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at 307-633-3135. Follow him on Twitter @will_carp_.