Sep 26, 2012 - By Randy Tucker, Staff WriterA new "R" will be at the Riverton Homecoming bonfire Thursday, thanks to the work of two Riverton High School students.
Fremont County School District 25 superintendent Terry Snyder said the old "R" had "melted down or self-destructed" last year, leaving behind a challenge for welding students Robert Anderson and James Steinhoff. Both boys said they would like to work as professional welders after graduation.
"They were as excited as can be to have that project to work on," Snyder said.
Anderson said he learned about the need for a new letter during an online learning class.
"Mrs. (Claire) Peart asked me ... if I could build a new 'R' for Homecoming," Anderson said.
He began working on design with welding teacher Casey Styvar, and together they decided to use 2-inch steel pipe to construct the giant letter.
After the RHS student council purchased the material, Steinhoff offered to join the team.
"I asked Mrs. Peart if she needed help on the project," Steinhoff said. "It took about three-and-a-half hours to build -- four class periods."
The students designed, cut and welded the giant "R" during Styvar's welding class. They attached hooks to the top of the structure so that guide wires could be used to stabilize it, and removable stands have been built in place of legs so the "R" is easier to transport on a trailer.
The students also have helped planned the actual burning event.
"We'll wrap (the 'R') with chain link fencing and stuff broken pallets inside the fence, then soak it in diesel," Anderson said.
The burning will take place during a pep rally Thursday at Wolverine Field. After a 6 p.m. chili feed, students and community members are invited to watch the "R" burn in a dirt area south of the newly built concessions stand. The fire is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m.
Snyder said the event has been approved by local officials despite the fire ban that has been in place in Wyoming since July.
"We originally didn't know we were going to do it," Snyder said. "But we checked with the county and the fire department (and) were able to get their approval on that. I appreciate that."
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