A storytelling event aimed at building community among outdoor athletes is coming to Laramie on Sunday.
Boldly Went: Your Adventure Stories is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. at the Laramie Plains Civic Center, 710 Garfield St. Tickets are $15 or $5 for University of Wyoming students.
During the event, audience members will be invited to share a personal story about an outdoor adventure in 10 minutes or less. A panel of judges, also from the audience, will pick a standout story.
Stories from the event will also be chosen by organizers Angel and Tim Mathis to appear on their weekly podcast, Boldly Went.
“We hear stories from all different activities, and then they inform us about all different types of people, too,” Angel Mathis said. “We really get excited about people who explore the world in nontraditional ways, who really inspire us to do something outside our comfort zone.”
The Mathises decided to bring the live show to Laramie after hearing from a couple blog listeners who had a friend in Laramie, then connecting with that friend.
“We were both in agreement that Laramie is a great outdoor town,” Angel Mathis said.
“That’s what made it happen.”
Mathis said she’s hoping people from all types of backgrounds, who favor a variety of activities, will join the show.
“Basically, anything that’s outdoors-related,” she said.
As people enter the venue Sunday, those who have a story to share can put their name into a hat.
Storytellers will be chosen at random, with about 10 people given the chance to share.
At a recent event in Tacoma, Washington, one storyteller was a woman who was just learning to backpack. Another storyteller was a 15-time world record holder and the first person to circumnavigate the globe using only human power.
Mathis said the storytelling element of the shows levels the playing field, allowing everyone to share inspiring and adventurous tales no matter their experience level.
“Everyone has an equal shot to share something impactful to them and the rest of the crowd,” she said.
Mathis started Boldly Went in January after a series of events in her personal life pointed her in that direction.
She organized her first storytelling event in her hometown of Seattle, Washington, in 2015, with an emphasis on female adventure pioneers who lived in their area.
“Every community has those people, but we don’t get to hear about them,” she said.
Shortly thereafter, she and Tim hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, which covers about 2,700 miles from Mexico to Canada. After that trip, they traveled through Central and South America. During their travels, they found it difficult to connect with locals who were into outdoor recreation off the touristy paths.
“We need a space where we don’t emphasize the best among us or the fastest or the person who’s done the hardest thing,” she said. “We need a space where we can hear those stories, but we can also hear the stories of a person that’s maybe learning a new activity and we can all be inspired by each other.”
Just before they left to hike the PCT, Tim’s dad was diagnosed with brain cancer, and he died while they were in the midst of their hike. Mathis said that experience gave her the push to leave her job as a nurse practitioner to start the podcast.
“It really emphasized to us that we needed to go after the things we think are important and valuable in life,” she said.
Mathis said most live shows have taken place in the Pacific Northwest so far. Upcoming shows are scheduled for Boulder, Colorado, and Moab, Utah.
“I really do believe in this project,” she said. “I just love bringing it to communities, and I love the bonds that it forms in communities.”