Green River Star -

By Stephanie Thompson
People Editor 

Rocking Sweetwater County

 

September 20, 2017

Stephanie Thompson

Gracie Meagher decided to paint a rock at the 307 Rocks stand at the Rock Springs Farmer's Market Thursday afternoon. This wasn't Meagher's first time painting a rock, but either way she enjoyed it.

A new craze is taking over the county and maybe even the state.

No. It's not "Pokeman Go" or geocaching.

It's something one must find, yet not even know they are looking for. They'll know it when they find it.

It all started when one Sweetwater County resident found a rock while she was visiting Colorado.

Sandy Cheeseman said she was leaving a store in Craig, Colo., when she found a painted rock. On the back of the rock was information about the Moffat County Rock program. Cheeseman followed the instructions on the back, took a photo of it, posted it to the Moffat County Rock Facebook page and then hid the rock.

Cheeseman joined their rock group and tried to find one in Wyoming, but had no luck. That's when she decided to start her own. At first, she called the group Sweetwater County Rocks, but quickly realized painting that much on the back of a small rock was a pain, so she decided to call it 307 Rocks.

In the Spring, Cheeseman officially started the 307 Rocks Facebook page and started to paint rocks and hide them throughout the county. 

Her daughter, Ariana Kuhn, helped get the rock finding program off of the ground. At first, there were only 67 likes on the Facebook page, she said.

"It just boomed from there," Kuhn said. "We just like to make people happy."

Cheeseman said there's just something special about finding a nicely painted rock. It makes one happy. She said just seeing the smile on a child's face the first time they find one is a feeling that can't be replaced. "We're spreading happiness one rock at a time," Cheeseman said.

Trish Musich, an administrator of the program, said it's a nice way to get kids out of the house, off of the electronics and doing something fun.

How 307 Rocks works is someone will paint a rock. They will then put information on the back including, "take a picture, post to 307 Rocks and then rehide or keep the rock." The whole purpose of putting it on Facebook is so those who painted the rocks can see where the rocks are at and who found them. Some people may decide to keep a rock that they find particularly special to them and that's OK too, Cheeseman said.

The rocks don't have to be anything special. Residents can either buy some or find a couple from their backyard. Cheeseman said she paints her rocks with acrylic paint and then sprays them with a clear coat finishing paint to prevent the paint from coming off of the rock.  The rocks can be any size a person wants it to be. The biggest one found weighed about 10 pounds, while the smallest was about the size of the nickel.

Each person enjoys something different about the program. For some the painting is the most fun, but for others finding and rehiding the rocks is the best part.

"It's like a big scavenger hunt all summer long," Kuhn said.

As for the popularity of 307 Rocks, it was something none of them expected. The number of likes on Facebook just keeps climbing; and the group is followed by more than 2,500 people. 

"It's just gone crazy," Cheeseman said.

Seeing all of the posts on Facebook is worth it to Cheeseman. She and her administrators are not paid and all of the work they do is volunteer.

Each day, there are new posts on the Facebook page about rocks that were found, who found them and whether or not they are going to keep the rock or hide it again. Cheeseman gets to see smiling faces every day on the page and that makes her happy.

One downside is residents who hide rocks must know that not all of the rocks are reported. Some are taken by younger children who can't read and kept for keepsakes. This can be discouraging to some, but for Musich that's all part of the experience. Sometimes one isn't going to know what happened to their rock, but they should know someone probably just liked it enough to keep it.

With winter coming, Cheeseman and Kuhn aren't sure what that will mean to the program, but they are going to keep painting and hiding rocks for others to find.

 

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