With more than 25,000 residents, Gillette is the fourth-largest city in Wyoming. Located in the northeast area of the state, the city is the county seat of Campbell County. The area is a leader in the mining and production of coal, oil, and coal-bed methane gas.
Gillette is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. The area's wide-open spaces provide plenty of opportunities for hunting, fishing, boating, hiking, biking, and skiing. Facilities for sports, including soccer fields, hockey rinks and baseball diamonds, are plentiful. Motorcycling and snowboarding are also popular activities here.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
Because the area is rich in natural resources, Gillette's major industry is mining and manufacturing minerals. Gillette is known as the Energy Capital of the Nation. It has vast oil and natural gas reserves and a large number of coal mines - the area produces more than 30 percent of the coal used in the United States for generating electricity. Electrical power plants also dominate the area. Twenty-five percent of Gillette's jobs are directly tied to coal mining, natural gas, and oil extraction and supporting operations.
Top employers in Gillette include:
- Rio Tinto Energy America
- Campbell County School District
- Peabody Energy (coal mining)
- Thunder Basin Coal Company
- Campbell County Memorial Hospital
- Foundation Coal Company
- Campbell County
- Hettinger Welding
As Gillette looks toward the future, its economic development team is working toward expanding the industries of data storage, retail and clean-coal technologies.
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
Gillette is growing quickly, and the area is currently facing a housing shortage:
- Route 50 and Lakeaway Road: This area of Western Gillette is home to the Bell Knob Golf Course. The prestigious neighborhood is home to many families with children.
- Sleepy Hollow: Located south of Downtown Gillette, this rural area boasts houses on big lots. Most houses here were built after 1970.
- Rozet: This sprawling area south of Gillette includes many remote farms. Most of the residents here are families with children, and most rent their homes.
- Downtown: Gillette's downtown area has a greater population density than the outlying areas but is by no means a crowded, urban center. It is a comfortable, affordable neighborhood with plenty of shops, dining options and nightlife.
- Main Street has plenty of independent, local retailers. Although Gillette doesn't have a shopping mall, national retailers, grocery stores and hardware stores are located throughout the town, mixed in with local antique, jewelry and specialty stores and gift shops.
Gillette is part of the Campbell County School District, which has nearly 7,500 students and has been ranked in the top 15 percent of schools nationwide for the past five years. Two-thirds of Gillette's high school students move on to higher education; some of them attend the Gillette Campus of Northern Wyoming Community College, which offers short-term, skills-based technical courses and associate degrees in fields such as engineering, agricultural science and English.
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
For a small town, Gillette has plenty of entertainment options, from the performing arts to rodeos and other competitions:
- CAM-PLEX Multi-Event Facilities: This 1,100-acre complex is designed to host many different types of gatherings, from symphonic performances to the National High School Finals Rodeo, Pyrotechnic Guild International Fireworks Competition and RV and motorcycle rallies.
- Gillette Chamber Singers: This singing group performs a series of shows at the CAM-PLEX Heritage Center Theater each year.
- Powder River Symphony: This ensemble performs a variety of musical styles throughout its season, including a traditional Christmas Pops concert.
- AVA Community Art Center: Advocacy for Visual Arts (AVA) offers art classes and exhibits of local artists.
- Campbell County Public Library: More than just a book repository, the Campbell County Public Library has an extensive art collection, including outdoor, Western-themed sculptures.
Gillette also boasts plenty of indoor and outdoor activities designed to stimulate both the mind and the body:
- Gillette park system: The city of Gillette has an impressive 27 city parks, as well as a city pool that offers a sand playground, diving well, lap swimming and a zero-depth area for children.
- Rockpile Museum: Exhibits trace the area's history and focus on coal mining and antique forms of transportation, including wagons and carriages.
- Thunder Basin National Grassland: Hiking, fishing, camping, bird-watching and wildlife viewing are on tap in this 1.8-million-acre reserve.
Gillette has one newspaper, Gillette News Record, which serves the entire Campbell County area. The town also has one public television station, Gillette Public Access; it operates a public-access channel, one that features educational programming and one that features governmental programming.
Most of Gillette's annual events not only are fun but also support worthy causes-local charities.
- Crawfish Boil: For more than 25 years, the city has celebrated this April event at the CAM-PLEX Central Pavilion. Festivities continue until the crawfish are gone.
- Wyoming Celtic Games and Highland Festival: This June event features Celtic games and entertainment, including bagpipers.
- Campbell County Fair: The fair, held at the end of July, is a major event. Attractions include live music, rodeos and livestock shows. The fair is held at CAM-PLEX Multi-Event Facilities.
- Charity Chili Cook-off: Participants bring their best chili recipes to the CAM-PLEX Central Pavilion in an effort to raise money for charity. This October event includes a children's costume contest, live music and a dance.
- Festival of Trees: This November event is a fundraiser for local charities. The festivities feature decorated trees and wreaths and include an auction to benefit the Campbell County Memorial Hospital.