2022-11-20 17:36

Hello RZA Community and greetings from Sidney, the Sunrise City of Montana!

A big thank you to Pete for creating this game and keeping it running for so long. And also to go through all of the trouble and expenses to furnish an actual trophy! We have a great game administrator. And this just isn’t a trophy, it’s also a chalice!

Beyond the prizes for winning, the IECC 5 was a fun and challenging tournament. I think I had a bit of an advantage as my region currently lacks human players giving me more time to focus on putting my best game plans forward. That included creating a special research center to prepare for the championship game against Rufio’s Space Kraken.

Unlike past winners of this tournament, all of whom hail from larger metropolises, Sidney is a very tiny, isolated farming/ranching/oil boom city on the Montana/North Dakota border (hence the nickname, Sunrise City, as this is the most eastern city in the state). While not truly my home town (I was born in northern Kentucky, about 20 hours away from my new home), it’s where I’ve been for nearly the past two years, so I thought I’d share about my current home town. This is a city of only about 6,000 people, and you would have to drive nearly an hour in any direction to get to the next comparable city. Separating the cities are miles of farms, ranches and badlands.

Photos and words don’t do the landscape justice. You pretty much have to experience the badlands to appreciate them. The Montana Badlands (Makoshika State Park) and the North Dakota Badlands (Teddy Roosevelt National Park) are both less than an hour and a half away and hiking in either parks is among my favorite things to do out here. Hiking in Teddy Roosevelt, one can come across wild bison (I always do), antelope, elk, deer, coyotes, mountain lions (luckily I haven’t experienced that), bald eagles, rattle snakes and, of course, prairie dogs.

(I was hoping to get a picture of the trophy with a prairie dog, but the weather foiled those plans)

Sidney is nestled along the Yellowstone River, which means that the first non-Native Americans to come through were likely members of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Upon returning from the Pacific Ocean, Lewis took a portion of the team back along the Missouri River while Clark took the rest down the Yellowstone to further explore the region. It’s a shallow river so it freezes over for most of winter.

Because of our very dry climate, the Yellowstone and the canal are the primary sources of water for the farmers. While you’ll see a variety of crops, the chief cash crop is sugar beets. The harvested beets are then processed into sugar at the local factory. This train engine (already decorated for Christmas) sits in Veteran Park as a remnant of the Holly Sugar Company, which is now Sidney Sugars Inc.

The largest employer in the city is our hospital, Sidney Health Center. We’re a very small facility having only 16 hospital beds and three intensive care unit beds. We also have an airplane to fly to hospitals in the region if we aren’t able to meet someone’s emergent needs.

I figure the best way to wrap this up is to share the final resting place of the trophy and one of our famous sunrises.

Thank you very much for sharing some impressions and thoughts with us, much appreciated!

Pete, in the name of RZA and its community

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