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99 Years Ago: Casper Throws the Wildest St. Patrick’s Day Party in Wyoming History

Ben Pruchnie, Getty Images
Ben Pruchnie, Getty Images

Patrick Joseph Sullivan ranks among the most prominent political leaders in Wyoming history. He is also credited for throwing the craziest St. Patrick’s Day party the Cowboy State has ever seen.

Sullivan arrived in Wyoming in 1888. Like many other Irish immigrants in the area, he found work on a sheep ranch. It only took a few years to become one of the richest ranchers in the Rawlins area.

In 1892, Sullivan expanded his holdings to Casper and was an early investor in the city’s banking and oil industries. After serving a term in the Wyoming House of Representatives, he was elected Mayor of Casper in 1897.

Over the years, Sullivan also became known for his St. Patrick’s Day parties. Every year on March 17th, hundreds of Irish cattlemen and oil workers would gather for a public dance in downtown Casper.

It was usually a racous affair, but Sullivan’s 1918 St. Patrick’s Day Dance was especially rowdy.

That day, the party spilled out into the streets and the drunken revellers nearly caused a riot. By the time Casper Police finally subdued the unruly mob, 22 men had been arrested for dirsorderly conduct.

Sullivan’s association with the notorious party did little to damage his reputation. He returned to politics in 1929, when he was appointed to replace Francis E. Warren in the United State Senate.

Following his retirement from public office, Sullivan passed away in 1935 at the age of 70. The proud Irishman and Wyoming citizen is burried at the Highland Cemetary in Casper.

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