TORRINGTON — Superman once said, “I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” An event in Goshen County this summer will highlight beloved fictional heroes, as well as those who walk among us in the real world.
Goshen County Cozmicon began last year, as a celebration of the 50th anniversary of putting man on the moon.
“My friend Geri (Zeimans) works for the Western History Center,” Cozmicon director Madison Bloodgood said. “She wanted to know if we could do some kind of Comic Con event for the anniversary of the moon landing. She’d never been to one of those kinds of events.”
Bloodgood had been to several and spent three months putting the event, called Cozmicon, together.
“It turned out wonderfully,” she said.
The event drew in more than 300 attendees, many there to hear from keynote speaker Roger Spears, a Goshen County teacher and member of NASA’s NEAT program.
This year’s event, set for July 11, is months away but Bloodgood says planning is in full swing. She’s working on lining up people who would be interested in volunteering during the event, which would include things such as helping with registration, serving lunch and making sure cosplayers respect the costume guidelines. Volunteers are also needed to help with face painting.
“Our keynote this year will be Kevin Cook,” Bloodgood said.
Cook is the founder of d, an organization dedicated to bringing big heroes to little fans spending time in children’s hospitals throughout Colorado.
"He and his group spend every weekend in cosplay dressed as super heroes to visit kids,” she said. “They’re volunteers — everything they do is either through donations or it comes out of their own pockets. It’s so worth being a part of.”
Cook will lead a panel during the event. A second panel will feature real life heroes, like first responders, teachers and nurses. Bloodgood said a similar panel last year seemed to inspire attendees.
“It was amazing,” Bloodgood said. “The Search and Rescue team ended up with new members and three of the attendees decided to apply for nursing school.”
The family-friendly event will also feature a lunch, face painting, raffle, giveaways and a cosplay contest — all at no cost. Vendors from Wyoming, Colorado and western Nebraska will be offering items for purchase and the Goshen County Quilters will have super hero-themed quilts on display.
“We’ll have local cosplayers dressed up as their favorite super hero so kids can take pictures with them,” Bloodgood said, adding that Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman are among the attendees. “We’ll also have a photo booth with tons of props. All of the photos are free and public domain — we put them on our Facebook page and people are welcome to save them.”
Last year, the event took place over the course of two days, but it will be compressed into one this time around. It’ll take place inside the 21st and Main Building in Downtown Torrington.
Bloodgood said the event is made possible in part by donations from local businesses and organization, as well as Wyoming Humanities grants.
She said that there are only three events within a 100 mile radius of Torrington, including Scottsbluff’s High Plains Mini-con. She believes Cons offer a way to bring people together over a common interest, but not everyone can afford a weekend pass to Denver’s famed Pop Culture Con, she said, which is where smaller community events come into play.
“It’s a great introduction to the nerdy side of life,” Bloodgood said.
Those who’d like to get involved with the event can find the volunteer form on the Goshen County Cozmicon Facebook page or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling Bloodgood at 307-575-1210. Superpowers aren’t a requirement, Bloodgood said.
“We not just embodying the comic book side of this,” Bloodgood said. “These values and heroes are alive in our community.”