Welcome to our series, #WHYOMING.
We spot people from all over our communities and ask them some questions. We want to learn a little bit about them and see why they chose this great state to raise their family, start their own business, or just ask the question – why Wyoming?
At this week’s #WHYoming, I had the opportunity to speak with Eric Urlacher, physical education and health teacher at Stagecoach Elementary School. Eric brings enthusiasm to his class, encouraging students not only to have fun and live a healthy life, but to be their best self. I saw this firsthand when Eric and lovable marketing and communications specialist Kylie threw me into a fun Christmas game during one of his gym classes. We both enjoyed him and he and his students were amazingly welcoming.
It is always exciting to find someone who is passionate about their work, especially when they are working with children. (And man, it has made me miss PE class since I was a kid.) Sweetwater County is full of amazing people, which Eric has been referring to throughout the process of creating this article as he is honored to have been chosen for #WHYoming, but people like Eric really made this The community is a great place to live. Eric devotes his career and much of his spare time to ensuring that people are supported – whether they are his students, the children who benefit from Coats for Kids, or his wife and children. Rock Springs and Sweetwater County are lucky to have it.
Announcement – the story continues below…
Eric, what are you doing?
I am physically active for life! I like to think that my job is to always strive to be the best version of myself and help others do the same. I wear many hats, but my primary role is as a physical education and health teacher at Stagecoach Elementary School in Rock Springs. Go stallions! One of my newest hats is teaching wilderness navigation at WWCC! Lifetime learners welcome, you’ll find it in our Spring Catalog!
What do you enjoy in your work?
“You don’t stop playing because you get old, you get old because you stop playing!” – I love my job. I enjoy coming up with the coolest lessons possible to inspire students to enjoy physical activity and health throughout their lives. “Enthusiasm breeds enthusiasm.”
What organizations and events do you participate in outside of your work?
My primary vehicle of service is via the Catholic Holy Spirit Society and Knights of Columbus Council #2441. Children’s Coats is an initiative directly from KoFC. I’m the race director of the Coats for Kids 5k/10k track course, we just had 4y Annual event in August and raise about $1,600 plus material donations thanks to our community. Come run/walk next August!
I’ve been involved as a coach and volunteer in our local trail and cross-country programs. I’ve fought wildfires with the Forest Service and have been known to sell a wire of firewood. I am professionally involved with the Wyoming Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (WAHPERD). And as we mentioned above, come take Wilderness Navigation at WWCC!
Why do you think it is important to volunteer your time to these outside events and organizations?
“We cannot do great things, only small things with great love.” Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Each of us has a role to play, and it has given us unique talents and opportunities. If we all do small things with great love where there is a need, we can set the world on fire!
How did you end up in Rock Springs?
The #1 Sweetwater County School District was hiring, and I’m proud to be the #1 Sweetwater Teacher! My lovely wife Andrea is from Rock Springs and this helps me stay in the coolest place too!
The public of the earth, and that its people be kind in public places.
What are some of your hobbies?
Management! I love and appreciate our annual local races like the Run with Horses Marathon (Terry and John Paulska Race Director of Sweetwater Legends!), the Nun Too Fast 5k put on by Holy Sprit Catholic Youth, Frostbite 5k, 10k, and Kids 1 mile coming in February in Green River, see you there ! All ages and abilities welcome!
Also, hiking, backpacking, peak packing, hunting…fishing, thanks to my good friend David Chapman, and going on sweet adventures with my son Jacob and daughter Ava (I can do all the fun things for kids without sounding cranky!!)
If you could give one brief piece of advice, what would it be?
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and do it, because that’s what the world needs, people who come alive.” – Howard Thurman
“Be who God intended you to be, and you will set the world on fire.” – Saint Catherine of Siena
Where’s your favorite place to hang out in Sweetwater County?
Entire! I would strongly encourage everyone regardless of your personal hobby to check out Dylan Beer’s “Sweetwater Adventure Guide”. Whether you’re running, walking, taking photos, water sports, hunting, hunting or hounds, this book has it all. Our province is so vast! I know it was recently on sale at the RS Chamber of Commerce and Coal Train Coffee Depot! If you don’t find them there, send me a message!
Who would you like to play in a movie about yourself?
Danny DeVito. I always say when watching a movie… “Wouldn’t it be funny if Danny DeVito played this character?” The more silly, the better!
What do you sing in karaoke?
I don’t drink a ton, so if I get a white Russian in me, I’ll be spiced enough to sing whatever you want.
What is one of your accomplishments you are most proud of?
Every time a kid says he likes PE.
What is unique about you?
I’m a fairly perfect person, and I have two similar toes.
What is your favorite thing about Christmas and the holiday season?
Every year around Christmas, a man named Victor, who is from and resides in Bethlehem, comes around Rock Springs and sells original olive wood carvings of various things like nativity scenes. He and his community are persecuted for their beliefs, and one of their only sources of income is the sale of these beautiful sculptures. The message we always remember at Christmas; Hope, tolerance, love and peace.
Why did you choose to live in Wyoming?
You know what, I’ve walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain, worked in Alaska, fought wildfires across the West Mountain, smashed Space Mountain at Disneyland, swam in two oceans, and sweated in Nebraska. Wyoming bakes the cake, Wyoming takes the cake.