By on March 21, 2017

Readers’ Choice
Best Local Sports Team
Jackson Hole Juggernauts (Silver)

In 2011, after Mersadee Lulay and Sara Michael watched the roller derby documentary Whip It, the Jackson Hole Juggernauts were born. They wasted no time lacing up their skates and recruiting eager rookies.

Juggernauts board president Janice Bushnell (a.k.a. SassN8r) explained, “Most of our players had not skated before, but with the help of a veteran derby player, clinics, other leagues, and lots of practice, the Juggernauts played our first bout only months after getting on skates.”

The Juggernauts have since amassed a team of vibrant players, hosting games on its home turf at Snow King and traveling all over the Rocky Mountain West to compete. This year—after placing third in the Wyoming Roller Derby Cup in 2016—will be the team’s first opportunity to be publicly ranked by the Women’s Federation of Flat Track Association.   

In a place like Jackson Hole, where there is no shortage of resilient, dynamic women, it’s not surprising that the Juggs are thriving. And for its players, roller derby is more than a contact sport on wheels, said team captain Tracy Perkins (a.k.a. Gauntlet). “If anyone chooses to stay in the derby world for more than two years, s/he has found a community that promotes physical and mental strength, acceptance, and above all, a sense of humor. We might be a group of misfit toys, but we’re the most fun kind of misfits.”

– Jessica Sell Chambers and Robyn Vincent

Readers’ Choice
Best Filmmaker
JenTen productions (Silver)

A common question motivates all of Jennifer Tennican’s films: “How do you nourish community?” Since 2002, Tennican has documented the people and places in Jackson that do just that.

The Stagecoach Bar, for example, has united beer lovers, disco dancers, cowboys, extreme athletes, and millionaires for more than 70 years. Tennican’s award-winning film tells its story: “It’s the kind of place that brings together people of all kinds of different backgrounds … that shows we’re all more similar than we are dissimilar.”

Her current project documents the first year of Vertical Harvest, one of the world’s first vertical greenhouses. To tell these stories, Tennican seeks local collaborators who can offer their expertise. As the only person behind her production company, JenTen, she relies on others’ talent to elevate her work. “In general, projects are better when you have a team involved,” she said. “While I wear a lot of different hats, from director to producer to camera person to fundraiser and writer, it’s lovely to employ local, quality people.” She works consistently with a group of about six people who are also invested in illuminating unique community narratives.

Tennican seeks authentic voices and personal stories, and she’s found all that in Jackson and more. “The power of film is to transport you into other people’s worlds, and the scenery here is so amazing for the kind of stories we’re telling.”

– Sarah Ross

Readers’ Choice
Best Artist
Kathryn Mapes Turner (Gold)

An artist could spend her entire life painting the Tetons. The range looks different every day, every hour—morphing with the light, clouds, shadows. Kathryn Mapes Turner captures the mountains in all their complexity, their unfathomable enormity.

“I have been taken with the magnificence of this valley for as long as I can remember. From an early age, surrounded by the beauty of my childhood home at the Triangle X Ranch, I needed to find a way to express my appreciation for it. Painting and drawing became that mode of expression,” Mapes Turner said.

After so many years spent in Grand Teton National Park, she captures this landscape with a loving and precise eye—the way dust rises above sagebrush, the way elk stand alert and watchful in the first snow, the way summer sunsets soften the edges of everything. “I do not try to recreate a photorealistic representation of the natural world, but rather paintings that depict my emotional connection with it,” she explained.

Mapes Turner has been recognized for her art locally, regionally, and nationally. “From the beginning, I have been blessed with amazing support from my family and friends. This is a gift,” she said. “The community of Jackson really celebrates art and artists in a special way.”

Indeed, Jackson is proud to claim her as its own.

– Sarah Ross

Readers’ Choice
Best Club DJ
DJ Vert-OnE (Gold)

Rocky Vertone has been slaying this category for almost a decade. But he’s pure humility when talking about his reputation as the best DJ in town.

“I’m flattered,” he said. “But I laugh because I don’t think I’m the best DJ. There are a lot of good DJs in town.”

He’s been DJing in the valley for nearly 20 years, at times doing four gigs a week. But today Vertone is at the point in his career where he is picking and choosing his gigs, mostly private events. The owner of the framing shop Full Circle Frameworks stepped away from the regular bar scene about a year and a half ago. “I can’t do that anymore,” he said, “I’m tired.” But not so tired as to give up his love of heavy metal and punk music, his personal music foundations (The Clash is a favorite).

One of his strengths as a DJ is being well-versed in a diversity of styles, from metal to hip-hop, jazz, trip-hop, house, dance, a bit of funk, and even disco. He hosted a disco night for seven years, where he perfected his music mash ups. “I’m totally into that,” he said. “I could seriously go to any party and play whatever they ask for.” He says his favorite club moments are “when people are screaming and just stoked.”

– Meg Daly

Readers’ Choice
Best Actor
Andrew Munz (Gold)

Andrew Munz died for the first time this year—on stage, that is.

But damn, was it convincing. Real tears fell from his eyes (and I think also from mine). His role as Laertes in Hamlet is testament to the miles and miles of progress he’s made since his theater debut in fourth grade. His acting career started humbly, as 1/6 of the caterpillar in Missoula Children’s Theater’s Alice in Wonderland. But he stuck with it, and now he not only stars in shows, but also writes and directs them.

Believe it or not, Munz hates public speaking. But as a shy kid with low self-esteem, he found solace in being someone else on stage. “It’s the one form of self-expression that I felt comfortable with,” he said.

The thespian life is full of concessions. Constantly benching his own identity to become someone completely different is addicting, Munz said, but it’s also taxing. To play Laertes required “so much raw emotion.” (For those who skipped the reading in high school, Laertes is brother to Ophelia and son of Polonius. They all die. It’s not pretty.) Munz has never lost anyone close to him, like Laertes who loses his family, so to tap into that character and try to understand what that felt like required a complete transformation. Munz left each rehearsal and show “emotionally exhausted.”

Still, his spirits are always high. As one of the founding members of Laff Staff, Munz also knows how to keep it light. The third iteration of his renowned original play I Can Ski Forever, based loosely on Jackson life, is a full-length musical, and on stage now at Pink Garter Theatre.

– Shannon Sollitt

Readers’ Choice
Best Illustrator
Walt Gerald & Ryan Stolp (Bronze, tie)

Walt Gerald

Many people know Walt Gerald as a printmaker, but he says illustration is the best overarching concept for what he does. According to Gerald, “the technical definition of an illustrator is someone who specializes in enhancing a concept by providing visual representation.” This he excels at in spades. Whether it’s an eye-catching poster of an old-timey army general with a lettuce for a head to advertise the Jackson Hole People’s Market, or a greeting card with a snow boot and a ribbon proclaiming “Send It,” Gerald illustrates concepts with nuanced aplomb. He works both commercially and privately on his own designs, and enjoys both. “I love getting to work with different people and help them tell the story of their ideas visually.”

Ryan Stolp

Ryan Stolp’s illustrations imagine a convergence of the Old and New West, where cowboys ride Lunch Counter on a kayak, modern outdoorswomen kick back by their covered wagon singing songs at their campfire, and train robbers outpace their quarry via ATVs. Stolp’s exuberant West is populated by the wild, visionary types inhabiting the region. He mixes history in with his contemporary drawings for a colorful, idealized world of freedom and adventure. Stolp arrived in Jackson two and a half years ago and co-founded the creative agency, Orijin. Look for his April show at The Rose.  

– Meg Daly

Readers’ Choice
Best Teton Valley Musician
The Miller Sisters (Gold)

Moving and grooving to the harmonic sound of The Miller Sisters has become a locals’ pastime. Once a trio, the rockabilly-soul, rock ‘n’ roll, bluegrass acoustic sisters began 19 years ago, with their third sibling, Muriah. Candice and Karee have been performing locally in Teton Valley for 10 years with Candice strumming guitar and banjo and Karee playing mandolin, guitar and harmonica. “Our vocal harmony is our biggest asset,” Candice said.

The sisters’ new CD, The Miller Sisters Hymnal Favorites, is a compilation of their favorite hymns. “Singing in church on Sundays is where we started,” Candice explained. Both Candice and Karee are song leaders at their respective congregations in Teton Valley.

As the valley’s music scenes on both sides of the hill have grown and matured, so too have the careers of the Miller Sisters. “Jackson Hole and Teton Valley have become musical hubs, where musicians can do the same things as those who play in Nashville and Los Angeles,” Candice said. “We are in a good place where we can focus on our families, and play music professionally.”

The sisters also play with Bootleg Flyer, a folk-rock country and soul band, and Mandatory Air, a soul funk and rock band.

– Jessica Flammang

Readers’ Choice
Best Band with Original Music
Canyon Kids (Bronze)

“Everyone’s third favorite band.” Canyon Kids frontman Bo Elledge was quick to point out that this is the band’s third year winning Bronze in the Best of JH readers’ poll, but they’re working tirelessly to prove themselves here. The band played 80 shows this past calendar year, and this is the first season Elledge can call himself a full-time musician since joining forces with band mate Dusty Nichols six years ago. “Somehow I’m surviving off these gigs,” he said.

Canyon Kids’ sound is a reflection of all of Jackson’s elements—from its gritty Western-folk roots to its young, contemporary, dare we say hip developments. The sextet is getting ready to release its fourth full-length album, and this one comes packed with political commentary. Elledge said the album includes songs about gun control, foreign policy, and the war on drugs. But it’s not all politics. “It’s a big, heavy record with cool interludes and reprises between the heavy stuff,” he said.

The band’s powerful sound and local charm has garnered the Canyon Kids national attention. The group has scored supporting slots with the likes of G Love and the Special Sauce, Lukas Nelson, the Infamous Stringdusters and Galactic. Still, its focus is local. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it.” Elledge said, whether playing empty rooms or to a massive crowd in Teton Village for Out West Fest in summer 2016.

“I just really want people to support this local music scene,” he said. “We’re definitely puttin’ the shows out there.”

This year Out West Fest includes a series of singer/songwriter nights to take place in the Jackson Playhouse theater lobby, and features local singer/songwriters in a casual and completely unique setting.

– Shannon Sollitt

Readers’ Choice
Best Musician
Pam Phillips (Bronze)

Pam Phillips was only six when her fingers first danced across piano keys; her passion flourished in high school, and led her to study piano performance at the University of Cincinnati. In the years since, her musical talents have carried her across the nation and the globe. From Broadway to the stages of Europe, Phillips has an impressive résumé to say the least. After 15 years of touring—and luckily for Jackson Hole—the Phillips family decided to settle in and make their home in the Tetons.

If you want to catch some of Phillips’s tunes, head up to the Granary Restaurant and listen to her play some of her favorite gigs. “Weekends in a great room with fantastic views with a wonderful piano—I love both nights,” Phillips said. “Fridays with the band are energizing, but Saturdays solo are also great because I get to stretch out and experiment with the Great American Songbook.”

Phillips isn’t limited by her songbooks, though. She enjoys composing her own music, and finds inspiration in the beauty of the natural world that surrounds her home in Jackson. From looking out the window at the mountain peaks or hitting the trail for a hike with friends or dogs, Phillips doesn’t regret trading the bright lights of the city for the clear view of the stars in the Western sky.

– Melissa Thomasma

Sports, Art & Entertainment

Best Cover Band

Gold: Deadlocks

Silver: Lazy Eyes

Bronze: One Ton Pig

Best Annual Event

Gold: Old Bill’s Fun Run

Silver: Hill Climb

Bronze: Jackson Hole LIVE

Best Band Playing Original Songs

Gold: Sneaky Pete & The Secret Weapons

Silver: One Ton Pig

Bronze: Canyon Kids

Best Musician

Gold: Jason Fritts

Silver: Peter Chanman

Bronze: Pam Phillips

Best Classical Musician

Gold: Byron Tomingas

Silver: Pam Phillips

Bronze: Jason Fritts

Best Teton Valley Musician

Gold: Miller Sisters

Silver: Ben Winship

Bronze: Derek Huffsmith

Bronze: Pam Phillips

Best Church Choir

Gold: St. John’s Episcopal Church

Silver: Our Lady of the Mountains

Bronze: Presbyterian Church

Best Club DJ

Gold: DJ Vertone – Rocky

Silver: DJ Londo – Nick Londy

Bronze: DJ Era – Elliot

Best Live Entertainment Venue

Gold: Pink Garter Theatre

Silver: Center for the Arts

Bronze: Snow King – JH LIVE

Best Outdoor Concert Series

Gold: JacksonHoleLive

Silver: Music on Main

Bronze: Concert on the Commons

Best Local Sports Team

Gold: Jackson Hole Moose Hockey

Silver: Jackson Hole Juggernauts

Bronze: Jackson Hole Broncos

Best Shake-a-Day

Gold: The Bird

Silver: Eleanor’s Again

Bronze: The Virginian

Best Art Gallery

Gold: Tayloe Piggott Gallery

Silver: Altamira

Silver: Diehl Gallery

Bronze: Trio Fine Art

Best Local Artist

Gold: Kathryn Mapes Turner

Silver: Amy Ringholtz

Bronze: Nicole Gaitan

Best Photographer

Gold: Thomas D. Mangelsen

Silver: Ashley Merritt

Bronze: Flo McCall

Best Illustrator

Gold: Tim Tomkinson

Silver: Kelly Halpin

Bronze: Ryan Stolp

Bronze: Walt Gerald

Best Actor/Actress

Gold: Andrew Munz

Silver: Zoe Joralemon

Bronze: Brian Lenz

Best Place to Get Your Groove On

Gold: The Rose

Silver: Pink Garter Theatre

Bronze: Stagecoach

Best Late Night Hangout

Gold: The Rose

Silver: Pinky G’s

Bronze: Million Dollar Cowboy Bar

Best Theater Production Company

Gold: Off Square Theatre

Silver: Riot Act, Inc

Bronze: Jackson Hole Playhouse

Best Filmmaker

Gold: Teton Gravity Research

Silver: Darrell Miller

Silver: Jennifer Tennican

Bronze: Jimmy Chin

Best Ski Run

Gold: Hobacks

Silver: Corbet’s Couloir

Bronze: Crags

Best Liftee

Gold: Riley Doyle (JHMR)

Silver: Will Freihofer (JHMR)

Bronze: Nelson Nolan (JHMR)

Best Golf Course

Gold: JH Golf & Tennis

Silver: Teton Pines

Bronze: 3 Creek Ranch Golf Club

About Various Authors

Sometimes it takes a village.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login