Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah
image Tooele Transcript Bulletin staff writer Mark Watson prepares for liftoff as a passenger in an AirMed helicopter. He enjoyed the spectacular views from the chopper on the round trip from Tooele to Ophir Canyon.

August 17, 2017
From chopper rides to gourmet food, reporting has its highlights

There is plenty of repetition in day-to-day living, and I suppose that is why people relish breaking out of the norm, going on vacations and doing things they have never done before.

There’s even a lot of repetition in news reporting with government meetings, annual holiday celebrations, sports seasons and other major events. You could say, “Been there, done that.” The characters change, but situations are similar.

But news reporting can be fun when you’re invited to do something you don’t normally do.

When you’ve been a reporter for more than three decades, you end up finding yourself engaged in some interesting activities. If I dug into the archives, memories would flood back at some of the weird and/or not-normal-for-me things I’ve done.

Memories fade, however, so I’ll focus on three work-related events I found fun and fascinating during the past two years.

In October 2015, I spent a day with Division of Wildlife Conservation Officer Bryan Clyde on the opening day of the deer hunt in the Uintah Basin. It was a fascinating day as I rode along with someone who has the power to arrest people.

He found a woman shooting a spike elk from inside her vehicle. He issued a citation and confiscated the elk.

“The majority of animals are taken the first two days of the hunt,” Clyde told me. “Plus a lot of people now are just weekend warriors. They go out on the first two days and that’s it. The first day is the busiest.”

During the day, he examined a bear shot in the Book Cliffs and removed its tooth to check for its age. During the day he made sure people tagged their deer properly, and we even delivered some deer meat to a household.

Another interesting day occurred when my wife and I attended the EskDale High School Christmas banquet in 2016.

Growing up in Grantsville, I always had visions of living in the middle of nowhere. But Grantsville is a metropolis compared to EskDale, Utah.

It’s a small, unincorporated farming commune in Millard County near the Nevada border. Most residents are members of the Order of Aaron.

The student body includes about 20 kids grades 7-12 from surrounding farm communities and EskDale. Students learn piano at an early age, and the school specializes in culinary arts.

Gourmet food was served at the banquet. Students acted in an original play, there were songs from a choir and music from a student orchestra. It was impressive considering all of this came from such a small group.

Finally, I had a memorable day three weeks ago when I was invited by AirMed to ride in one of its helicopters. It was my fourth chopper ride.

The original plan was to ride in a car with AirMed personnel from the Transcript Bulletin to Ophir Canyon to witness AirMed employees participate in a summer survival training session.

I received a text from an AirMed official early on the morning of July 17 asking if I and photographer Sue Butterfield would like to ride in the chopper from the AirMed pad on 1000 North in Tooele to Ophir Canyon. We accepted the invitation.

As we lifted off, I noticed a few deer scurrying about in some of the business areas of Tooele. I looked down at construction on a new track at Tooele High School, and looked out over the Industrial Depot and the entire valley. It’s always a blast to look at landscape from such a high elevation.

We skirted the Oquirrh Mountains and flew directly over Stockton and up Ophir Canyon. The journey took about 10 minutes.

After a couple of hours on the ground for the survival activities, we were back in the chopper for more fun.

Nurse Bobbie Carlisle said the helicopter ride that morning was fun for her, too. During most of her chopper rides, her attention is on a patient.

Checking on deer hunters, watching EskDale students perform, and riding in a helicopter to save lives are normal days for some people.

But, just for a day, I found each of them fascinating.

Mark Watson

Sports Editor at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Mark directs all editorial coverage of sports in addition to reporting on a wide range of events from high school football to international racing. He has a wealth of journalism experience, having worked for four other newspapers in the state. Mark grew up in Tooele County and graduated from Grantsville High School and Brigham Young University.

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