Tyler Johnson

Words cannot describe how thrilled I am to finally be a member of the Rocket Miner news team and be a part of this community.

Two months ago, I made the bold decision to pack up my things and leave Texas, the only state I have ever called home.

I would like to say that it was a tough decision, but it really wasn’t.

I always knew that someday I would move away from Texas.

In fact, I made it one of my goals after I graduated with a journalism degree from Stephen F. Austin State University in 2017. I wanted to move out of Texas by the time I was 30 years old and I wanted to be a reporter for the Houston Chronicle, my hometown newspaper.

Well, I managed to accomplish both of my goals before I turned 28, so I guess I need to set some loftier goals for myself.

I was ready to trade the hot and humid weather for cold and dry.

However, I never ever imagined myself moving to Wyoming because I didn’t know much about the state.

If you were to have asked me to point to it on a map several months ago, I probably couldn’t do it. (I was never very good at geography growing up).

But when I received the call that I was a finalist for the sports reporter position here, I quickly Googled Rock Springs and Green River to learn as much as I could about the area and the state.

The more and more I researched, the more I started to see how beautiful Wyoming is.

The wide-open spaces, wild and diverse landscapes and unique geological formations captured my attention and thoughts of endless adventures with my dog filled my imagination.

Coming from Houston, I’m really looking forward to driving two or three hours in any direction and not being in the same state – let alone the same city. Seriously, it can take you a whole afternoon to get from one side of Houston to the other at times.

It wasn’t long after I received the offer from our editor Caleb Smith in late September that I began searching for flights from Houston to Rock Springs so I can get to know the town and area I was potentially going to be calling home.

Everyone I met on my trip was welcoming and provided me with plenty of advice on how to get through an ice-cold winter, which was something I was most concerned about.

I can’t wait to visit the Flaming Gorge or travel up north to Yellowstone National Park or Grand Teton National Park. I’m looking forward to driving across the state to take a look at Devils Tower.

I’m excited about all of the adventures and stories this state will provide me for years to come.

And that’s why I think most of us journalists chose this career. Every day has the opportunity to be a new adventure. Journalism is supposed to be an experience that takes you to places you’ve never imagined yourself being in.

While I was reporting for the Houston Chronicle prior to coming to the Rocket Miner, I primarily covered politics. It was something that I was interested in and enjoyed, for the most part. But after dealing with politicians day in and day out, needless to say, I’m happy to be going back to covering my first love, which is sports.

I grew up playing basketball and soccer, but I’m a fan of all sports.

I’m a die-hard Houston sports fan, so you can imagine my heartbreak after the Astros lost the World Series my last night in Texas.

My first journalism job out of college was a sports reporter for the Fort Bend Herald, a hyper-local newspaper just west of Houston. I had a great experience there because we had a tight-knit newsroom, much like we have here at the Rocket Miner.

In most sports, a team must work together to find success and fulfill its goals.

And that’s the same in the world of journalism. A reporter is only as good as the people they are surrounded by.

The news team here welcomed me with open arms and they continue to make sure that Rock Springs and Sweetwater County feels like home.

I began my journey to Wyoming on Halloween, which was fitting because moving more than a thousand miles away from home, family and friends is the scariest thing I have ever done.

I left the only place I had ever known for a place I didn’t know anything about.

During my trip, I drove through Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming. I spent about 25 hours in total driving and I often asked myself why I made this decision.

It was a long drive and it was made even longer because of the 15-foot U-Haul I was driving, plus the vehicle transporter that I was hauling behind it.

But when I started to see the mountains on the horizon in Colorado, all of the questions of doubt left because the mountains meant opportunity and possibility.

Life is an adventure and it’s an even better adventure when you have places to explore.

I had pretty much seen and done it all in Texas so it was time for a change.

I love Texas. It will always be home and hold a special place in my heart.

But I have been living here for less than two weeks now and I have already been on more adventures than I had in probably the last two years.

Heck, the drive to get up here was adventurous.

Last weekend, my dog and I hiked White Mountain. We didn’t get all the way to the top, but we will one day – hopefully before winter hits.

Together, we made snow angels right outside my apartment after it snowed one night earlier this week. I’ll admit, my dog’s snow angels turned out better than mine and we probably got some strange looks from people as they walked or drove by.

I’ve also cooked more in my crockpot in the last week than I had my entire life so that’s cool.

I can’t wait to get to know this area more and I will do my best to provide the best sports coverage I possibly can.

As a journalist, I take great pride in being truthful, accurate and timely.

There’s a learning curve at every new job, especially when it’s in a new state, but that’s what I look forward to the most.

Tyler Johnson is a sports reporter for the Rocket Miner. Contact him at tjohnson@rocketminer.com and follow him on Twitter at @iamtylerjohnson.

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