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I recently encountered this image, stated to be the flag of Niobrara County, Wyoming:

Supposed Niobrara flag

It was posted specifically as an "eye hurting flag"; that is, it was noted as especially ugly. I know many strange flags exist, but several elements of this strike me as possibly fake:

  • The foreground of the flag appears to consist of two blurry, digitally cropped photographs (perhaps of paintings, or colorized).
  • The horses depicted have their eyes replaced by black circles, which seem to be either have been produced at a lower resolution than the rest of the image, or to be victims of harsh image compression.
  • The map in the background extends somewhat past the border surrounding the flag on the top.

It may be a poor recreation of the real thing just as well as a bizarre hoax targeting the least populous county in Wyoming.

What I've looked in to

Searching both for this image and for "niobrara county flag" are yielding only this page on Flags of the World, which contains the disclaimer:

The quality of images and news varies very much: the website contains not only well-known flags but also sketches and rumours, often seized on the spot from a TV report or a magazine. In any case we disclaim any responsibility about the veracity and accuracy of the contents of the website.

It credits the image to "Fred Drews". The linked page on county and municipal flags of Wyoming also indicates that this flag would have had multiple physical copies produced and flown in 2012, as part of the State Fair that year.

The county's website's banner graphic contains part of a flag, but it looks like it's just the state flag of Wyoming:

enter image description here

Likewise, the Google Maps Street View imagery (taken in 2018) of the Lusk Town Hall shows only the national flag of the United States:

enter image description here

and the location of the county government at 424 South Elm shows none at all--though this photo was taken in 2011.

I found two images of the State Fair county flag parade, and attempted to cross-reference them with the aforementioned Flags of the World page, but could not quite identify a good number of the flags, and saw a few more that seem entirely unlike any on the website: (neon lime green numerals correspond to the alphabetical order of the counties; I applied a sharpen filter because I noticed after the fact how indistinct the text is otherwise and I can't be bothered to do anything smarter at the moment)

enter image description here

The question

Is this image representative of a flag used by or assigned to Niobrara County, Wyoming in some official or popular capacity? If so, how faithfully does it represent it?

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  • 8
    Needs more notability than "I recently encountered..."
    – GEdgar
    Jul 4 at 18:17
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    Hi! Could you add where you encountered the supposed flag? Jul 4 at 18:29
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    Here's an un-notable link: reddit.com/r/vexillology/comments/auhj95/… . 50 likes, 22 comments -- that does not qualify as notable. There's lots of stuff on reddit that does not qualify as notable. Jul 4 at 18:33
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    I think Flags of the World is a notable claim
    – Avery
    Jul 5 at 12:24
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    @Unrelated String You might want to ask about this in the Vexillology reddit - reddit.com/r/vexillology Jul 5 at 17:35
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Is this the flag of Niobrara County, Wyoming?

No.

I emailed Becky Freeman, the county clerk of Niobrara County. She clarified that the flag depicted in the image @Unrelated String encountered was created for the 100th year of the Wyoming State Fair (which would seem in line with their comment yesterday1), and that Niobrara County does not have an official flag.

The email exchange:

enter image description here

1 @Unrelated String's comment:

The Flags of the World page for the similarly strange flag of Park County, Wyoming states that the Wyoming State Fair requested that each county in the state have a flag for its 100th anniversary, and that that flag was designed by a fifth grader participating in a contest that was then held by Park County. That flag does appear in one image of the flag parade (marked 15 in the top one). I suspect there may be a similar story for Niobrara, but there being so many flags I couldn't identify in the images just raises more questions.

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    I'm not sure if I should delete this answer or not. Thoughts? I hadn't seen the other answer when I wrote this. Jul 6 at 17:20
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    I'm not entirely familiar with the conventions on the actual Q&A sites on the network (as opposed to CG&CC), but I wouldn't say that an answer with a different email thread containing different information is redundant. Jul 6 at 17:33
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    @UnrelatedString Thanks for your perspective. Since you seem to find this helpful and this does also answer the question of how the confusion with the flag arose, I'll keep this up for now. Jul 6 at 18:26
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    @UnrelatedString Thanks for the accept! Glad you like this answer! I might improve it more in the future. I did email Ms. Freeman and some other people to try and learn more about the history of how the flag was designed/chosen but that hasn't turned up anything useful yet. Jul 10 at 4:25
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It is not.

I emailed Niobrara County clerk Becky Freeman to ask. She responded:

No, it is not the official flag of Niobrara County.

Niobrara County does not have an official flag.

enter image description here

Barry Harrison had the same idea and Ms. Freeman's response to their email indicated that the flag was designed for the 100th Anniversary of the Wyoming State Fair.

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    Thanks! This still leaves the question of whether the flag is a hoax or some strange misunderstanding, but I'm satisfied that this does answer my question (which may not be so great a fit for Skeptics anyhow), so I'll probably accept it in a couple days. Jul 6 at 17:01
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    WOW! Someone posted an answer already! @UnrelatedString The flag isn't quite a hoax. I also happened to email Becky Freeman. She said that the flag was created for the 100th year of the Wyoming State Fair. Jul 6 at 17:10
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    I feel sorry for Becky Freeman. She's probably being inundated with email messages thanks to a couple of stupid reddit threads. Jul 7 at 3:34
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    @DavidHammen But her communication metrics are going to be through the roof... "In the last quarter, I serviced 2500 queries about our county's practice, a 100% increase over the prior quarter..." Jul 14 at 12:50

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