85-Year Old Wyoming Woman on Swimming Laps and Chasing Guys
Kolby Fedore, Townsquare Media
Three days a week, 85-year-old Pat Bronsdon swims anywhere from 3/4 of a mile to a mile at a local pool in Casper, Wyoming.
"I used to tell people, 'I ski, I swim, and I chase guys," grins Pat. She's since given up on skiing.
At 10 years old, she contracted polio, which left her unable to turn her head from side to side; that's why she uses a snorkel to help her breathe.
She dons an underwater MP3 player when she swims because "it can get pretty boring," yet she enjoys the exercise and it lets her get out of her own head for a little while.
She says it's kept her strong and she gets to do it by herself without anyone bothering her.
It takes Pat about an hour to swim 3/4 of a mile. She shoots for a full mile, but it depends on whether or not she has to wait for a lane to open when she gets there.
"People are very friendly, it's a wonderful pool - clean, nice temperature, and everybody knows my name."
Pat was born in 1938 in Casper, Wyoming.
"I'm a Taurus," she tells K2Radio News, "and it really shows with me." She explains that she's stubborn and very directed. "I know what I want and I usually get it."
While we talk she's curled up girlishly with her knees pulled up by her chest in an oversized recliner.
Pat states that she's been hyper all her life. She remembers being bullied for it when she was a student in grade school. "I'm loud," she confesses, "and I can talk forever."
"I just managed as a youngster to piss people off."
Pat went to Denver University for Business -- "I really went there to find someone to marry, and I happened to run into a Casper boy. He was sitting at the Student Union with three other guys when she heard, 'Wow! Look at that!'"
Pat was six years younger than her husband-to-be, but she said she agreed go on a date with him because - after all - she "was on the rebound."
They had two boys together, whom she gushes about proudly.
Career-wise she was a substitute teacher for Dean Morgan Middle School while her children were growing up.
"I just went in everyday and they told me where to go," she remembers.
Later on she worked at Wyoming National Bank for a few weeks before going to work for the State of Wyoming as an Insurance Deputy.
"I had the desk where every unemployment claim came by to be perused for accuracy. Being a Taurus, working for government didn't suit me. I started getting migraines and finally I blew up!"
By this time the boys were in college. She began selling insurance, making enough to see to it they got a good education.
"Groups of women bore the hell out of me," says Pat, who's only had two close girlfriends all her life. "I enjoy male companionship."
"I've managed to bury three guys."
She met husband No.2 at the Sunrise shopping center in the parking lot. As she was locking her car she noticed someone looking at her over the top.
"We walked in to get drinks at Cedar's together -- a bar and restaurant at the south-end of Sunrise -- and everyone said 'Hi Pat. Hi Howard.' And from then on we were a couple."
They did a lot of hiking together and backpacking. They built a one-room cabin using logs from Casper Mountain; she lost part of her hearing from running a chainsaw.
She recalls carrying five-gallon buckets of water in each hand from Garden Creek to the house to boil for drinking, flexing a muscular arm -- "See, no sags." Retiring to the mountain made Pat more resilient and independent.
She snags a birthday card from her counter and says, it's a lot like this, pointing to the picture of a hot-rod and message, The body is still in pretty good shape, but there are some exhaust problems and gas issues.
Today she boasts a strong core, arms, and legs. She is careful about what she puts into her body and keeps her mind sharp playing sudoku and scrabble.
There's a stack of pages on her coffee-table with the names of at least a thousand books she's read over the years.
On the subject of swimming and chasing guys, Pat says she doesn't know when she'll quit. For now, she feels pretty darn good.