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1829 - Yes, the world needs more Cowboys

Wyoming is not a state. It is a club. – Wyoming native Mike Lindsey.


         Is Wyoming really unique from other states?

         Based on a new slogan The World Needs More Cowboys, being used by the University of Wyoming, the implication is perhaps that, yes, we are unique.

         Disregard that Oklahoma State U. also used this excellent slogan. Or that a Boulder, Colorado firm came up with it. 

         And I am concerned the request for proposal used by UW to find a promotion company was written so that apparently no Wyoming company applied?  There are talented marketing companies from Cheyenne to Jackson and in-between.

Check out a very cool bit about this issue on the Internet by TV personalisty Courtenay Dehoff.

But I digress. So, is Wyoming unique?

         Some years ago, we published a column listing some unusual things people should know about Wyoming before moving here.     That column generated even more suggestions for newcomers.

Buffalo’s Jim Hicks says: “I`ve noticed over the years there are a few people who move to a small town and suddenly are in culture shock.  They may have come from a place were there was a social strata of sorts. Suddenly they realize the guy who fixes streets is part of a regular golf foursome with the local doctor, banker and attorney.  There is no seating chart at the church dinner.”

Retired UW Professor Ken Smith, who also is a former publisher of the Green River Star, says: “Get ready for the sky. I fell in love with the deep blue against the contrasting snow after my first storm in Green River. Also, don’t get cocky just because you own a Jeep, whether off road or in snow. I have been humbled in both situations.”

         My kid brother Jerry who graduated from Lander Valley High School and now lives in San Diego says: “You better buy some snow tires. Some real snow tires. Always be prepared for cold, even on the fourth of July.

         “Summertime sunsets are wondrous as are the sunrises, when the sun hits the peaks first and the amber glow works its way down the mountainsides. Wait five minutes and that afternoon rainstorm will be over. The wondrous smell in the breeze is sagebrush.”

Jean Haugen writes: “While living in Jackson back in the 1970`s, new people would move to town from all over the world and we`d usually get a new crop every year.  

“They moved there because they said they loved itthen within a short time, a year at most, they would be trying to change the way things were done back to where they came from.  My advice:  if you move here, you are most welcome, but we love it the way it is, harsh winters and all, please don`t be changing it.” 

         Meanwhile the ongoing argument between whether those ditches along a road are called borrow pits or barrow pits got some fine press a few years ago in the Thermopolis Independent Record. Then-Publisher Pat Schmidt printed an official Wyoming Dept. of Transportation report where it was spelled “barrow.”  This is after former chief WYDOT engineer Delbert McOmie reported it was “borrow” in a column that I once published.

         My thought is that both usages are correct but the debate continues.  And yes, people moving here need to know that that is what we call those places along roadways.

Of all the people who offered tips for newcomers, probably the person who moved the farthest to Wyoming is Kari Cooper of Jackson Hole. She moved here from New Zealand over 30 years ago. “Wyoming is not always an easy place in which to live, “ she says. “We deal with the harsh weather plus the craziness of driving 500 miles to make a kid’s sporting event every weekend.”

         Director of the Rock Springs Chamber of Commerce is Dave Hanks, who lives in Farson.  His thoughts:

“Moving from Wisconsin 37 years ago I learned things uniquely Wyoming. First is the term “snirt” in southern Wyoming. This is a common occurrence as wind blows our very dry snow around until it mixes with dirt.

“Being a Midwest boy I had a hard time understanding ‘purple mountain majesty.’ This was answered in a very visible fashion as we drove to the Big Sandy Openings one evening at sunset in the summer of 1981.  The Wind River Mountains changed color many times in minutes with the final spectacular splash of primrose and purple.  We stood in awe of the sight that unfolded before our eyes.”