Wyoming, a Guide to Its History, Highways, and People

By Writers' Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Wyoming | Go to book overview

Contemporary Scene

WYOMING was, and continues to be, the land of the cowboy. Its mountains, plains, and valleys are essentially livestock country. Moreover, the State's citizens take pride in maintaining the traditions of the Old West, while keeping step with the technological progress of the world.

A cowboy astride a bucking broncho greets the visitor from enameled markers at the State boundary lines, and thereafter from automobile license plates, from automobile guest stickers, from newspapers, magazines, and painted signs. The cowboy and the Indian provide decorative motifs for Wyoming stores, hotel stationery, home-woven blankets, rugs, neckerchiefs, shirts, and all sorts of advertising matter. Even the trademark of an important airline is the familiar cowboy on his broncho. At tourist camps whose offices are often replicas of tepees, stuffed horses, posed as bucking, stand ready to be mounted by visitors who wish to be photographed for the folks back home.

Six-gallon hats, leather vests, and high-heeled boots, as well as the latest styles in dress, are seen on the streets of every city, town, and village in Wyoming. Businessmen, ranchmen, and dudes alike wear the habiliments of the old cow country. As a mark of honor or welcome, distinguished guests frequently receive six-gallon hats. A typical Wyoming welcome was accorded to Dr. A. G. Crane in 1923, when he came from Pennsylvania to preside over the University of Wyoming at Laramie. Masked riders waylaid his automobile in a canyon and ushered the Crane family, at the point of guns, into an old Concord stagecoach drawn by six horses. With shots and yells of 'Powder River, let 'er buck,' 500 students, riding cow ponies, escorted the coach to the county fairgrounds at Laramie, about four miles distant. There, with a ten-gallon hat, Dr. Crane was crowned 'King of the Cowboys.'

The rodeo, topped by Frontier Days, the Daddy-of-'em-all, is still the chief tourist entertainment here. Every year at the Frontier Days celebration, at Fourth of July gatherings, at county fairs, and upon

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