At 224 pages, the new book, The View from Thunderhead by Ray Hunkins, is a delight. You almost wish it were even longer.
Hunkins is an iconic Wyomingite. He has had a varied career as an attorney and as a rancher. He twice ran for governor and has been a champion for the University of Wyoming. Part of the reason for this book is to recognize our state’s amazing history with Women’s’ Suffrage.
He was the chairman of the Louisa Swain Foundation, of Laramie, from 2008 to 2010. This group celebrates the woman who was the first woman to legally vote anywhere in the United States. As a result of the Wyoming territorial legislature’s decision to allow women the vote, Louisa was the first woman to cast a ballot in an election, doing so in Laramie, on Sept. 6, 1870.
Hunkins, 80, and his wife Debby had a ranch for decades outside of Wheatland near Laramie Peak called Thunderhead Ranch. They currently live in Cheyenne.
Over the years, Hunkins has been a prolific writer with most of his articles appearing in the Casper and Cheyenne daily newspapers. This book contains some of his favorite stories and they are very good.
Hunkins is a dedicated and experienced ranchers so many of his favorite stories are about ranching.
As a politician, he does not shy away from taking some serious stand concerning the issues of our time.
But most of all, Hunkins loves Wyoming. It comes through again and again. Whether he is talking about some upsets pulled off by the University of Wyoming football team or when talking with a Marine recruiter about why so many young people in the Cowboy State sign up for military careers.
He defends the traditions of Wyoming in one essay when he felt the state was unfairly attacked. In 2002, Sam Western wrote a book called “Pushed Off The Mountain, Sold Down the River,” which was very critical of the state. Hunkins eloquently defended Wyoming. He and Western ultimately debated their positions on a Casper TV program later that year.
He even has an interesting piece about meeting with Pope John Paul II, which might make him unique among Wyoming people.
The book is priced at $55 and was published by the Swain Foundation. Copies are available at the Swain Foundation website.
Ray is a great cheerleader for Wyoming. It is so fitting that this book got published so everyone can see for himself or herself.