Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame Saddles Up with Cowboy State Daily

Cowboy State Daily is partnering with the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame to bring to readers the stories of the many great men and women who have made their living in the saddle. There are 25 inductees into the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame this year.

Candy Moulton

July 08, 20236 min read

Collage Maker 08 Jul 2023 03 12 PM 5496

Ten years ago, some folks in Fremont County got together to recognize a group of workers who have long been a backbone of the state’s economy: the Wyoming Cowboy. They found some friends across the state, came up with a few rules, wrote bylaws, and that fall inducted the first 34 members of the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame.

The 10th Annual induction ceremony for 25 inductees will be at the Ramkota Hotel in Casper, Sept. 15 and 16. It is open to the public. The event is part of the annual Wyoming Cowboy & Cowgirl Legacy Week, which was established by the Wyoming State Legislature in 2019.

Formed for historical, cultural, literary, and educational purposes, WCHF's chief goal is “To preserve, promote, perpetuate, publish, and document Wyoming’s working cowboy and ranching history through researching, profiling, and honoring individuals who broke the first trails and introduced that culture to this state.  WCHF plans to collect, display, and preserve the stories, photos and artifacts of such individuals and anything else that will honor and highlight their contributions to our history.”


The first class of inductees included Guy Holt, the 1903 World Champion saddle bronc rider at Cheyenne Frontier Days whose photo was taken that fall at the Albany County Fair in Laramie by B. C. Buffum, a University of Wyoming professor.

That photograph was used by the university to develop its Wyoming Cowboy Logo in 1921. In fact, UW officials went to Cora to get Holt’s signature on a legal release to use his image.

Natrona County cowboy Jamis Johnson of Bates Hole was another member of that first class of inductees. He and his family worked with the WCHF years later when a promotional film was developed to highlight not only Wyoming Cowboys, but also the mission of the Hall of Fame.

Although the WCHF has always developed posters and programs highlighting the inductees, the stories and accomplishments of the men and women in the Hall of Fame have for the most part been under the radar. Until now.

Cowboy State Daily is partnering with the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame to bring to readers the stories of the many great men and women who have made their living in the saddle and I’m the lucky gal who gets to write the articles.


Here’s a bit of background. I heard about the plans Scotty Ratliff and his friends had to form the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame in the spring of 2014. Sometime that summer I was in Riverton and I asked Scotty if we could meet.

He told me what they were doing and how they wanted to recognize the legacy of the cowboy. I asked how I could help – and soon began writing the cowboy program and developing the first poster. I learned there were 10 regions and soon became a member of the Carbon County Committee. I went to the first induction, and one other. And then two years ago – thinking I was about to retire from two of my jobs – I had an opportunity to become the WCHF Executive Director.

And that brings me here – to Cowboy State Daily. I’ve been writing for newspapers since I was in high school. While in college I spent vacations and summers working at the Saratoga Sun. I attended Wyoming Press Association conventions where I hung out with my boss R. Richard Perue and his friends, one of whom was Bill Sniffin.

I edited the Sun for five years, and when I moved on from there, I was hired to write for the Casper Star-Tribune by Dave Simpson. I covered a lot of hard news stories; worked elbow-to-elbow with Jim Angell. And along the way I started writing travel features for magazines – and produced some films – which put me alongside Mike McCrimmon. All of this started literally decades ago.

I have watched Cowboy State Daily launch and grow and it’s been like seeing some of my journalism family back in the trenches.

My son gave me a “No” button for Christmas in 2021 and told me to start using it. Honestly, I’ve been trying! But all my old editor and reporter friends know the ink gets in your blood and it’s hard to quit writing or turn off that “nose for news.”

This past hard and long winter, I sent a tip via Facebook to Cowboy State Daily about a potential story. One of the publications’ great writers followed up and I loved the piece that was published.

Then Jimmy Orr sent a message: “Hey Candy. Are you interested in doing freelance for us?”

Maybe I should have hit the NO button, but instead I said, “Let’s talk next time I’m in Cheyenne.” Well, that talk led to this! And here I AM.

Class Of 2023

To start with, I’m going to write about the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame so readers of Cowboy State Daily can get to know some of the men and women who have shaped so much of our state’s custom and culture. I expect I might branch off into a few other areas over the next weeks and months but for now meet the WCHF Class of 2023:

Albany County – Shirley Dawn Wright Lilley, Laramie

Bighorn County – Stan and Mary Flitner, Greybull

Campbell County – Marion Scott, Gillette

Carbon County – Charles L. Vyvey, Encampment

Crook County – Wallace Canfield and Jeff Garman both of Sundance

Fremont County – Donald Sheer, Dubois

Hot Springs County – Ross Rhodes, Thermopolis

Johnson County – George K. Fraker and Carl Knudson both of Buffalo

Lincoln County – Ray C. Fritz., LaBarge

Park County – Lewis Clifton “Sonny” Bennion Sr., Meeteetse and Simeon Leon Thayer, Cody

Platte County – Larry D. Cundall, Glendo

Sheridan County – Woodrow Wilson Moreland, Big Horn

Sublette County – William Patrick Dew plus Carl and Bud Jorgensen of Pinedale and Dru and Tawny Roberts, Daniel

Sweetwater County – Gary Zakotnik, Eden and William J. “Bill” Thoman, Green River

Teton County – Tom Breen, Jackson and Mike Taylor, Wilson

Uinta County  – C. B. Hamilton and Richard Henry Hamilton family nomination from Fort Bridger

Washakie County – Gary Vernon Rice, Tensleep

Weston County – Julius Frederick Bock, Osage

The WCHF Board is comprised of one member from each of the state’s ten regions. To learn more about the WCHF visit www.wyomingcowboyhalloffame.org. Contributions to support the mission of the WCHF are always accepted and appreciated.

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Candy Moulton