So, what do you tell some out-of-staters when they ask you about why they should move here to Wyoming?
Cowboy State Executive Editor Jimmy Orr received such a letter recently. Rather than answer it himself, he tossed the question to three of his columnists: myself, Dave Simpson and Rod Miller.
Now you would think these Three Musketeers would think alike, right? After reading our responses, you might think of us more like Moe, Larry and Curley. I am going to claim the role of Moe.
But I digress.
Dave Says Cheyenne Is The Best
Simpson is a longtime Rocky Mountain newspaper publisher who worked for a long time for the Casper Star-Tribune. He most recently retired to Cheyenne. He has always written columns and even published a book about them one time.
First, Simpson comes across as positive when he says:
“Hi Jimmy: At the risk of sounding like a ‘homer’ (Homer Simpson), it's hard to beat Cheyenne. Easy access to the huge Medicine Bow National Forest and its hiking and fishing opportunities, enough in-town hiking and biking trails to give you sore feet, great health care at our hospital and on the Front Range.
“We have an economic development program that keeps bringing new jobs to town, local government that's only crazy once in awhile, a wonderful public library, great parks, close to Denver International Airport, and we enjoy Wyoming's wonderful low taxes and thrive on our feisty independence.
“All that, and great entertainment every winter when the Wyoming Legislature comes to town. And don't forget the free pancakes at Frontier Days. We have never regretted our decision to retire in Cheyenne,” he says.
Rod Says It’s Not Pretty
Now Miller speaks his own unique language. He is a Cowboy Poet. No, he is not a “cowboy poet,” one of those guys who tell funny stories that rhyme, sort of like reciting a country song without the music. No, that is not Rod.
He really is a Cowboy.
And he really is a poet. He has a book to prove it.
But you got to hand it to him for his response to Jimmy’s query:
“If you find a quiet little corner of Wyoming with Sotheby’s catalog scenery, the mid-size wildlife will eat your Shitzoos (Note: Shih Tzu is a type of little dog) and the big critters will eat you.
“If you live in a bear-free town, you won’t be able to handle tourist season without good meds. Delinquents will steal your catalytic converter. And winters will drive you mad.
“I wish I had better news, but your safest bet is a gated community in Bed-Stuy (Note: Bedford-Stuyvesant is a hip neighborhood in Brooklyn) or Little Italy, shoulder to shoulder with a cop shop. And mayors? There’s not a nickel’s worth of difference among politicians from coast to coast. Selah,” Miller concludes.
Here's My Take
Having been chairman of the Wyoming Travel Commission and a huge booster of our state, it is easy for me to recommend to these folks all the wonderful things about the Cowboy State.
So, I reached out to this couple and found out they were from California and were senior citizens. Yikes. Do we need more West Coasties here?
Assuming they are relatively normal people trying to escape the liberal chaos and nonsense from the state with a grizzly on its flag but no grizzlies, well, I tried to boil it down to four items.
First are two environmental things, our altitude and our weather.
We are the highest state in the Lower 48 for average altitude and we are the windiest, by far. We try to have four seasons, although sometimes Spring lasts just a few days. Here we often call that mysterious second season of the year Sprinter because of its confusion.
It can be a challenge getting used to breathing up here in our rarified atmosphere. And you will learn to duck for cover when those high winds come roaring through.
Second, our natural beauty is immense. Even our high empty prairies are beautiful. They remind me of the ocean. Our mountains, canyons and river systems will take your breath away. Our wildlife makes Wyoming the most unique of the Lower 48 states. We are the Serengeti of America with wild animals roaming freely on our public lands.
Third, our people are wonderful. You will discover we love guns and many are armed. But I have not been anywhere where people are more willing to reach out and help someone in distress. And if you offer them a chance, you will find they have open minds, despite preconceived notions of their conservative politics.
Fourth, you need to be comfortable with long distances. We are a state of 97,000 square miles with only 580,000 people. We drive more per-capita than residents of any other state.
You may want to leave your electric vehicle back in California. A typical trip here can involve a three-hour drive to get there, two hours doing what you need to do, and a three-hour drive back home. Crazy, right? Welcome to Wyoming.
Most people who live in Wyoming love it.
There are busy towns like Cheyenne and Casper and slow towns like Lander and Buffalo. There are rich towns like Jackson and Sheridan and there are less expensive places like Torrington, Newcastle, Rawlins and Worland.
Lots of variety here and not a single Costco in any of them. Join 8 million other annual visitors and come check us out.