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Way-Back Wednesday Looks at World Famous Athlete Who Rests Today in Converse County

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Sponsored By Mick Pryor, Edward Jones Financial Advisor

Those for whom horse racing has been a passion will tell you: race horses are indeed athletes. Their innate desire to avoid danger and injury is overruled by the intense competitive spirit which burns within them, the same as it is with human athletes. This is the way-back look into the history of a world-famous athlete, America’s first Triple Crown Winner, who now rests in Wyoming. In all of racing history, only thirteen horses have achieved the Triple Crown.

The Triple Crown is a series of three thoroughbred horse races for three-year-old horses, which take place in May and early June of each year.  The Triple Crown of horse racing is considered one of the most difficult accomplishments in horse racing, and possibly all of sports championships.  The grueling schedule requires a three year old horse to win the Kentucky Derby, then two weeks later win the Preakness Stakes, and then three weeks later win the Belmont Stakes.  In a letter dated November 6th The Blood-Horse magazine received an inquiry from Casper, Wyoming, the writer requesting information concerning the stud record of Sir Barton, who for three years had been standing at Dr. J.R. Hylton’s ranch in Douglas, Wyoming, the county seat of Converse County, on the North Platte River. The letter stated: “Sir Barton is 21 years old but still very beautiful, and has the most satiny coat I ever touched. I saw him a week ago.” The letter was dated November 6th, however the former champion, and world famous athlete, had died on October 30th 

Yes, Sir Barton had been dead nearly a week when the letter was mailed. According to a telegram from Dr. Hylton to The Blood-Horse magazine, the former champion died from an attack of acute intestinal colic on October 30, thus ending an equine career which constitutes one of the spectacular chapters of American turf history.  Dr. Hylton stated that the horse was very vigorous and in good flesh, and “looked considerably less than his age,” but that he had had several attacks of colic in that final year. The telegram continued: “He had been at the Dr. J.R. Hylton ranch for the past four years and bred to some very fine mares. Several of his yearlings and 2-year-olds are in California and will start at Santa Anita. They are upstanding, fine-looking colts.”

It all began in the winter of 1915-16 when the old-time English trainer Vivian Gooch was a guest of his good friend John E. Madden at Hamburg Place in Lexington, Kentucky. It’s reported that Gooch was not in the best of spirits, and at times appeared very much depressed. Madden held with those ‘wise men’ who insist that the ownership of a young Thoroughbred is one of the best tonics a man can have, and he presented to Gooch half-interest in a foal,  yet to be born, the product of a mating of Star Shoot and Lady Sterling, the dam of Sir Martin. Lady Sterling was 17 years old in the spring of 1916, and the previous year had been mated with Star Shoot, then near the height of a great career as a sire, for the first time.

The foal that would become known far and wide as Sir Barton was born on April 26, in a barn which has since become famous as the birthplace of five winners of the Kentucky Derby. He was a beautiful chestnut colt, and when still a weanling Madden purchased from Gooch the interest he had given. In the summer of 1918 the colt, named Sir Barton, began racing under the colors of J.E. Madden.

Sir Barton was marked as a high-class horse from his first day on the racetrack, but finished his 2-year-old season a maiden, with only one placing to his credit, but that was a second in the Futurity. As a 2-year-old, Sir Barton’s lofty pedigree proved to be a bust. He raced four times for Madden, finishing out of the money each time. Plagued by tender hooves, a trait he inherited from his sire, the malady gave him a particularly nasty disposition. Grouchy and stubborn, Sir Barton had little time for people, horses, and other animals with one exception — his groom, Toots Thompson.

Sir Barton’s first start as a three-year-old was in the Kentucky Derby and over a sloppy track he led every step of the way and won from second-place Billy Kelly by five lengths. From there forward the little (15.21⁄2) son of Star Shoot was a great horse. He went on to sweep through the Preakness, the Withers, and the Belmont Stakes before he was beaten. In the Preakness Sir Barton led all the way over a fast track, beating Eternal (the best 2-year-old of 1918) by four lengths. He again handled Eternal easily in the Withers. In the Belmont Stakes he won by five lengths from Sweep On and set a new American record of 2:172⁄5 for 13⁄8 miles.

Sir Barton winning the 1919 Kentucky Derby (Courtesy of the Kentucky Derby/Churchill Downs)

At Aqueduct, in the Dwyer Stakes, Sir Barton placed second behind Purchase who beat him three lengths. Willie Knapp rode him in this race, and, according to trainer Bedwell, it was the first time a whip had ever been used on the colt. The trainer blames this fact for the defeat of the little horse which had won four of the classics of the American Turf. After the race, according to the trainer, it was found that the whip had cut him on the flank and on the scrotum.

Sir Barton did not race at Saratoga that year, but was put aside until the fall season began in Maryland. At the end of his 3-year-old season, Sir Barton was recognized as the best horse of his year, and he was the leading money winner with a total of $88,250.

But how did America’s very first Triple Crown Winner Sir Barton end up in Wyoming?

In 1920, at the age of 4, Sir Barton’s star, bright as it was, had been dimmed by the greater luster of the year’s 3-year-old sensation, Man o’ War. Abe Orpen offered a purse of $80,000 for a match between the two at Kenilworth Park, Windsor, Canada, and the two great horses met there in October. It was one of the most notable spectacles of the American Turf, but the race itself was a farce. Sir Barton, obviously not himself, was under the whip in the first quarter-mile, and never showed a flash of his true class, while the once beaten son of Fair Play galloped along in front, to a new track record of 2:03 for the 10 furlongs.

Many horsemen and turf writers thought, and still think, that Sir Barton was not in condition for this match race, that he had been sore for weeks before the race and was still sore when the match came off. But trainer Bedwell claimed that the track at Kenilworth Park was so hard that it was impossible for a horse with tender feet to perform well over it. Bedwell stated in an interview that the first time he breezed Sir Barton over the Kenilworth course he pinned his ears back, refusing to take kindly to his work. Mr. Bedwell said that he warned that the horse would not do well over that sort of track. Sir Barton, the trainer said, always had very poor feet as his soles were so thin that he had to be shod with a layer of felt above the plate at all times. And to make matters worse, Sir Barton was a horse which required much work to keep him in condition.

The match with Man o’ War signaled the end of Sir Barton as a champion. He started three additional times that fall and ran well, but not like he had in the past. He was third in the Laurel Stakes and Pimlico Serial Weight-For-Age Race No. 2, but Mad Hatter was now able to beat him at level weights. In Serial No. 3 he managed to catch Mad Hatter in the closing strides, but was second to Billy Kelly. There Sir Barton’s racing career ended. In three seasons he had started 31 times, won 13 races, finished second six times, third five times, unplaced seven times, and earned $116,857.

In early 1921, controversy over H.G. Bedwell’s support of disgraced jockey Cal Shilling forced Ross to fire Bedwell and to hire Henry McDaniel, a future U. S. Racing Hall of Fame inductee known for training Exterminator as a three-year-old. McDaniel attempted to prepare Sir Barton to race as a five-year-old, but worried that continued training would cause the Triple Crown winner to break down. Ross retired Sir Barton to stud that year and in August 1921 sold the champion to Montfort and B.B. Jones, who brought the chestnut son of Star Shoot to their Audley Farm in Berryville, Virginia, where he remained until 1932. The price paid for him was not stated at the time, but highly rumoured to be $75,000.

Sir Barton was gradually accepted as a failure, but it’s worth remembering, he was not altogether a failure. His first race was in 1924, and in the 13 years ending with 1936 Sir Barton had won 848 races with earnings topping $800,000. The only year in which he was among the 20 leading sires was 1929, when he was 20th.

Despite a lackluster stud career, sixteen foals by Sir Barton were registered in 1934, and 10 in 1935. Stakes winners sired by Sir Barton were Clear Sky, Easter Stockings, Chancellor, Nellie Custis, Trey, and Martin Barton. The best among these were the mares Easter Stockings, winner of $91,408, and Nellie Custis, whose earnings totaled $43,040.

In 1932, Sir Barton became part of the U.S. Army Remount Service, first at Front Royal, Virginia and then, later that year, in Fort Robinson, Nebraska. Thoroughbred breeder and Wyoming rancher J.R. Hylton received Sir Barton from the Remount Service and brought him to his ranch outside of Douglas.

Sir Barton died of colic on October 30, 1937 and was originally buried on Hylton’s ranch in the foothills of the Laramie Mountains. Later his remains were moved to Washington Park in Douglas where a memorial was erected to honor America’s first Triple Crown winner. Gordon Turner raised money for and orchestrated the move.

Beautiful Washington Park in Douglas is the site of the memorial to Sir Barton, the first thoroughbred colt to win the American Triple Crown, where a statue pays tribute to the famous horse and marks his final resting place. In 2019 the Sir Barton Centennial was celebrated in Douglas complete with a special logo, events and activities, not the least of which was the timing and world premiere release of Born To Rein, the documentary film that coincided with 100th Anniversary of Sir Barton, winning the 1919 Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. The film’s content follows his journey, from before the founding of his birthplace at Hamburg Place in Lexington, Ky., to his final resting place in Washington Park in Douglas, Wyoming.

This page from Wyoming’s rich history has been presented by Mick Pryor, Edward Jones Financial Advisor. While we can’t change the past, a financial strategy for the future can be planned. If you have questions, concerns or are simply looking for a friendly advisor to discover your goals, discuss strategy and look to your financial future, contact Mick Pryor today.

Sponsored By Mick Pryor, Edward Jones Financial Advisor

The Great American Adventure Awaits ​​Inside The Cowboy State

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Just outside of America’s first National Park you will find your adventure! And your adventure comes with a guarantee: You won’t run out of things to do or places to go when you visit Buffalo Bill’s Cody Yellowstone!

Plan your vacation around one of our traditional events and enjoy our myriad of quality attractions and world-class museums. Use Cody as your hub for exploring the wonders of this amazing area.

Cody Yellowstone is a place brimming with adventure. It’s the place where you can climb to new heights, hike the path less traveled, ride horses, rope cattle, sit around a campfire and undulge all of your senses with choice accomodations at a working guest ranch. Cody Yellowstone is also a place filled with warmth and charm. You’re invited to indulge in the warmth and charm of Cody Yellowstone no matter your address, walk of life or skill set – we have opportunities for everyone.

Welcoming accommodations, fine restaurants, stellar shopping, plenty of things to see and do, and no shortage of outdoor fun and adventure. Come explore the communities of Buffalo Bill’s Cody Yellowstone and see that the Wild West isn’t so wild after all…..

Brought to you by Cody Yellowstone, inviting you to get Outside Yellowstone. Start planning today by requesting your FREE Adventure Guide whether for a day, a lifetime or any time in between.

Suicide Doesn’t Discriminate; To Prevent It, Neither Can We #BeThere

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By Wyoming Behavioral Institute

September marks Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and it provides us with an opportunity to rally around the common goal of preventing suicide in our communities. The issues that divide us have received national headlines, but the issues that lead to death by suicide are ones that we must all face equally. No one is immune from depression, PTSD, substance use disorder, illness, job loss, or any of the myriad risk factors that can lead someone to considering suicide. To help end this epidemic, we must put aside our preconceived assumptions and biases about suicide and the people who may be at risk.  

Recent events demonstrate that no one is beyond the reach of mental health struggles. Olympic athletes, musicians and fashion designers are not immune, and neither are you, your friends or your family members. It’s time that we stop assuming who is and is not at risk, as these assumptions can cause us to disregard warning signs. Just because someone seems to be doing well at their new job, we should not ignore the fact that they have stopped communicating with friends and pursuing their hobbies. Just because someone appears happy/content in their social media photos, let’s not ignore their increased substance use and social isolation.

A simple conversation can save a life.

It’s time to stop thinking certain people in our lives are above this epidemic, and time to start seeing everyone around us for what they are – humans. Humans with complex lives, potentially unknown traumas, and an equally important worth and value to the world. Stop assuming, and start asking, “Is everything ok?” A simple question and conversation can save a life. Effective treatments and compassionate and knowledgeable mental health professionals are ready and waiting to help. We all need to join together to educate ourselves, #BeThere for our loved ones, and take the suicide prevention fight beyond September and into our everyday lives. Mental health services that utilize proven evidence-based treatments and support are available. As a trusted local behavioral healthcare provider, our team at Wyoming Behavioral Institute is dedicated to changing the national narrative about suicide in a manner that promotes hope, resiliency, equality and recovery. 

Help is available. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing an emotional crisis or thoughts of suicide, no-cost 24/7 confidential support and crisis resources are available from the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention: 

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or via Chat from 
  • Crisis Text Line – text HELLO to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor

Additional resources to utilize: 

  • Trevor Lifeline, the only national 24/7 lifeline for LGBTQ youth: call 1-866-488-7386. 

Veterans Crisis Line, for U.S. Military Veterans: call 1-800-273-8255, press 1.

Way-Back Wednesday: The Buxton Case: An Anti-Immigrant Tragedy

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Sponsored By Mick Pryor, Edward Jones Financial Advisor

By Dick Blust, Jr.,

Legislation aimed at immigrants may have contributed to the murder of the first Wyoming game warden killed in the line of duty.

In 1899, nine years after Wyoming became a state, the legislature created the office of the state game warden. Slowly but steadily over the following years, policies and procedures for the protection and management of Wyoming’s wildlife were created and compiled.

John Buxton of Rock Springs was discharged from the Army after World War I and appointed a deputy Wyoming game warden not long afterward. Wyoming Game Wardens Association.By 1919, there were 14 pages of Wyoming state law on the books addressing hunting and fishing, including definitions of game animals and game fish, purchase of feed for game animals, establishment of hunting seasons, beaver trapping and salaries of assistant game wardens and deputy game wardens.

Among those deputy game wardens was John J. Buxton, born in Cincinnati, Iowa, in 1888 and a resident of Rock Springs since 1910. Following a short hitch in the U.S. Army during World War I, Buxton was discharged after the Armistice and appointed a deputy game warden not long afterward.

As described in one newspaper account, on September 14, 1919, Buxton, accompanied by his pregnant wife, Jennie, and his “little son,” was traveling in his car to Rock Springs from the coal camp at East Plane when he encountered Joseph Omeyc, a 17-year-old Austrian immigrant living with his family in Rock Springs, and his companion, John Kolman, 16, also of Rock Springs. The boys were out “shooting rabbits” north of the Union Pacific’s Number 8 coal mine.

Omeyc was carrying a rifle, a Savage .30-30. According to the account, Buxton “saw the boys and went up to them and took Omeyc’s gun from him, stating that he had no license and would have to accompany him to town.” Omeyc then drew a .38-caliber revolver and shot Buxton. Dr. Edward Lauzer later testified that the bullet “had entered a little to the right of the sternal [that is, the sternum], the lower end of the sternal, directly back of the right lung and it fractured the sixth rib and lodged under the skin.”

Kolman later gave the coroner’s jury a slightly different version of events, saying that Buxton “came in the back of [Omeyc] and grabbed the gun and said ‘This is a pretty good gun for me and I just need one.’ The kid got pretty sore and pulled the [pistol] out” and after a few moments, shot the deputy warden.

Buxton was driven to the hospital in Rock Springs, where he was declared dead. Later that day, Omeyc was found hiding in a coal car on a rail spur near the Number 8 mine and arrested by Sweetwater County Sheriff John Stoddard. He was charged with first-degree murder.

It is natural to assume that Buxton seized Omeyc’s rifle because he was hunting out of season, but in fact this may not have been the case. Documents recently uncovered by the Sweetwater County Historical Museum in Green River, Wyo., and a review of Wyoming’s 1915 and 1919 game and fish laws in support instead a scenario wherein Buxton was acting within a state statute that prohibited non-citizens from possessing firearms or even fishing gear unless they had a special license.

First is the question of hunting out of season. Omeyc and Kolman were out shooting rabbits, which, in 1919, were not classified as game animals in Wyoming. At that time, game animals and fish were defined in state statue as “any elk, deer, mountain sheep, wild goats, antelope, moose, trout, grayling, or bass within the state,” with no mention of rabbits at all under the statutes’ Section 55, “Game and Fish.” While hunting seasons for species of game like deer and elk were clearly laid out, there were none for rabbits, which were unregulated.

Next is the license issue. Normally in a situation like the Buxton-Omeyc case, Omeyc’s not having a “license” would seem to refer to a hunting license, but the transcript of John Kolman’s testimony at the Sweetwater County Coroner’s inquest into Buxton’s death implies another type of license.

From Kolman’s testimony:

“Q: Did you [Kolman] have a license?

A: No, my father is a citizen and I didn’t need one.”

Later in Kolman’s testimony:

“Q: Is Oymace’s [sic] father an American citizen?

A: No, he just got his first papers.”

These passages, with their focus on the need for possession of a license contingent on citizenship, appear puzzling until we consider Wyoming law in effect at the time. Passed by the Wyoming Legislature in 1915, Section 13 of “Game and Fish Law” in Wyoming statute reads, in part, as follows:

“Alien’s Gun and Fish License. — There is hereby created a special gun and fish license for aliens. No person, not a bona fide citizen of the United States shall own or have in his possession, in the State of Wyoming, any gun, pistol or other firearm, or any fishing tackle, without first having obtained the specified license therefor, which such special gun and fish license shall cost the owner the sum of twenty-five dollars and shall expire on December 31st of each year after date of issuance thereof.”

Section 13 goes on to declare that:

“Any alien of the United States who shall have in his possession or under his control any gun, pistol or other firearm, or any fishing tackle, without having taken out and being at the time in possession of a license as herein provided, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of not less than twenty-five dollars nor more than one hundred dollars; and in the event that such fine and costs are not paid, shall be imprisoned in the county jail until such fine and costs are paid at the rate of one dollar a day.

Austrian-born Joseph Omeyc, 17, was relieved of his rifle by the deputy game warden but had a pistol in his pocket. Wyoming State Archives.“It shall be the duty of the State Game Warden, his assistants, and deputies, and all other peace officers in the State of Wyoming, to search for and take into their possession any gun, pistol, or other firearms or fishing tackle found in the possession of any alien not entitled to hold or possess the same, and to sell the same, destroy or otherwise dispose of the same upon order of any Justice of the Peace, any District Court of the State of Wyoming, or a judge or District Court Commissioner thereof.”

The statute made several exceptions to the license requirements for aliens: “Provided further, that the provisions of this section shall not apply to any alien who is a bona fide resident of the State of Wyoming, and a bona fide freeholder in the State of Wyoming, or one who pays taxes in any county of this state in excess of the sum of One Hundred Dollars, or to any settler on the public lands of the United States or the State of Wyoming and who shall have initiated proceedings to acquire title thereto under the several acts of Congress or the laws of the State of Wyoming, nor shall it apply to persons engaged in tending or herding sheep or other animals in herd or on the open range when in active employment.”

Early in 1919, with Section 21, the Legislature stiffened the already-repressive Section 13 by removing the exceptions for aliens who were “bona fide residents of Wyoming,” “bona fide freeholders,” or those paying taxes in excess of $100.

What state of affairs made it a crime for non-citizens to possess so much as a fly reel without a license? The answer may be in what is often termed the First Red Scare.

The Red Scare of 1919-1920

The years following the end of World War I were tumultuous. More than 116,000 Americans had lost their lives in the conflict, embittering many against Europe and European immigrants.

In 1919, after two years of wartime price controls, workers across the country seeking higher wages went on strike. Four million men and women—one fifth of the nation’s work force—walked out. Two years earlier, in 1917, Lenin and the Bolsheviks had overthrown the Russian government and murdered Czar Nicholas II and his family. The belief gained ground that Bolsheviks bent on revolution here in the United States were behind the strikes.

During and after World War I in Europe and the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, anti-immigrant feeling ran high in the United States. This cartoon ran in an Ohio paper in March 1919. The Ohio State University. Click to enlargeThe acts of anarchists and communists, (both actual and imagined), many of whom were European-born, spread fear and bred anti-immigrant paranoia on a wide scale and triggered the Red Scare of 1919-1920.

Some of the trouble was real enough. In April 1919, anarchists mailed dozens of bombs to top-level politicians, government officials and businessmen all over the country, including John D. Rockefeller, Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer and Oliver Wendell Holmes, an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court. In June, anarchists set off bombs in eight American cities. None of the those targeted were killed, though several people were badly wounded.

In the wake of the bombings, the U.S. attorney general and the Department of Justice launched what came to be called the “Palmer Raids,” mass roundups and arrests carried out by federal agents. They targeted suspected communists and anarchists, in particular Italian and east European immigrants, both Jewish and non-Jewish, and immigrant leftist labor advocates. Thousands of arrests resulted, and 556 resident aliens were eventually deported, most often for political beliefs, associations and memberships rather than actual acts. The harsh tactics of the Palmer Raids led to the formation of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), in January 1920.

In June 1920, Massachusetts District Court Judge George Anderson ordered the release of nearly 20 of the arrested aliens and denounced the Department of Justice’s actions, writing that “A mob is a mob, whether made up of Government officials acting under instructions from the Department of Justice, or of criminals and loafers and the vicious classes.”

The Buxton Case – Epilogue

Joseph Omeyc’s .38-caliber Eastern Arms Company revolver, similar to this one, had a shrouded hammer and was designed for easy pocket concealment. Guns International.Joseph Omeyc pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in District Court in Green River on March 17, 1920, and was sentenced to 20 to 21 years at the state penitentiary at Rawlins. Paroled in 1924, he violated his parole and disappeared. According to state Board of Charities and Reform records for the Wyoming State Penitentiary, he was never apprehended.­

Deputy Game Warden John Buxton was buried with full military honors in Rock Springs. His wife Jennie died in 1920, a victim of the world-wide Spanish Flu epidemic.

On Feb. 1, 1935, the State Legislature approved a bill awarding $5,000 to “June Buxton and Jacqueline Buxton, minor daughters of John Buxton, deceased, who was killed in line of duty as Deputy Game Warden of the State of Wyoming, on September 14, 1919,” in compensation for their father’s death.

Nothing that happened that day in September 1919 could justify the murder of Deputy Game Warden John Buxton, but bad laws tend to foster bad consequences, not least when they’re directed against people based on political beliefs, ethnicity or national origin. There was no rationale for Section 13 and Section 21 of the game statutes; they addressed no wildlife management needs or issues. A product of the paranoia of the time, they were blows aimed squarely at non-citizens and nothing more. By 1921 both were gone, repealed by the same state Legislature that passed them.

This page from Wyoming’s rich history has been presented by Mick Pryor, Edward Jones Financial Advisor. While we can’t change the past, a financial strategy for the future can be planned. If you have questions, concerns or are simply looking for a friendly advisor to discover your goals, discuss strategy and look to your financial future, contact Mick Pryor today.

Sponsored By Mick Pryor, Edward Jones Financial Advisor

Ford Wyoming Center Rolls Out Red Carpet for Toby Keith, Colt Ford and Wyoming’s Own Chancey Williams

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For country music fans, the countdown has started in anticipation of the Toby KeithCountry Comes to Town Tour” with special guests Colt Ford and Chancey Williams on October 17th at the Ford Wyoming Center in Casper. (Sponsored Partnership with Ford Wyoming Center) 

Casper, Wyoming – Toby Keith is coming to the Ford Wyoming Center in Casper on Sunday, October 17, 2021 with special guests Colt Ford and Chancey Williams. Tickets are on sale now, starting at $25.00 plus applicable fees. To elevate the true fan experience, Limited VIP Diamond Bar tickets are available and include a VIP Diamond Bar Ticket, early access to the Ford Wyoming Center, commemorative laminate, commemorative Red Solo Cup Koozie plus access to full-service bar at the concert.

Toby Keith is the familiar maxim of the triple threat – singer, songwriter, and musician – and salt-of-the-earth patriot; see his September 11th message here. Toby Keith is one of the modern era’s most complete self-directed hit makers. Keith’s newest album, “Peso In My Pocket” is now available for pre-order and will debut just two days in advance of this legendary lineup in Casper. (Hear Toby’s brand new singleOld School“.)

Keith’s recent years are a remarkably accurate representation of his entire career. In October 2019, he released “Toby Keith Greatest Hits: The Show Dog Years” comprised of more than a dozen tracks plus four newly recorded songs added including “That’s Country Bro” and “Don’t Let The Old Man In,” which was inspired by a conversation he had with Clint Eastwood and the song was later featured in Eastwood’s movie, “The Mule.” That album also includes country’s most impactful viral event, “Red Solo Cup,” the video for which has received more than 53 million views and was named ACM Video of the Year. Rounding out his music related accomplishments are his Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic fundraising events, bringing in millions of dollars to support the charitable endeavors of The Toby Keith Foundation which includes aiding sick children and their families. 

From the moment he released his debut hit single “Should’ve Been A Cowboy,” the engine driving everything has been the music. He writes it. He arranges and produces it. And he releases it on his own record label, Show Dog Nashville. At the core is his songwriting, as recognized in his 2015 induction into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame in New York City. That year Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, Willie Dixon, and other songwriters from all genres of music were also included in his induction class.

Toby Keith’s awards are too numerous to count and include Artist of the Decade nods from Billboard and the American Country Awards, as well as the ACM’s Career Achievement honor, Poet’s Award recipient, and twice their Entertainer of the Year award winner in back-to-back years. Keith’s most rewarding experiences, however, have come from giving back locally, nationally and abroad. In addition to his effort and support with The Toby Keith Foundation and OK Kids Korral, his USO Tours have enhanced the lives of nearly 256,000 troops and military families in 18 countries with more than 285 events, and have been recognized with the Spirit of the USO Award (2014).

Colt Ford

Colt Ford consistently blazes his own trail. By doing so, the Georgia singer, songwriter, rapper, musician, performer, and co-founder and co-owner of Average Joes Entertainment keeps up pace as country music’s preeminent independent maverick. Built on a series of staggering successes, Ford has risen to mainstream notoriety. He notched five consecutive Top 10 debuts on the Billboard Top Country Albums Chart with “Declaration of Independence” bowing at #1 in 2012. Two years later, “Thanks for Listening” ascended to the Top 10 of the Top 200, with the album reaching #1 on Billboard Rap & Independent charts. Selling over 3 million albums, attracting millions of followers and hitting 1 billion-plus streams, the country rap pioneer’s dynamic discography spans collaborations with everyone from Toby Keith, Brad Paisley,

Keith Urban, and Jermaine Dupri to members of No Doubt, Lit, and Lady Antebellum. Additionally, he co-wrote Jason Aldean’s #1 hit “Dirt Road Anthem” and Brantley Gilbert’s #1 hit “Country Must Be Country Wide” as a behind-the-scenes force in the studio. For his seventh and eighth albums, “We The People, Volume 1” [2019] & “We The People, Volume 2” [2020], Ford once again tossed the rulebook out the window,

perfecting his dynamic and definitive distillation of country, hip-hop, and rock like never before on nearly 30 songs.

Chancey Williams

Wyoming native Chancey Williams and his Younger Brothers Band have relentlessly toured The Cowboy State and western United States, developing a devout fan base not seen from Wyoming since Chris LeDoux. In fact, Chancey Williams and LeDoux are the only two people to ride in the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo and play its main stage as a major entertainer. The band has shared the stage with dozens of artists, including Lady Antebellum, Old Dominion, Miranda Lambert, Eric Church, Brantley Gilbert, Gary Allan and Travis Tritt. They’ve also enjoyed many bills with contemporaries, Williams says nothing beats the opportunity to have occasionally been direct support for their heroes, legends like LeDoux, Alabama, Merle Haggard and Dwight Yoakam.

Advance tickets can be purchased at, the SinclairTix Box Office at the Ford Wyoming Center and by phone at 800-442-2256. For more information about the Ford Wyoming Center visit:

Way-Back Wednesday: Look At Wyoming State News From 100 Years Ago

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Sponsored By Mick Pryor, Edward Jones Financial Advisor

By Patsy Parkin

100 Years Ago: Sept. 16, 1921

Big Piney has one of the best landing fields in the state. The level bench between Big Piney and Marbleton includes 1800 feet of ground which has been fenced and leveled.

Alfred Walker and Walter Moss, charged with the murder of a taxicab driver last spring near Cheyenne, have been found guilty of murder and sentenced to hang. Adolf Pfunder and Herman Kusel, charged with robbing the Chugwater Bank, have been remanded to jail in lieu of $25,000 bonds. Horace Adams, aged postmaster and hermit of Hecla, was acquitted of the murder of Frank Brown, a young rancher. Alvaron Saicido was convicted of the slaying of Joe Gomez in Cheyenne. Gomez had objected to Saicido’s attentions to his wife.

A racetrack is to be built on the banks of the Powder River about 35 miles north of Gillette. Corrals and chutes for bucking and riding contests are also being planned by the Luton brothers.

A.J. Hardenorff, field manager at the Bolton Creek Field south of Casper, was dragged from a pool of oil just in time to save his life. He had been knocked unconscious by missiles hurled from the well he had just uncapped.

Building permits for the new Moose home and office building have been issued by the city of Casper. Work is scheduled to start immediately with funding of $150,000.

The largest gathering of Women’s Club representatives is expected at the State Convention to be held in Greybull.

Mrs. O.G. Miller was painfully wounded in Sheridan by an accidental gunshot from a revolver in the hands of her 6-year-old son. The bullet passed through her hand and struck her in the face at the cheekbone. She will recover from the accident.

Hans Christian, 6-year-old son of Ejnar Anderson of Buffalo, was killed when his foot caught in the stirrup while he was attempting to dismount from his Shetland pony. He was dragged 100 yards.

What is called “The Clean Up Squad” from the Veterans’ Bureau will be in Basin soon to provide every veteran of the World War from Big Horn County the proper assistance in setting up claims for compensation and advice about hospitalization, vocational education, or any other problems arising from war service. This will be the last organized opportunity for such interaction with the U.S. government.

Five petitioners for naturalization in Green River were denied because they claimed exemption from military service during the recent World War. Twenty-five petitions were granted.

The Rock Springs Lions Booster Club is planning a three-day trip to get better acquainted with the people of “inner” Sublette County and demonstrate to them the advantages of using Rock Springs as their shopping destination. Every businessman is encouraged to participate in the trip which will include stops at Eden, Farson, East Fork, Boulder, Pinedale, Daniel, and Big Piney where a community dance will be held.

The “Lost Gold Mine” near Lyman has supposedly been discovered again near Lake Fork Basin. Several sheepmen have gone to Salt Lake City with samples of ore which they claim were found at the site and were assayed as high as $2,000. Intense excitement has been created in the Uinta Basin since the filings were reported.

The United States Forest Service has completed the largest deal of its kind in the Rocky Mountain region with the sale of 755,000 railroad ties to a Wyoming tie and timber company financed by Denver businessmen. The ties will be driven down the Wind River from the Washakie National Forest to Riverton, a distance of about 135 miles.

This page from Wyoming’s rich history has been presented by Mick Pryor, Edward Jones Financial Advisor. While we can’t change the past, a financial strategy for the future can be planned. If you have questions, concerns or are simply looking for a friendly advisor to discover your goals, discuss strategy and look to your financial future, contact Mick Pryor today.

Sponsored By Mick Pryor, Edward Jones Financial Advisor

Way-Back Wednesday Looks at Lander, Wyoming’s Apple City

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Apple City Festival

Sponsored By Mick Pryor, Edward Jones Financial Advisor

By Randall Wise, Curator of Fremont County Pioneer Museum

It has recently been demonstrated that the Garden of Eden was not in Palestine, but is still situated on the Shoshone Indian reservation in Wyoming and that the variety of apple with which Mother Eve was tempted is still grown on a ranch just outside the reserve.” — Gov. Fenimore Chatterton, speaking at the Lewis and Clark Exposition, St. Louis, Missouri, July 11, 1904.

Agriculture in the Lander Valley literally grew out of the necessity for food. In the late 1800’s Lander was an isolated community. With some 150 miles of travel to the nearest railroad, this meant all goods bound for the town in Fremont County had to be hauled in by freight wagons. The pioneers of the day had to be self-reliant and having their own livestock, gardens and orchards was a big step toward achieving their independence. People planted vegetable gardens and fruit bushes along with the ever popular apple tree. Initially much of the produce went to the mining camps located in the gold district in the mountains above Lander.

The climate in the Lander Valley is, for the most part, favorable for the production of crops. The town and surrounding area is nestled up against the Wind River Mountains, protected from harsh Wyoming winds. In good years the growers avoided weather related problems such as a harsh winter or early spring and fall freezes. Another advantage in the Lander area is the availability of water. The Lander Valley gained a reputation for its abundance of garden and fruit produce. A fresh juicy apple was popular with residents. The fruit could be used to make apple cider, jellies, applesauce, pies or eaten raw. Local residents sold their produce and proudly competed in the county and State fairs.

The stand-out producer of apples was Lander rancher Ed Young.

Ed Young with one of his “Wealthy” apple trees, 1895. This was one of his most successful varieties. In 1897, nearly half of Young’s 2,000 trees were Wealthys. Courtesy Fremont County Pioneer Museum

It all started in 1882, Young planted his first apple trees, the first planted in Wyoming, on his homestead on the Little Popo Agie. Despite setbacks caused by climate and weather, Young kept experimenting with varieties and grafting techniques and was as dedicated as one could be when it came to developing his apple orchard, cultivating new and hardy varieties of apple trees. By 1889 his trees were bearing fruit and by 1894 he was in full production with about 100 fruit bearing trees. 

Ed Young’s apple orchard near Lander, 1903. (WSA JE Stimson Collection Neg 682, hand colored lantern slide)

It was Young’s good fortune that he homesteaded in a beautiful area in Red Canyon that had fertile soil plus favorable climate. His apple orchard became known throughout Wyoming. People would visit his orchard and he would serve them a glass of his tasty apple cider. Lander citizens and merchants looked forward to seeing Ed Young coming across the bridge with his wagon full of apples.

By the turn of the century, Young’s apples were known throughout the region for their quality and his displays were the highlight of county and state fairs.

By 1904, Young’s orchard of more than 2,000 trees was said to produce 60,000 pounds that season. That same year, the newspapers and promoters began calling Lander “Apple City” and Ed Young the “Apple King of Wyoming.” The town used Young’s success to help promote settlement in the area and even made an unsuccessful bid for moving the state capitol from the “temporary” Cheyenne to the more hospitable climate in Lander.

As a matter of fact, Wyoming Governor Fenimore Chatterton, an enthusiastic promoter of Fremont County, mentioned the apples in his address on Wyoming Day at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis in 1904. Chatterton was an American businessman, politician, and lawyer. He was the sixth Governor of Wyoming from April 28, 1903 until January 2, 1905. Young’s apples lived up to Governor Chatteron’s hype, and though they did not win awards, were highly praised as making great progress in the region.

Young gained the reputation as one of Wyoming’s leading horticulturists. His prolific production of apples led to Lander being called the Apple City. While he was a leader in the apple growing industry he also encouraged others in the community to plant apple trees, which many did. Orchards were planted throughout the :ander Valley. 

Despite the success of his orchard, which included cherry, plum, peach and other trees, the Great Depression was hard on Mr. Young who was no longer a young man. Only a few weeks before his death in 1930, at the age of 86, Young lost his farm to taxes. Still, he is remembered fondly for his passion for horticulture and left a lasting legacy in Wyoming’s fruit industry. His successes in Fremont County inspired many other farmers and ranchers to attempt orchards in Wyoming’s difficult climate. Growers bred the trees to grow well in the area, and more than 100 years later, some of Young’s apple trees are still producing.

Families and foodies alike are invited to celebrate Lander’s apple history this month.

The Lander Pioneer Museum is hosting the 2nd Annual Apple City Festival, set for September 18th from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

The event will feature apple cider pressing, crafts for kids, a petting zoo, an apple pie contest, a kid’s applesauce eating competition, hard cider from Jackson and more.

Credit to Randall Wise

In honor of Lander’s apple history, the Pioneer Museum held Apple Fest in 2019, providing a fun family event highlighting the many aspects of apples and apple use in the Lander Valley. The ‘second annual’ was to have taken place in 2020, but like many events was cancelled due to the pandemic.

“Apple Fest in 2019 was a huge success. Kids loved pressing, and drinking, fresh cider,” said Museum Curator Randy Wise. “We’re having that, plus much more this year so people can have fun and learn about this important part of Lander’s history.” Wise said that attempts are being made to bring back some of the historic orchards in the area. 

The 2nd Annual Apple City Festival will include an apple pie contest with cash prizes for the top three pies. There is also a kid’s pie competition with those winners also awarded prizes and ribbons.

“The Fremont County Pioneer Association, which supports the museum, has donated some nice prize money,” Wise said. People are encouraged to get out their yummy family recipes.

The rules are available in person at the Fremont County Pioneer Museum, located at 1443 Main Street in Lander, or online at the museum Facebook page.

Credit Fremont County Pioneer Museum

The judging will be at 11:00 a.m. with three lucky judges getting to pick the winners. At 1:00 p.m. the pies will be cut up and slices sold to the audience with the money going to the museum.

Another fun event is an applesauce eating contest for kids. There will be three age groups and the kid who can eat their bowl of applesauce the fastest will win a prize in each age group. The catch is they have to eat the apple sauce with a straw and can’t use their hands. There will also be kids crafts and local apple demonstrations and talks.

Credit to Randall Wise

A highlight two years ago was the presence of Farmstead Wyoming and their samples of hard cider. Many of the apples the company from Jackson uses to make its cider come from the Lander area, and Farmstead will be back this year offering samples of its tart, tasty Wyoming made drink. People are encouraged to bring in their apples and crabapples by the bag, basket or truck load for the company if they want to see the apples put to good use.

For information call the museum at (307) 332-3373.

This page from Wyoming’s rich history has been presented by Mick Pryor, Edward Jones Financial Advisor. While we can’t change the past, a financial strategy for the future can be planned. If you have questions, concerns or are simply looking for a friendly advisor to discover your goals, discuss strategy and look to your financial future, contact Mick Pryor today.

Sponsored By Mick Pryor, Edward Jones Financial Advisor

Way-Back Wednesday, Sponsored By Mick Pryor, Edward Jones Financial Advisor

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By Randy Brown,

On the Oregon-California Trail in western Wyoming lies the grave of 20-year-old Nancy Hill, who died of cholera July 5, 1852, while traveling with her family from Missouri to California. The fenced grave lies near the summit of Dempsey Ridge about nine miles west of Ham’s Fork.

The stone at the grave is not original, however, and its inscription for many years caused some confusion about the cause of the young woman’s death.

Nancy Jane Hill was born in Monroe County, Mo., in 1832. In 1852 she was traveling with a wagon train made mostly of the families of her father, Wesley Hill, and his three brothers—about 65 people in all, driving 14 wagons and around 400 cattle.

Family background

Nancy was Wesley and Elizabeth’s second child. Her older sister, Mary Elizabeth, was born in Kentucky just before the move to Missouri. The Hills had five additional children who were born later, all in Missouri: John William in 1833, Angeline in 1834, George Wesley in 1837, Sarah Margaret in 1839, and finally Abraham, who was born in 1841. Elizabeth, Wesley’s wife, died in 1842.

Wesley was one of four Hill brothers who had moved to what became Monroe County in about 1830. They were from Bourbon County, Ky., where Wesley and Elizabeth Kiplinger were married on July 23, 1829. Nancy was named for Wesley’s sister, Nancy Jane, who was living with the family as Wesley’s ward since the death of their parents. Elizabeth Hill died in 1842.

Wesley Hill is said to have made one or two overland trips to California with local merchants in the 1840s. Back in Missouri, he married widow Eglantine (Holder) Sanders in 1848. In 1849, Wesley, with his son John, and two of his brothers, Samuel and Stephen, joined the California Gold Rush. Wesley left his six other children in the care of his brother James where they all are listed in his household in the 1850 Monroe County census. Nancy Jane Hill, age 17 appears as “Jane,” as she was probably known, to distinguish her from two of her aunts, both also named Nancy Jane. One of these was the foster sister mentioned above, the other the wife of James Hill.

California census records show that Wesley’s brothers worked as miners, while he worked as a merchant. By 1851 all four were back in Missouri to prepare for another overland journey to California, this time with their wives and families.

Ill health during the journey

Like many companies in 1852, they were plagued by ill health and disease. One of the hired men died of cholera on the Little Blue River in present Nebraska, and on June 8, Henry Hill, father-in-law of Nancy Jane’s sister, Mary Elizabeth, likewise died of cholera while they camped near present Torrington, Wyo. Henry Hill was a member of another Hill family, unrelated, except by marriage, to the family of Nancy Jane Hill.

Two days before Nancy Hill died, members of her family carved their names on a bluff near Emigrant Spring, 24 miles to the east. Author photo.It’s clear that the Hill clan used a trail variant called the Slate Creek Cutoff, for at Emigrant Springs on the cutoff, neatly carved on the sandstone bluffs, are inscriptions of three members of the Hill wagon train. The initials are those of J.W., M.E., and one unreadable initial followed by B. They are dated July 3, 1852.

Since the company did not travel on the third of July due to the illness of Samuel Hill’s son, Abe, who later recovered, the three had time on their hands that day. The first two inscriptions could be John W. and Mary Elizabeth Hill, siblings of Nancy Jane. It cannot be determined with any certainty who “? B. Hill” was, but perhaps he or she was one of their many cousins in the company.

Nancy Hill died on July 5, 1852, and was buried the next day.

The only contemporary account of the journey comes from letters James Hill wrote to a former neighbor back in Monroe County. From one dated July 6, we have a sparse eyewitness testimony about Nancy’s death:

This day was called on to consign to the tomb one other of our company, N.J. Hill. She was in good health on Sunday evening. Taken unwell that night, worse in the morning and a corpse at nine o’clock at night. We had two doctors with her. They pronounced her complaining cholera but I believe it was nothing more than cholera with congestion connected.

Wesley Hill, Nancy’s father, died–probably of cholera–on Aug. 24 after a long illness. He was buried at the emigrants’ cemetery at Ragtown on the Carson River in present Nevada.

Local stories

Local ranchers told many conflicting stories about imaginary Nancy Hill sweethearts who reportedly came back to visit the grave in later years. These stories probably have no basis in fact. One of them included a hair-raising story of an Indian attack on the wagon train and that Nancy had been killed by an arrow, all this supposedly occurring in 1847. This led one rancher to install in good faith the current headstone at the grave with that year as her date of death, and including, as part of the epitaph, “Killed by Indians.”

Family tradition has it that the original headstone was inscribed by Robert Gillaspy, one of the hired hands, who later married Nancy’s sister Angeline in California. Robert is thought to have worked as a stonemason in Missouri. There is no record of how this marker appeared. However, three later emigrants noted the grave and provided evidence of what the inscription was. Sarah Raymond, who having crossed Dempsey Ridge on Aug. 19, 1865, wrote, “We passed eight graves on the mountains one [a] young lady twenty years old from Monroe County, Missouri.”

Two days later Dr.Waid Howard passed the grave and wrote: “Twenty yards beyond [the 1849 Alfred Corum grave and to the right of the road is the grave of Miss Nancy J. Hill who died July 5, 1852, from Monroe county, Miss[ouri]. We are now resting against the headstone. The grave of Corum is plainly in view. Though far from their places of nativity these graves surely have each other company on one of the most lovely spots passed upon the mountain.”

William E. Jackson was on a west-east cattle drive that originated in La Grande, Ore., when he noted the grave on Aug. 3, 1876.

The headstone must have lasted until settlement times, since the grave’s identity was never lost. Eventually, after the headstone disappeared, the other details included on it were forgotten, and the replacement stone, with its incorrect information, along with confusion over other pertinent facts, misled later researchers.

The grave’s actual identity

In the 1980s when Hill family descendants living on the west coast became aware of the grave’s continued existence, the identity of Nancy Hill was firmly established. Later, several of them traveled to Wyoming to attend a dedication ceremony for the Oregon-California Trails Association marker placed at the grave in 1987. The marker and new fence around the grave was funded by Hartwell Gillaspy–a direct descendant of Nancy’ s sister Angeline and her husband, Robert Gillaspy, the hired hand who had engraved the epitaph on the Nancy Jane Hill headstone 135 years before.

This page from Wyoming’s rich history has been presented by Mick Pryor, Edward Jones Financial Advisor. While we can’t change the past, a financial strategy for the future can be planned. If you have questions, concerns or are simply looking for a friendly advisor to discover your goals, discuss strategy and look to your financial future, contact Mick Pryor today.

Sponsored Content: Wyoming Coffee Table Books: For Schools! As Gifts To Your Best Customers! Lots Of Opportunities!

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Lately, Bill Sniffin’s coffee table books about Wyoming have been selling to unusual customers:  First, a school district bought 140 books (Wyoming at 125)  to give to its students in younger grades wanting to learn about Wyoming history.  This book is crammed with photos, maps, flags, and stories about the state starting with dinosaurs and leading up the present.

Sniffin’s first coffee table book (Wyoming’s 7 Greatest Natural Wonders) recent saw its purchase by several businesses wanting to promote itself to its best customers.  The sale of 100 to 200 books at a time worked well.  It is possible to purchase special promotional stickers to put on the covers, as well. 

Over 34,000 copies of Bill Sniffin’s Wyoming-themed coffee table books have been sold over the past eight years.  One edition is sold out but the two other books are available for purchase.

Wyoming at 125, Our Place in the West is the official book of the state’s 125th celebration of statehood. It contains more than 50 historical photos that were colorized and computer improved. This book tracks Wyoming’s history. It is $39.95 plus tax and shipping.

Wyoming’s 7 Greatest Natural Wonders is the first book of the series and includes extensive photo features of the state’s seven great “natural” wonders:  Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Devils Tower National Monument, South Pass, the Red Desert, Thermopolis Hot Springs, and the North Platte River system plus other amazing Wyoming sights and sites.  It is priced at $39.95 plus tax and shipping.

The third book in the series, My Wyoming, is virtually sold out but a few copies remain.  This book features wildlife and unique Wyoming events like Frontier Days. It can only be purchased as part of the Wyoming Trilogy, which includes all three books plus an attractive gift box. It is priced at $125 plus tax and shipping. Supplies are limited so act fast before this item becomes unavailable.

Go to to place your order or send inquiries to Wyoming Wonders, Box 900, Lander, WY 82520 or to

Bulk orders can be arranged for businesses or schools or groups that want to buy quantities of the books to give to customers or friends or family.  Just email

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SageWest: Please #MaskUp

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Some people might be over the pandemic, but we know that it’s far from over.

Slowing the spread of COVID-19 still starts with us. So #MaskUp and stay safe.

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