Tales from the O-NO Ranch 11-16-09 | TheFencePost.com

Tales from the O-NO Ranch 11-16-09

Mad Jack Hanks
Wellington, Colo.

I remember back in 1973 when I worked part time in a western store in Amarillo, Texas, during the Christmas season to add a little money to my poke so the kids could have some gifts under the tree. A raw-boned young cowboy came in one evening late to purchase some winter wear and what not. Said he was going to Wyoming to work on a ranch. I was excited for him. I wanted to pack up my gear and go with him. Wyoming was the place for cowboys because of the open space and the wild country, in my mind anyhow.

Who woulda’ thought that I would be living just 10 miles from Wyoming way back then? Wyoming has a special place in my heart just as my adopted state of Colorado has. Wyoming is different because it still has that special down-home feel to it. It smells of saddle leather, sagebrush, and mountain air. The sky seems to be more blue, the pickups have more dirt on them and the cow dogs in the back seem happier.

Living just 25 miles south of Cheyenne, I run up there on occasion to just get that Wyoming feel. I like Cheyenne as a city. It’s busy, but it’s not so busy that as an outsider you don’t get the feeling that you don’t belong. As a cowboy and a man of the West, maybe I feel more at home there than someone from, let’s say, Detroit. I was involved with Cheyenne Frontier Days for 15 years as an exhibitor in their commercial exhibit building. The folks that live in Cheyenne are like folks that live in Amarillo. I say that because folks in Amarillo are not ashamed to be called a “cow town” and I believe the same is true with folks in Cheyenne.

Cheyenne was the first state to allow women the right to vote even before they became a part of the United States. Some of the other states did not like that and had said they didn’t want Wyoming to be a part of the United States until they repelled the woman’s right to vote. “Not a chance,” said the good folks in the wild, wild west and Wyoming was allowed it’s statehood. There is a lot of history in Wyoming. The good ol’ western history that gave the West its flavor. The territorial prison in Laramie, Wyo., is a really neat place to visit. You come to grips with the harsh reality of those days. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, named after Sundance, Wyo. Tom Horn, Indian scout, Pinkerton detective and later bounty hunter for the Wyoming Stock growers who was tried and convicted of killing

a 14-year-old boy and hung in 1906 in Cheyenne.

Wyoming to me is a state that screams INDEPENDENCE! There are fewer folks in Wyoming than any other state in our union and I’m sure they would enjoy more businesses coming to their part of the West, but if not, so what? Wyoming will always prosper, I believe, because of its natural resources, its natural beauty, its wildness and the good folks that make it what it is.

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Hats off and a big “hooray, hooray,” for Wyoming our good neighbor to the north.

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c. ya.