Wyoming Stories

Wyoming Stories captures history through the memories of those who live here.

Listen to Wyoming Public Media's collection of Wyoming Stories below. Subscribe to the Wyoming Stories podcast here.

And explore additional Wyoming oral histories by visiting these sites:

Supported in part by a grant from the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund, a program of the Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources.

Visit historical organizations across the state featured on Best of Wyoming.
For more information contact Diana Denison at ddenison@uwyo.edu or 307-766-4240.

Micah Schweizer

Peg, Betty, and Dixie Johnson are sisters-in-law who married into an Elk Mountain ranching family. All three women played an important role in the local school. Peg and Dixie recall driving the school bus, Betty remembers moving to Elk Mountain as an untested school teacher.

Stories about people so drawn to Wyoming, they packed up and moved to the Cowboy state.

Subscribe to the Wyoming Stories podcast here.

Rebecca Huntington

In the summer of 1988, 36 percent of Yellowstone National Park was on fire. To this day, it remains the largest wildfire since Yellowstone became a national park. Yellowstone's spokesperson at that time, Joan Anzelmo remembers what it was like to be at the center of the firestorm.

Stories about people who grew up skiing.

Subscribe to the Wyoming Stories podcast here.

Anna Rader

As a young man, Richard Garber and his brother served as the grave diggers for the cemetery in Big Horn.  They oversaw the interment of their friends and neighbors when graves were dug by hand, up through the advent of the backhoe. Garber and his friend Elaine Henry recall the importance of this cemetery to their families and the community of Bighorn.

Richard grew up on a ranch in Bighorn, Wyoming.  Because of the large amount of land they ranched, his family owned an airplane.  When Garber learned to fly as a teenager, mischief and misadventure ensued.

Rebecca Huntington

Die-hard skier Ed Bushnell invented his own helmet-mounted video camera long before the device became de rigueur for skiers. He recalls filming clients with his contraption while working for a photo concession at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. He describes how clients developed “Kodak courage” when they hired him. Bushnell later became a Wyoming private eye and shares a funny incident about how being a PI isn’t quite how it’s portrayed on TV. Bushnell also shares a story about performing an impromptu musical concert in India while traveling with the Rotary Club of Jackson Hole.

Rebecca Huntington

Roy Chambers was born to Ida and Andy Chambers in 1924 in a log cabin still standing on Mormon Row in the shadow of the Tetons in what’s now Grand Teton National Park. Roy worked hard on the family’s homestead cattle ranch. He met his wife, Becky, a nurse at St. John’s Hospital, and they married in 1956. Two years later, they bought the Flying V Ranch (today known as the Gros Ventre River Ranch) and went into the dude ranching business. Roy talks about the joys of running a guest ranch with Rob Cheek, who first came to Jackson Hole as teen-age “dude,” or tourist. 

Ryan Janek Wolowski via Flickr

Now residents of Buffalo Valley on the border of Grand Teton National Park, BJ and Marius Hanford danced on Broadway in New York City for many years before moving West. Marius recalls what it was like to go from being a military man to learning ballet. The couple shares stories of their love of dance and of one another.

Rebecca Huntington

Chef Eric Bartle and girlfriend, Sara Kundelius, moved in the dead of winter from Portland, Oregon, to Turpin Meadow Ranch. The guest ranch is nestled at the end of the Buffalo Valley Road, on the edge of the Teton Wilderness, one of the most remote places in the Lower 48 states.

The couple loves to forage for locally grown foods and brought with them a supply of homemade jarred and canned delicacies to incorporate into the ranch’s menu. They share stories about that first trip to the ranch and their passion for home and forest-grown food.

Rebecca Huntington

Singer-songwriter Beth McIntosh and her son, Rainer McIntosh-Round, who live in Wilson, Wyoming, share stories about surviving moose and bone-chilling temperatures living in the cowboy state. McIntosh also reflects on her Scottish immigrant roots.

Rebecca Huntington

Wilson, Wyoming residents Pat Hardeman and Ireen Steeg share memories of Earl Hardeman, Pat’s husband and Irene’s uncle. Earl grew up on a homestead in Kelly, Wyoming, which later became part of Grand Teton National Park. They talk about the isolation of growing up in Kelly and the challenges of daily routines, such as getting to school.

wyoarts.state.wy.us

When David Romtvedt first moved to Wyoming, his profession as a poet made him immediately suspect. His wife, Margo Brown, an artist and a Wyoming native, talks with David about how he gradually earned the respect of her ranching relatives. Romtvedt served as Poet Laureate of Wyoming from 2003 to 2011.

Rebecca Huntington

On May 25, 2014, 15-year-old Sasha Johnstone became the youngest person to climb and ski the Grand Teton, according to mountain guides. At 13,775 feet, the Grand is the highest peak in Grand Teton National Park with slopes as steep as 55 degrees, bordered by cliffs dropping away precipitously to create “no fall zones.” Sasha skied the peak with his parents.

Rebecca Huntington

Dollie Iberlin gives new meaning to the phrase “student teacher” as she recalls her first teaching job, educating two students just a few years younger than herself on a Johnson County ranch. While teaching at the ranch, Iberlin also weathered one of the most famous and daunting blizzards in Wyoming history. Iberlin shares stories about that fun and fateful year with her daughter, Margo Brown.

Adrian Shirk

Donna Marburger was a student at the University of Wyoming in the 1950’s. Her major was physical education. In the physical education department, there was a men’s department and a women’s department. Judy Knight from the Laramie Plains Museum asks Donna how she felt about having men and women trained differently.

legendsofamerica.com

John Farr tells the story of Kit Carson, who was a famous trapper and explorer in the 1800s.  John C. Fremont hired Carson on his expedition as a guide, and together they mapped and explored the American West.

Dawn grew up in the cabin her father built outside of Saratoga. She shared her childhood with her family, the surrounding wildlife, and the friends she found in the Indian reservations where her father was a teacher. Dawn grew up drawing and painting, and she later worked as an artist-in-schools for rural communities in Wyoming and South Dakota. Dawn reflects on the role that nature played in her ability to express herself creatively.

Visit Dawn’s gallery website.

Nita Engen grew up in Centennial, Wyoming. She is the 5th generation of ranchers to own land in the area, and cherishes the community that raised her as a child. Nita tells a few stories of her childhood on the range.

Adrian Shirk

Anna Marno was born and raised in Centennial, Wyoming. Spending most of her childhood at the Snowy Range Ski area, Anna quickly became a talented skier. She qualified for the U.S. Ski Team her senior year of high school. Anna shares her story.

Stories about riding a horse to school.

Subscribe to the Wyoming Stories podcast here.

Wyoming Stories: A Horse You Could Rely On

Sep 9, 2014
Wayne Thomas

Gene Olmsted lives in Powell. His memories of his horse, Ginger are always fresh on his mind, including a time Ginger helped him get home from school during a storm.

Wayne Thomas

Clarabelle Barsness lives in Powell. She remembers growing up on a farm in Cody and riding her horse to school—out of necessity.

Stories about getting into trouble.

Subscribe to the Wyoming Stories podcast here.

Frank, Bert, and Bob Johnson grew up on the A—1 ranch outside of Elk Mountain. The three brothers recount their stories of childhood trouble-making on the ranch and in the school house.

Val and Jerry Burgess are residents of Sheridan. In this story, Val asks her husband to reflect on his experience receiving a stem cell transplant.

August in Wyoming: Stories of nature and wildlife. 

Subscribe to the Wyoming Stories podcast here.

On July 26, 1990 President George H W Bush signed into law the Americans With Disabilities Act. Among other things, the ADA has accessibility requirements for public places—such as stores or restaurants. But the Elk Mountain Trading Company was built 1895, long before the idea of handicap accessibility. Nancy Casner, who owns the Crossing Café housed in the building, recalls what it meant to add a ramp to the historic building.

Wyoming Stories: She'd Rather Ride A Horse

Jul 21, 2014
Wayne Thomas

Alice Fales lives in Cody, WY. She recalls fond memories of the role horses played in her youth and riding a horse to school.

Pat and Phyllis McKee both grew up in ranching families in Elk Mountain. As kids, they avoided each other, but that didn't stop a whirlwind romance when they got older. They were married in 1990 and have three daughters.

Not long ago, in an unexpected turn of events, Rawlins resident Sherrill Bailey adopted her grand-nephew. In this story, she explores the rewarding and complicated destiny of becoming a parent at 65 years old.

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