oral history

Wayne Thomas

With Valentine’s Day approaching, meet Ed and Carmela Conning from Cody. They got together in Long Island, New York back in the mid 70’s. Here’s the story of how they first met and their first date.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Georgia Wier

Like his dad and two uncles, Curt Artery is a rancher. His involvement  in rodeos gave him the idea of raising Corriente cattle—the cattle used for team roping. Curt learned to make black powder horns as a young man. Later, after thinking about the Corriente horns that would otherwise go to waste on his ranching operation, he began using them to craft jewelry and other decorative items. WPM listener Georgia Wier spoke with Artery.

Micah Schweizer

Cody resident Martha Kinkade tells her daughter Becky the story of a wild horse only she could ride. Martha’s future husband, Harley, needed someone to ride the horse while he was gone during the summer, so Martha took the reins.

And in this story, Martha recounts moments from her school days.