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Frequently Asked Reference Questions



What does "Wyoming" mean? The musical name, "Wyoming," was used by J.M. Ashley of Ohio, who, as early as 1865, introduced a bill to Congress to provide a "temporary government for the territory of Wyoming." It was to be formed from portions of the Dakota, Utah and Idaho territories. The bill was referred to a committee where it rested until 1868. During debate on the bill in the U.S. Senate in 1868, other possible names were suggested, such as Cheyenne, Shoshoni, Arapaho, Sioux, Platte, Big Horn, Yellowstone, Sweetwater and Lincoln. "Wyoming" was already commonly used and remained the popular choice.

The name Wyoming was adopted from two Delaware Indian words, MECHEWEAMI-ING. To the Indians it means "at the big plains," or "on the great plain," certainly appropriate for Wyoming. [http://wyoming.gov/narrative.aspx]


What are the county numbers on the license plates? License plates in the State of Wyoming feature the "Bucking Horse", which originally appeared on the plates in 1936. The number on the far left of the license plate represents the county from which the plate was issued. The numbers were assigned to counties according to their total county property valuation. [ W.S. 31-2-204(d) ]

  1. Natrona
  2. Laramie
  3. Sheridan
  4. Sweetwater
  5. Albany
  6. Carbon
  7. Goshen
  8. Platte
  9. Big Horn
  10. Fremont
  11. Park
  12. Lincoln
  13. Converse
  14. Niobrara
  15. Hot Springs
  16. Johnson
  17. Campbell
  18. Crook
  19. Uinta
  20. Washakie
  21. Weston
  22. Teton
  23. Sublette


Is there a "Brokeback Mountain" in Wyoming? No. According to the Geographic Names Information System, there is no such feature in Wyoming. However, Robert K. Elder of the Chicago Tribune, wrote an article, "Where in Wyoming?" [January 4, 2006], that discusses where the director, Ang Lee, and the screen writer, Larry McMurtry, imagine where the story is set, and where the movie was actually filmed. Other locations mentioned in the movie do exist, such as Riverton, Casper, and Lightning Flat. Lightning Flat is a discontinued post office in Crook County. On the other hand, the town of Signal, does not exist.


What is the name of the bucking bronco on the Wyoming license plate? The horse in Wyoming's trademark does not officially have a name. However, depending on which version of history you believe, the model for the horse has a name

Version 1
During World War I, Wyoming soldier George Ostrom designed the bucking horse and rider logo using his horse, Red Wing, as the model.

Version 2
In 1935, Secretary of State, Lester Hunt, commissioned artist Allen True to design the bucking horse and rider logo for the license plates with no specific horse as the model.

Other horses some believe were the model were rodeo horse Steamboat and cowboy Stub Farlow's horse Deadman.

Officially it is just called the Bucking Horse & Rider trademark. Neither the horse nor the rider have names. http://soswy.state.wy.us/Services/BHR.aspx


Which U.S. president's father and grandfather were from Wyoming? Gerald R. Ford's father, Leslie Lynch King, and his paternal grandfather, Charles Henry King, were both from Wyoming. Leslie King, Sr., lived in Riverton, and C.H. King was a pioneer businessman in Douglas, Casper and Lander, however neither were born in Wyoming.


Where is a limestone log book? Register Cliff near Guernsey, Wyoming which is located along the Oregon Trail (as well as Independence Rock near Casper, Wyoming) is considered a limestone log book. Register Cliff is made of limestone, Independence Rock is granite.

To see pictures of the names carved by travelers, go to http://wyld.state.wy.us/, choose All Libraries, then Digital Collections on the blue tool bar. Pictures of the rocks have been digitized by Wyoming libraries and museums.

See also http://wyoshpo.state.wy.us/trailsdemo/continue.htm


Is there free land available in Wyoming? No. Congress abolished homesteading in 1976 with passage of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act [pdf], which made it national policy to retain the public lands in Federal ownership. For more information, please see the Bureau of Land Management web page at http://www.blm.gov/nhp/freeland/freeland.htm


Who came up with the slogan "Wyoming: Like No Place On Earth"? The slogan was coined by Ed Riddell, who was at an advertising agency hired by the state of Wyoming.


When was Wyoming's state quarter released? Governor Freudenthal appointed 13 Wyoming historians and other experts to the Wyoming Coinage Advisory Committee to address the state quarter design. The quarter was released in the fourth quarter of 2007.

You can see the Wyoming quarter at http://www.usmint.gov/mint_programs/50sq_program/?action=designs_50sq

An official unveiling and educational program about the quarter took place of the morning of September 14, 2007 at the Cheyenne Civic Center at 10 a.m. The event included presentations by Freudenthal and U.S. Mint Director Edmund C. Moy, among other dignitaries and special guests.


Is alcohol allowed in state buildings?
We have not been able to locate either state statutes or Executive Orders on this subject. However, Governor Herschler issued a memo, reaffirmed by subsequent Governors, on the use of alcohol at state functions and in state buildings. For information on policies and procedures, contact the state’s Risk Management Office at 307-777-6774.


I am doing a school project on Wyoming, and would like to receive materials.
Wyoming Travel and Tourism can send you that information. They have also put together a Student Guide, that may just answer your questions. Also check out the information sources at your local library. The encyclopedia is an excellent source of information and pictures about Wyoming.


What is the food of Wyoming?
Wyoming doesn't really have an official state food. However, one tradition is the milk can dinner. A recipe follows:

Milk Can Supper
Use a clean milk 5-gallon or 10-gallon steel milk can with no leaks. Slight rust may be knocked off with steel wool. Cans with heavier rust may be sandblasted. If the can has no lid, the milk can may be covered with a double thickness of aluminum foil during cooking. A 5-gallon can will hold enough for 10-12 people. A 10-gallon can will feed up to 35.

Ingredients per person:
2 polish sausages
1 potato
1 ear of corn
"enough" carrots, cabbage and onions (use your best guesstimate)
A quart to a quart and a half of water or beer

A milk can dinner should be layered, based on cooking times for the ingredients. Place the potatoes and water or beer in the bottom of the milk can. Then add carrots, cabbage and onions. On top of those, place the corn on the cob. Finally, place the polish sausage on top. Either place the lid loosely on top, or use a double-layer of aluminum foil, crimped around the edges. CAUTION: Do not seal the lid tightly, as you have to let steam escape or the can may explode!

Build a steady (not roaring!) fire between two concrete blocks. About four to five pieces of kindling at a time are usually adequate. Set the milk can over the fire up on the blocks and tend the fire to keep a steady temperature. After about 45 minutes, the can should begin to steam. Dinner is cooked in about an hour and a half. Pour contents into a large serving tub. Can will be hot, so use caution in handling. Let guests pick what they want with serving tongs.

Bon appetit!

Recipe submitted by Jack Mueller, printed in the Spring 2005 Wyoming Library Roundup


What is the population of ......? You may find that information at the Economic Analysis Division's Census page at [http://eadiv.state.wy.us/demog_data/pop2010/pop10.html]

What are the top Wyoming cities by population? According to the 2009 population estimates, they are:

Taken from "Population for Wyoming, Counties, Cities, and Towns: 2000 to 2020" [http://eadiv.state.wy.us/pop/wyc&sc20.htm]


Is Wyoming a "Fence-In" or a "Fence-Out" State?
Wyoming is a fence out state for cattle (case law) and a fence in state for sheep (case law). The Wyoming Livestock Board has an excellent page describing the intricacies of this issue at http://wlsb.state.wy.us/LE/fencelaw.htmm


Where can I find the words or music to the Wyoming state song?
The Wyoming State Library has both the sheet music and a cassette recording of the state song. The Knapp version of the song was officially designated as the state song by the 33rd Wyoming Legislature in 1955. It is Wyoming Statute 8-3-108, and can be found at http://wyoming.gov/general.aspx.

The cassette recording of the song held at the State Library has vocal and piano by John Coe, 1999. WyDocs Media CM 7.2:12 (cassette), Oversize ML 3795.W8 W784, (sheet music). Contact Reference from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 307/777-6333, Fax 307/777-5920 or ai-wsl-refdesk@wyo.gov.


How does one obtain copies of Wyoming birth and death certificates? The Wyoming Department of Health has a website with forms and other information: [http://www.health.wyo.gov/rfhd/vital_records/index.html]


How does one become a resident of Wyoming? It depends on what you want to do as a resident--hunt or fish, go to college, or vote. Here is what the statutes say:

According to the Wyoming Statute Title 23 (Game and Fish) Residency for obtaining game and fish licenses. W.S. 23-1-107.
(http://legisweb.state.wy.us/statutes/statutes.aspx?file=titles/Title23/T23CH1AR1.htm)
or (http://gf.state.wy.us/downloads/pdf/resident.pdf)

Or, if you are interested in residency for tuition purposes:
From Wyoming State Statute 21-17-105.: (University of Wyoming)
(http://legisweb.state.wy.us/statutes/statutes.aspx?file=titles/Title21/T21CH17.htm)

Or, if you are talking about being able to vote : W.S. 22-1-102(a)(xxx)
(http://legisweb.state.wy.us/statutes/statutes.aspx?file=titles/Title22/Title22.htm)

Or, for the purpose of motor vehicle registration: W.S. 31-1-101(a)(xxi) (effective Jan. 1, 2010)
(http://legisweb.state.wy.us/statutes/statutes.aspx?file=titles/Title31/T31CH1.htm


Are there services for the blind in Wyoming? The Utah State Library for the Blind and Disabled provides books and magazines to Wyoming residents. Applications for service and equipment are handled through consultants of the Wyoming Services for the Visually Impaired. For more information, please see the Utah State Library for the Blind & Disabled website, or call 1-800-453-4293.


Wyoming Firsts

First Women to Vote: John A. Campbell, Wyoming's first Territorial Governor, signed a bill December 10, 1869 making Wyoming the first state to grant women the right to vote.

First Woman Justice of the Peace: Esther Hobart Morris was appointed February 17, 1870 in South Pass City.

First All Woman Jury: The first all woman jury was sworn in March 7, 1870 in Laramie.

First Woman Bailiff: In 1870, Mary Atkinson of Albany County was appointed the first woman bailiff in the world.

First Woman Governor in the U.S.: Nellie Tayloe Ross was elected to complete the term of her husband who died in office. She served from 1925 to 1927. In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed her the first woman to head the U.S. Mint, a position she held until 1953.

First Woman Elected to the Wyoming State Senate: Dora McGrath, a Republican from Thermopolis, for Hot Springs County in 1930.

First Woman Elected to the Wyoming State House of Representatives: Mary G. Bellamy, a Democrat from Albany County, in 1910.

First Woman Statewide Elected Official: Estelle Reel was elected as Superintendent of Public Instruction in 1894.

First Town in America to be Governed Entirely by Women: The city of Jackson, from 1920 to 1921, had a woman mayor, town council and town marshall. One of the councilwomen defeated her husband for her council seat.

First State to Have a County Public Library System: The Laramie County Public Library System was organized in August of 1886.

First National Park: In 1872, congress named Yellowstone National Park in northwestern Wyoming as the first national park in the world.

First National Forest: By an Act signed by President Benjamin Harrison in 1891, Shoshone National Forest became the first national forest. Wyoming now has nine national forests.

First Ranger Station: Wapiti Ranger Station was established in the Shoshone National Forest in 1891.

First National Monument: Devils Tower in northeastern Wyoming was designated the first national monument by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906.

Source, Phil Roberts "Wyoming Almanac" 2010