5 Interesting Facts about Wyoming

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Although Wyoming is the last state alphabetically, it is by far the least important of the United States. Being the least populous state in the country yet the 10th largest by area means it’s full of wide-open spaces worthy of exploring. It is also home to the nation’s very first National Park, Yellowstone. Millions of visitors flock to Wyoming each year to explore Yellowstone, see old faithful, and scope out the wildlife. But be careful when visiting as the bison aren’t very friendly.

Photo: National Park Service

Movie Fame

The famous yet controversial 2005 movie, Brokeback Mountain, might have been based in Wyoming but was actually filmed in Alberta, Canada. In the film, Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal characters explore the mountains of “Wyoming”, which led to the biggest increase in tourism since Close Encounters of the Third Kind in 1977. Another famous movie that was filmed in Wyoming was Rocky IV. Balboa starring Sylvester Stallone. In the film, Rocky is trained to fight Ivan Drago in an area that is supposed to depict Russia, but it was actually filmed on a farm in Jackson Hole.

The Jackalope

The ever elusive and mythical creature known as a Jackalope was born in Wyoming. In the 1930s, in Douglas, Wyoming Douglas Herrick and his brother brought the creature to life. They were taxidermists and after a jackrabbit hunt, they tossed their bounty in a pile to be stuffed. One landed near some deer antlers and seeing the jackrabbit with some antlers gave birth to an idea. So, the brothers combined the two and the Jackalope was born. They began to sell their creation and quite a few people bought them and the legend of the Jackalope grew. Nowadays, the town of Douglas is proud of their weird little creature. They issue hunting licenses for Jackalopes tourists. The tags are good for hunting during official Jackalope season. Which occurs for only one day, June 31 a nonexistent date, from midnight to 2 a.m. The hunter must have an IQ greater than 50 but not over 72. Thousands of “licenses” have been issued. There are even many local legends about the Jackalope. Like, you should wear a stovepipes on your legs if you plan on hunting them to keep from being gored. Or to make hunting them easier, offer them whiskey since they can’t resist it. Also, that Jackalopes can imitate human voices. So, if you’re ever interested in hunting a Jackalope just head to Douglas, Wyoming.  

Lifestyles of the Rich and the Famous

While Wyoming might be the least populous state in the entire United States, it actually hosts numerous vacation homes of the rich and the famous. Big names such as Tiger Woods, Harrison Ford, Kayne West, Sandra Bullock, Charles Schwab, and Wyoming native Dick Cheney, all reportedly owned real estate in Jackson Hole. While not all the wealthy have a place of residence in Wyoming, many still visit the infamous Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. So grab your skis and head to the Tetons, you might just run into your favorite movie star or music artist.

The Wolves of Yellowstone

Photo: National Geographic

Back in 1995, scientists decided to reintroduce Gray wolves into Yellowstone National Park after being driven extinct in the region nearly 100 years before. While many were upset about the reintroduction, the grey wolves of Yellowstone play a key role in the food web of the park. As of January 2020, there are at least 94 wolves in the park and eight packs were noted.

Firsts for Women

Wyoming is known as the Equality State. In fact, its official state motto is “Equal Rights”. So why is Wyoming known for Equality? In 1869, Wyoming became the first territory to grant women over the age of 21 the right to vote. There are a few reasons that officials passed the bill. One is that some truly believed that women had the same rights as men. Another was to attract more settlers by appearing more modern. The motto was officially adopted 86 years later in 1955. Wyoming has another first when it comes to women. In 1925 Nellie Tayloe Ross was elected as the first female governor. Her husband was Governor William Bradford Ross and after he died, she was elected to finish his term. She served from 1925 to 1927. After that, FDR appointed her as the director of the United States Mint. She is still the only female governor that the state has ever had.