Proffit recognized by ag industry
Hight Proffit’s roots are in agriculture, according to his family and many who knew him. While he was born as a farm boy in North Carolina, Proffit’s impact to the Wyoming agriculture industry is profound. Hight passed away in 2002.
“Hight came to Wyoming in 1935 during the Great Depression, at 24 years of age, and he became addicted to the wide open spaces and rural atmosphere of the West,” writes his son Don. “Hight and his wife Dorothy Marsh Proffit then established a ranch with the help of the Federal Land Bank on the Bear River, where they raised cattle, sheep and horses, as well as four children.”
While running the ranch, Hight’s skills as a teamster and masterful ability with mechanics led him to create a push rake out of a Model A Ford that was the first of its kind in the Bear River Valley.
“His reputation as a superb handyman was earned, as he seemed to keep everything running,” Don continues. “Hight recognized ranching required many skills one must learn, and he also realized that success on the ranch was facilitated by a wife.”
Dorothy worked in town as a schoolteacher, and Hight was often credited for saying, “She taught so I could ranch.”
As the ranch continued to develop, Hight was integral in helping to bring electric power to the Bear River Valley and bringing irrigation to his meadows and pastures.
“Hight was a master irrigator – coaxing water to the arid areas of his meadows and pastures,” Don explains. “He did not have a good pioneer water rights, so he had to hone the skill of using and re-using available water.”
Hight was involved in the negotiation of the Bear River Compact, as well as Sulphur Creek Reservoir Founder’s Committee.
Service was also important to Hight, and he served on the Governor’s Land Use Advisory Committee, Wyoming State Agriculture Board, University of Wyoming College of Agriculture Advisory Board and as a Farm Bureau Charter Member.
In addition to his ranching work, Proffit served in public office for many years, including as a Uinta County Commissioner for 24 years and Wyoming Legislature, in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, for 10 years.
Hight was actively engaged in Uinta County and as a County Commissioner, earning his recognition as Outstanding County Official in Wyoming and Wyoming Association of County Officials Outstanding Member.
“Hight did not plan on a career in politics,” says Don. “It just evolved as neighbors encouraged him to use his sensible ideas and natural service instincts to enter the County Commission race. He discovered a great fondness for public service and dealing with people in solving problems.”
Hight’s wife Dorothy praised her husband for being to the point without being insulting or making others mad, and he enjoyed using this skill to solve problems.
While Hight was active on the ranch and in serving as a public leader, he also took time to mentor young people, serving 50 years on the Troop Committee and on the Eagle Board of Review for the Boy Scouts of America.
He was also a long-time 4-H leader and mentor.
“Throughout the years, Hight and his family were deeply involved in community activities, including 4-H, scouting, Farm Bureau, church activities and politics,” says Don.
“The optimistic spirit and willingness to serve made Hight and his family leaders in the community and friends to all,” Don continues. “His hard work, progressive ideas and good neighborly attitude proved them an integral part of the community and state.”
Hight will be honored during the Wyoming Agriculture Hall of Fame picnic, set for Aug. 15 at 5:30 p.m. at Riverside Park in Douglas. Dave True will also be inducted into the Hall of Fame during the event. Call 307-234-2700 or e-mail email@example.com for more information.