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Little Snake River Museum opens new exhibit dedicated to Wyoming’s sheep industry

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On Aug. 15, the Little Snake River Museum in Savery hosted a grand opening celebration for their new building and exhibit – the MacPherson Sheep Center. 

“The event was great,” noted Little Snake River Museum Director Lela Emmons.  “We had a weekend full of fun activities, and about 250 people, from all across the state and Colorado, were in attendance.” 

Grand opening celebration

Emmons explained the grand opening began with a ribbon cutting ceremony by John and Kathy MacPherson of Rawlins, whose generous donations made the new exhibit possible.  

“We also had three presenters. The first was Suza Bedient of Lander, one of the few woman sheep shearers in the state,” said Emmons. “Suza has traveled around the world shearing sheep, so she talked about her life on the shearing circuit.” 

Cat Urbigkit of Pinedale was the second presenter and discussed predators and guard dogs. David Romtvedt of Buffalo gave a presentation on the Basque culture and the presence of Basque culture in the West. Romtvedt also performed Basque accordion music. 

“On Saturday, we had a free barbeque. We served local lamb, in addition to hamburgers and hot dogs,” said Emmons. “We also showed a few movies related to the sheep industry throughout the day.”

“Ann Dillon brought bum lambs for the kids and Yampa Valley Fiber Works of Craig, Colo. had a tent showcasing their woolen goods,” she continued. 

Emmons noted the festivities continued into Sunday, with a free pancake breakfast and a trek to the Little Snake River Museum’s Divide Sheep Camp. 

MacPherson Sheep Center

“The center came about after the MacPherson family came to us and asked if we would be interested in taking five sheep wagons they had collected from different outfits in Carbon County over the years,” Emmons explained. “We were interested but they wanted them stored inside, and we didn’t have any room for them.”

However, the MacPherson family didn’t let this stop them from creating an exhibit dedicated to Wyoming’s sheep industry. In fact, they returned to the museum with a monetary donation for the construction of a new building and the MacPherson Sheep Center was erected. 

Today, according to Emmons, the new exhibit showcases the five sheep wagons donated by the MacPherson family as well as other antique and modern equipment used in sheep ranching and photos from historic Carbon County sheep operations. 

“We will also be receiving another sheep wagon and a supply wagon, both of which will be donated by the Wyoming Wool Growers Association,” Emmons said. 

“We have always felt it would be important to have a sheep exhibit in our museum since the sheep industry has played such an important role in the Little Snake River Valley and in the state of Wyoming. The MacPhersons just happened to come out of the woodwork, and they were extremely generous so we were able to finally make it happen,” Emmons said.  

“In addition to the sheep exhibit, we plan on using our new building for events,” she continued. “We designed it to be a multi-functioning building. Not only can people come visit for a taste of history, they can also rent it out for weddings and other events.”

The Little Snake River Museum and the new MacPherson Sheep Center are open after Memorial Day through mid-October, seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Hannah Bugas is the managing editor for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to roundup@wylr.net.

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