Centennial farms and ranches honored
The Wyoming Centennial Farm and Ranch Program honors families who have owned and operated the same farm or ranch for 100 years or more. Fifteen centennial honorees were recognized at the Douglas Intermediate School in Douglas on Aug. 20.
Gov. Mark Gordon, Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), a representative from Rep. Liz Cheney’s office (R-WY) and Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources Director Darin Westby presented the awards.
“You think back 100 years ago, it was not an easy time for ag in Wyoming,” said Gov. Gordon. “It wasn’t a good time in our economy – we had a really tough go. When you think about the fact people had been through feast and famine, drought and floods – the families represented here dealt with it all.”
Partners in the Centennial Farm and Ranch Program include: Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office, Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund, Wyoming Stock Growers Association, Wyoming Department of Agriculture, Wyoming Business Council, Wyoming Rural Electric Association, Wyoming Wool Growers Association and the Wyoming Livestock Roundup.
The 2022 Centennial Farm and Ranch Honorees are as follows.
Eight Sublette County ranches were recognized at the event.
The Bain Ranch was homesteaded in 1918 by Barney Bain when he began raising cattle and sheep on the land. The ranch was passed down to William L. Bain and is now in ownership of Julie Bain.
Gary and Jennifer Rees and family own the Rees – Triangle 5 LLC in Sublette County. The ranch was purchased in 1895 by Daniel Roberson. The family raises hay and cattle.
Roberts Cattle Company is owned by Zac and Patti Roberts and family. The ranch was purchased by Mildred Mickelson in 1921 and has been passed down generations of the family since. The family raises hay, cattle and horses.
Stanley A. and Cara L. Olson own the Olson Ranch. Charles Olson purchased the ranch in 1914. Grass, hay and cattle are raised at the ranch.
Hittle Land and Livestock was purchased in 1919 by Henry C. Hittle. The ranch was passed down to William J. and Vera Hittle and Forest Hittle and Suzy Hittle Michnevich are the current owners. They grow hay and pasture.
Mary Ann, Morgan and Hugh Steele own the Steele Ranch L/S. Harry L. Steele purchased the land in 1920. The family raises grass, hay and cattle.
Nancy Steele Hulen, Forrest Steele and Phyllis Steele Mehle own the Steele Ranch where they grow hay. Frank Steele purchased the ranch in 1922.
Chrisman Land Company is owned by John J Chrisman. James W. Chrisman purchased the ranch in 1908. Grass, hay, cattle and horses are the major crop and livestock raised on the ranch.
Anthony “Fritz” and Beverly Bates own the Bates Ranch in Sheridan County. Nellie (Smith) Rasmussen homesteaded the ranch in 1917 while living in a dugout with a sod roof. She married Harry Rasmussen in 1919 and moved his house onto the homestead. They raised cows and horses.
They turned the place over to their daughter Shirley and her husband Ken Bates in 1952 and subsequently to Fritz and Beverly in 1989. They currently raise cattle on the ranch.
John David Hickey, Paul Joseph Hickey, James Phillip Espy, John Rendle Espy, Michelle Kay Espy Olguin, Patrick Hickey, Mary Hickey, Robert Espy and Ty Espy own the Blake Sheep Company in Carbon County, which was homesteaded by Frank Blake in 1880. They raise beef cattle on the ranch.
Frank passed away in 1927, leaving the corporation to the family. They are currently six generations strong on the ranch.
Jerry M. Kennedy owns the Dodge Creek Ranch in Albany County. W.H. Kennedy homesteaded the ranch in 1917 and the deed was received in 1923. The original ranching operation raised cattle, sheep and hay. The family now raises cattle and hay.
Fiddleback Farms, LLC in Washakie County has been operating since 1919. The operation grows barley, corn, beets and alfalfa.
James Mack Andrews purchased the initial land and expanded it through the years. Dennis and Lynn Brabec and family own the ranch.
Lance and Alice Theobald own the Lance and Alice Theobald Farm in Laramie County. It was purchased in 1922 by Phil and Florence Theobald.
The Theobalds originally raised wheat, corn, potatoes, beans, oats, barley, cattle, hogs, chickens and horses. They now grow wheat.
William and Jamey Pownall own the Pownall Ranch, a cow/calf operation in Campbell County. Everett L. and Ruth J. Pownall homesteaded the land in 1919. Jack and Ruth M. Pownall have also owned the ranch.
Another ranch recognized was the Rule Ranch, LLC, operated by the Rule family. The land was purchased in 1917 by Bert and Estelle Rule. Registered Paint horses and Hereford cattle are raised on the ranch.
Gordon acknowledged his respect for the centennial farms and ranches and the people of Wyoming.
“I am so proud to be from Wyoming,” said Gordon. “When you think about what’s gathered here – the history, the legacy – frankly, it’s what makes Wyoming what it is.”
“You are the torchbearers for the future generations,” he continued. “God bless you. God bless Wyoming. God bless our ancestors who have made this state what it is. God bless the U.S.”
Kaitlyn Root is an editor for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to email@example.com.