Wyoming families honored for Centennial Farms and Ranches
Wyoming’s history is created through its farms and ranches, embodying the story of a landscape uniquely tied to each family’s history.
The Wyoming Centennial Farm and Ranch program honored 13 families who have owned and operated the same farm or ranch for 100 years or more at the Douglas County School District Recreation Center on Aug. 19.
The families behind these operations demonstrate astonishing dedication and commitment to preserving Wyoming’s ag history.
Each year, the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office (WSHPO) and its program partners host the celebration to honor these families, and more than 260 families have been honored through the program since it was reestablished in 2006.
The Centennial Farm and Ranch honorees play a role in preserving Wyoming’s heritage, and in continuing the preservation, the WSHPO publishes an annual yearbook featuring photos and a brief history of each family honored at this special event.
Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources Acting Director Dave Glenn kicked off the event by introducing and thanking program sponsors, including WSHPO, Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund, Wyoming Stock Growers Association, Wyoming Department of Agriculture, Wyoming Business Council, Wyoming Rural Electric Association, Wyoming Wool Growers Association, Wyoming Livestock Roundup, special guests and program staff.
Wyoming Stock Growers Association Executive Vice President Jim Magagna discussed threats Wyoming farms and ranches face and thanked each family for applying to become a Centennial Farm and Ranch.
Additional speakers were Wyoming Rural Electric Association Executive Director Shawn Taylor and Wyoming Business Council Agribusiness Manager Jill Tregemba.
Wyoming Wool Growers Association Executive Director Alison Crane addressed the meaning behind a Centennial Farm and Ranch and the legacy they leave behind for the next generation.
“The history of this great state, the heritage of this great state and the future of this great state are all here under this tent,” stated U.S. Sen. Barrasso (R-WY) while addressing the 2023 Centennial Farm and Ranch honorees.
He noted each generational rancher being honored follows the cowboy code of ethics and thanked them for their dedication and grit.
U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) focused on the next generation of farmers and ranchers in Wyoming, encouraging them to preserve their family’s legacy through stewardship and to nurture their family’s ranch.
She continued, “They are the future of Wyoming’s agriculture and will carry their family’s heritage into the next centennial.”
Gov. Mark Gordon took a few minutes to address the honorees and thank them for their determination and for standing together to pass on their family heritage.
“The ranches and families we are honoring today have weathered the Great Depression, the Great Recession and last winter, and thank God you all are still here,” he stated.
Gordon, Barrasso, Lummis and Glenn honored the farms and ranches at the annual event with a framed certificate and a large sign to display on their property.
Congresswoman Harriet Hageman (R-WY) could not attend the special event, but her office representative was there to deliver honorees with an official letter of gratitude from her.
Honorees included the Ackerman Ranch, which was established in Crook County in 1921.
In 1917, the Bomgardner Ranches were established in Platte County. Great grandfather Arthur Bomgardner focused on producing corn, wheat, sheep and cattle. Today, the ranch is solely a cattle production ranch.
The Box A Ranch was established in 1923 in Goshen County. The propeerty is the first land crossed when traveling the Oregon Trail on the Pony Express on the Wyoming-Nebraska border.
The Cain Ranch, established in 1923 in Campbell County, is situated on Bitter Creek and is home to a sheep, cattle and Quarter Horse operation.
The James and Elsie Duvall Ranch was established in 1916 in Campbell County, where Duvall’s grandparents built a small cabin on the homestead.
The Griffin/Rees family was honored for the Griffin Ranch which was established in 1919 Fremont County. Grandfather Oliver, with his wife Tina and their five children, began their Wyoming life at the newly founded ranch.
The Bill Ellis family was honored for the Marsh and Ellis Ranch, established in 1923 in Laramie County by their great uncle Earl Marsh, who built a one-room shed on the land, which still stands today.
Additional honorees were the Gary Lundvall family. Grandad Herman Lundvall traded a ranch in Fort Morgan, Colo., for the Monument Hill Ranch, which was established in 1922 in Park County.
The Rousch Ranch was established in 1917 in Campbell County. The family relocated from Missouri and acquired the ranch through the Homestead Act of 1916.
In 1923, the Stewart Ranch was established in Campbell County by Frank and Della Stewart, who operated a purebred Hereford cattle operation.
To end the event, the Ron and Karen Bernhardt family were honored for the Willadsen Ranch Twin Mountain, which was established in 1921 in Laramie County and hosts the highest point between Cheyenne and Laramie and housed a military lookout post during World War II.
Two families were not present at the event. The Buckmiller Ranch was established in 1921 in Crook County and Romsa Brothers, LLC was established in 1907 in Laramie County after immigrating from Norway.
Melissa Anderson is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.