Wyoming: A Last Frontier for the Modern-Day Pioneer - Wyoming Magazine


Wyoming: A Last Frontier for the Modern-Day Pioneer


Author: Virginia Schmidt


Wyoming is a place for dreamers as well as doers. Growing up here, the endless open sky, rolling sage-kissed plains and sheer mountain silhouettes planted the dreams of a pioneer in my heart. I traveled around the world looking for a frontier where those dreams could grow.


You know what happens next. It’s the time-old parable: What you are looking for is and always was right back where you started. This chapter of my life is a classic tale of coming home, but I’m not just coming home to anywhere. I’m coming home to Wyoming (Wy-home-ing). Wyoming: One of the last frontiers big enough to nurture a pioneer spirit.


Double Doc Ranch, with locations just east of Cody and just west of Shell, is the place that raised me. The place I fell in love with riding horses and writing stories, the place that gave me the idea anything was possible, and all it took was a strong imagination and dedicated work ethic to make aspirations real. Now I see Double Doc Ranch – which to me is just a smaller symbol for the whole vast state of Wyoming – doesn’t just have to be the place where my dreams began, but where they can come to fruition.


While much of the rest of the world seems bustling with people vying for the same position or patent, Wyoming lies before us like a lush ripe field with hardly enough people to bring in the hearty crop. The modern-day pioneer could be compared to the entrepreneur, and if you want your slice of what Wyoming has to offer, don’t look for want ads in the paper: Look for a want in the fabric of the community. Dream up a way to meet a need, and Wyoming will give you the space to fill it.


When it comes to Double Doc Ranch, the facility has a long and rich history of Quarter Horse racing and breeding and Missouri Foxtrotter showing and breeding. Yet, for the past decade, a jaw-droppingly comprehensive horse facility had gone largely unused and was beginning to weather. I sensed that even with all the wonderful horse facilities around our area, this extreme concentration of equine people needed the Double Doc to again offer itself up as a community center for horse care and activity of all kinds – boarding, lessons, training, clinics, competitions – whatever the community might want.


The other side of Double Doc Ranch is a small-scale grass-fed cattle operation. This past year, my family began in earnest to transition our herd toward Certified Organic to benefit both our cattle and the land. In the process, we discovered Wyoming – the Cowboy state with such a strong ranching legacy – does not yet have a USDA-approved slaughter and processing facility within its state borders. This means no Wyoming rancher can sell Wyoming beef directly to consumers outside the state without trucking their cows to Montana and/or Colorado, etc. So, currently we are working to open Wyoming Legacy Meats, the first USDA slaughter and processing facility in Wyoming. We seek to empower small Wyoming ranches like the Double Doc and to make quality Wyoming beef accessible to Wyomingites and to the world.


There are so many needs to be met in this great state, and so many means by which to meet them. Just like various aspects of Double Doc Ranch, Wyoming offers an impressive, largely unused framework of possibilities. It just needs dreamers who are ready to do the manifestation work to come in, spruce it up, and continue building on. Wyoming’s history provides a deep, robust foundation; its future is for the pioneers who are ready to sit down at the drawing board.

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