That’s Not “STEAMBOAT” On Wyoming’s License Plate
HERESY! How dare I claim that the horse on Wyoming's license plate is NOT the famous Steamboat?
Steamboat is Wyoming's most famous bucking horse. Few could ride him and those who did were impressed at how powerful that horse was and how hard he made it on the rider.
But when we take a look at where this fine silhouette of a cowboy and rider came from we find that it was never really meant to be anyone in particular.
The first time someone used a horse and ridder like this to represent Wyoming was back in World War 1.
The Wyoming National Guard went to France and Germany during the war. A gentleman from Sheridan, Wyoming named George Auster Took his horse, named Red Wing, with him.
George painted the image of his horse bucking a rider on the side of airplanes and other equipment.
This was the first time such an image was used to represent Wyoming.
In 1921 the University Of Wyoming used the famous photo that had been taken in 1903 of Guy Holt riding Steamboat.
But as you look at this photo, compared to the UW drawing, it does not look exactly the same. It was not supposed to be. This photo inspired the drawing.
Leap forward to 1936 when Lester C. Hunt was Wyoming Secretary Of State.
Mr. Hunt wanted an official logo for Wyoming's license plate. Up until then, there had not been one.
Mr. Hunt contacted an artist friend of his in Colorado to draw a horse and rider.
To this day many Wyoming towns claim that the rider is someone from their town.
To this day most people think that the horse is supposed to be the famous Steamboat.
But according to the artist, he was just drawing a bucking horse and rider. He did not have anyone in mind, man or beast.
Okay, fine, the artist did not have anyone in mind. But that doesn't mean that we can't proclaim the horse to be Wyoming's famous STEAMBOAT!
As for who the ridder is, there were many famous rodeo riders from Wyoming back then. We can just let each Wyoming town claim it to be their guy and leave them to argue about it. That might actually be fun.