Wyoming August 30, 2018
11 Insane Things That Happened In Wyoming You Won’t Find in History Books
Wyoming’s a weird state, and its history is full of clashes, exploration, and strange happenings. Read a few of the strangest things to happen in Wyoming history below.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. The University of Wyoming set the World Record for a Swing Dance in 2015.
Laramie, Wyoming recently danced into the record books with over 1,100 swing dancers gathering at the University's Fieldhouse. The record was broken on April 30, 2015.
2. Heart Mountain moved 62 miles all at once.
Millions of years ago, Heart Mountain set a land speed record for... mountains? Due to a large volcanic slide, the mountain moved 62 miles from its home Absaroka Range in just half an hour.
Read about this intriguing geologic wonder here
3. Daredevil George Hopkins got stranded at the top of Devils Tower, 1941.
George Hopkins was hoping to set a record for the most parachute jumps in one day, and wanted to drum up some publicity by making one jump to the top of Devils Tower, in Wyoming. Unfortunately, his jump wasn't well planned, and though he landed safely at the top, his rappelling gear fell off the side.
Read about his adventure and rescue here
4. John Osbourne crafted a pair of manskin shoes.
Its not unusual to wear sheepskin in Wyoming, but manskin is kind of... odd. In 1881, a Wyoming outlaw named "Big Nose George" was executed. Osbourne, a doctor and politician, took his remains and turned his skin into a pair of boots. He wore the boots to his inaugural ball, because Osbourne because Wyomings governor not too long after the sickening incident. His assistant used Georges skull as a doorstop for decades.
5. Frontier hosts a Pizza Party in Cheyenne
One July, 2014 flight became an impromptu pizza party after weather kept the plane from landing in Denver. A short flight turned into a seven hour, weather-delayed deal, and the pilot ordered pizza for the entire plane. Over 30 pies were delivered to the tarmac. Best. Flight. Ever.
6. University of Wyoming is founded... before Wyoming.
When the University of Wyoming opened its doors in 1886, it wasn't a state university because the state itself didn't exist for another four years!
7. Rocky trained to fight Ivan Drago.
The frozen, desolate winters of Wyoming set the stage of the Siberian scenes in Rocky IV, which was the Rocky movie where the Philadelphian boxer defeated Communism with his own two fists. The icy scenes in the film were shot in Jackson and the Teton.s
8. The Jackalope was born.
Douglas, Wyoming is home to the world's largest Jackalope! Legend has it that the two brothers invented the creature, and the tale spread like wildfire throughout the west. To commemorate its origins, the train depot in Douglas displays a larger-than-life statue out front.
9. The Gros Ventre landslide creates a brand new lake.
A massive landslide occurred on June 23, 1925 thanks to tremendous snow melt, heavy rain, and earthquakes. The rockslide rode 300 feet up across a mountain and formed a natural dam where Lower Slide Lake is today.
10. JC Penney was founded in Kemmerer, Wyoming.
James Cash Penney (Yes, that's his real name) founded the first JC Penny store April 14, 1902. It quickly expanded and became one of the largest department stores in American history.
11. Parts of Wyoming tried to secede and become Absaroka.
Wyomingites have always had an independent streak, and in 1939, they took it a little far. Portions of northern wyoming, South Dakota and Montana attempted to form a new state: Absaroka. Sheridan would have been the capital. There's a chance that the fictional and famous Absaroka County from the Longmire series got its origin from this quirky movement.
Not all of Wyoming’s history is fun and quirky, though. Read
The 8 Most Horrifying Disasters That Ever Happened In Wyoming to learn a little more about our darker side.