Articles written by Bill Sniffin


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  • Welcome to Siberia – Wyoming's winter body count has been high

    Bill Sniffin|Mar 9, 2023

    If you made a movie about this year’s Wyoming winter, it would have to be a survival story.     There have been so many great rescue stories but also some awful accident stories. The worst was the deaths of five Missouri high school kids on Interstate 80 east of Rawlins. Another horrible Rawlins death was when a semitruck collided with an ambulance killing a young man who left behind his wife and three kids.     The body count has been extraordinary with at least four wrecks each killing a pair of siblings. I just cannot imagine the...

  • New McDaniel book highlights   underdogs including Tom Bell and others 

    Bill Sniffin|Mar 2, 2023

    Like many Davids fighting their Goliaths, the heroes picked by author Rodger McDaniel in his new book suffered greatly, but caused great change in the Cowboy State.  The book “Profiles In Courage, Standing Against The Wyoming Wind,” recently came out and features some old friends of mine. Rodger sent me a copy, and folks like the late Tom Bell deserve some mention.  It was more than 50 years ago when a rancher named Herman Werner went to war against various endangered species at his Douglas ranch. During hearings before U.S. Sen. Gale...

  • Wyoming has more guns than people and lots of crazy stories

    Bill Sniffin|Feb 9, 2023

    Guns, guns, guns. Wyoming is Gun Central in the United States. Two-thirds of the residents own guns and there may be more guns than citizens of this fine state. There are at least three gun-related bills grinding through the Legislature as I write this – gun ownership is a big, big deal here in the Cowboy State. Wyoming is full of funny and weird gun stories. • Back on Dec. 3, 2012, a burly guy walked into the Modern Nails Salon in Casper and offered to sell diamonds to an employee working the front desk. He got upset when the employee...

  • Our town has been buried in snow and enduring freezing temperatures This Winter

    Bill Sniffin|Jan 26, 2023

    Between hurricanes and blizzards, this has been a winter to remember for retirees Jerry and Cassy Venters of Lander. Normally, they head to their condo on Sanibel Island off the Florida coast and never worry about cold weather or even winter-style clothes. But Hurricane Ian pretty much destroyed Sanibel and the Venters found themselves spending winter in Lander for the first time in years. No problem. Winters over the past three years have been warm and open. No snow. No harsh freezes. But this year? Yikes. “Thank God for Walmart and thrift s...

  • Looking Back At 2022 – Political And Weather Were Two Biggest News Explosions

    Bill Sniffin|Jan 5, 2023

    When looking back on 2022, two explosions of totally different types dominated the news. One was political and happened in the hottest days of August. The second was by Mother Nature, which happened in coldest days of December. Those were the top two of my 10 top stories of 2022. In August, Wyoming became the political epicenter of the world as everybody wanted to see how our lone U. S Representative Liz Cheney would fare in her reelection bid when former president Donald Trump had put her in his cross-hairs. It was an amazing time to be a...

  • This Holiday Season, Let's Remember Heroes Who Also Became Victims

    Bill Sniffin|Dec 29, 2022

    Heroes and victims. Sometimes an off-hand remark can become amazingly prescient. During a news meeting of Cowboy State Daily staff on Dec. 21, we were talking about how to cover the big storm headed toward the state. I casually mentioned we need to watch out for “heroes and victims.” Little did I know that within 36 hours, three wonderful Wyoming men would became both heroes and victims. The people of Wyoming need to give thanks to first responder Tyeler Harris, 29, of Saratoga and to Safety Officer Bruce Lang, 68, of Pine Haven, who lost...

  • Worst Winter Road In America – Who Named Our Snow Chi Minh Trail? 

    Bill Sniffin|Dec 15, 2022

    “Dear God, please help us get through this awful mess of a highway. If you get us through safely, so help me, we will never do anything bad again.”  Prayers like the above and many more variants emanate from folks in a long line of cars stranded in blizzards on a horrible stretch of winter highway called the Snow Chi Minh Trail along Interstate 80.  Like so many Wyomingites, our family has been there so many times.   This area is commonly referred to in the last four decades as the “Snow Chi Minh Trail.”  Where did that name come...

  • That Big Red Wave Sure Would Have Helped Wyoming 

    Bill Sniffin|Nov 17, 2022

    Elections have consequences. Especially on a national level.  It’s taken a few days to digest the consequences of the big mid-term national elections Tuesday.   Here in Wyoming, our general election was a faint imitation of our amazing primary last August. That primary drew record numbers of voters and saw international press interest as it was viewed as a Liz Cheney versus Donald Trump battle. Liz was trounced by national record numbers in that race by Harriet Hageman, who cruised to general election victory Tuesday. Harriet is now our...

  • Scary Times At The Bottom Of The Wild Food Chain

    Bill Sniffin|Nov 3, 2022

    Many decades ago, when my brother Ron and I would go big-game hunting, it was comforting to know that we were at the top of the food chain. We had powerful rifles and we knew that no creature out there could cause us serious harm. Our anti-hunter acquaintances always pointed out the unfairness of “hunting,” asking what would we do if the other side could hunt us? Sometime in the 1980s, all this changed. From that time on, grizzly bears have been encouraged to live all over Western Wyoming. It was a game-changer. Human hunters now could be...

  • Ignore Cheney And Trump – August Primary Were Wyoming Voters

    Bill Sniffin|Sep 8, 2022

    It’s taken me three weeks to finally digest what happened in Wyoming during that GOP primary election Aug. 16.  The results came quickly but what the hell really happened? This election was seen as a proxy fight between former President Donald Trump and his chief Congressional nemesis, Wyoming U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney.  In the end, it was not a Cheney-Trump fight. It was simply a job interview and Wyoming folks demonstrated they wanted to hire someone who would work for Wyoming - not a candidate operating a national campaign to disgrace a...

  • Recalling My Daughter's First Day Of School

    Bill Sniffin|Sep 1, 2022

    In the next few weeks, thousands a little children across Wyoming will march off to their first day of school. Especially for those parents of kindergartners, this is a poignant time. It sure was for me back in 1976 when our daughter Amber marched off to her first day of school. Here is a column that I wrote about how I felt about that event. The column won a national award and was originally published in our newspaper, the Wyoming State Journal in Lander. It was included in my first book, The Best Part of America, which was published in 1993....

  • Wyoming was at center of the country's political universe – for a short time

    Bill Sniffin|Aug 18, 2022

    Politically these past six months, we were watching the World Series, March Madness, and the Super Bowl all wrapped up into one Wyoming campaign. This GOP primary election between incumbent Liz Cheney and challenger Harriet Hageman has been called the battle for the soul of the Wyoming Republican Party, which is not correct. This election is unique in its own right. These two valiant women, who are former allies, found themselves in a punchbowl being watched by political observers and campaign junkies from around the world. I have been...

  • Advice to grads: Follow your dreams but keep your day job

    Bill Sniffin|May 26, 2022

    Holy cow, where do I start? I have been writing these “advice to graduate” columns for almost four decades and each year some of the main points remain constant.  For example, go find some mentors.  Also, if you fail, move on.  You are young – that can be your advantage. And so on. But this year? It has taken me a few weeks to put this message together. We are living in the strangest times.  At my current age, I could never have imagined living through a worldwide pandemic that killed 1 million Americans. Or watch as Russia pounds a...

  • Woes followed Big Nose George

    Bill Sniffin|Mar 31, 2022

    Okay, so who was Big Nose George? This legendary character from Wyoming’s formative past has been written about extensively for the past 141 years, but never has anyone really put the whole story all together until now. Dr. Mark E. Miller’s new book “Big Nose George, His Troublesome Trail” is the best telling I have seen of this famous character’s real story. I featured a version of this story, along with some crazy photographic images, in my third coffee table book, “Wyoming at 125,” back in 2015. We included the tidbit that...

  • Alternate I-80 could save $1 million a day if road stays open

    Bill Sniffin|Feb 23, 2022

    Did you know that when Interstate 80 is closed for weather, that US 30 next door is automatically closed, too? This is to prevent the 8,000 semi-trailer trucks a day from storming that more narrow, more local highway as an alternate route. The resulting crush of giant rigs would be a disaster. Those frequent closures create a national financial disaster when goods are no longer moving to their destinations.   Del McOmie Jr. pointed out this fact out when he was asked about the creation of an alternate Interstate 80 highway that would follow... Full story

  • What kind of political stew will occur in Wyoming in 2022?

    Bill Sniffin|Feb 9, 2022

    This year 2022 was, once upon a time, shaping up to be one of the most interesting political years in memory. The last big election year like this, back in 2018, was a doozy, with three governor candidates spending over $2 million each, plus we saw over 10,000 Democrat and Independent voters cross over on election day. Wow, what a series of events. It is beginning to look like the performance this year may fail to live up to the potential for drama we had earlier anticipated. For example, here are three races I was foreseeing this year: First,... Full story

  • Driving across Wyoming on Christmas Day

    Bill Sniffin|Dec 29, 2021

    It started out as a bona fide stupid and crazy idea. We drove from Lander to Cheyenne on Christmas Day. It is a 348-mile trip. But the young man working the Christmas Day shift at the Fast Lane at the corner in Shoshoni made my day by saying “God Bless You and Merry Christmas,” as we bought some coffees. Then there was the young gal named Marissa who helped me air up my tires at a convenience store in Wheatland.  I could not think of a worse thing to happen on this day than to have a flat tire along that vast empty stretch on Interstate 25...

  • Wyoming themed Christmas gifts

    Bill Sniffin|Dec 1, 2021

    The experts said shop early this year for Christmas, so in that spirit we offer our annual list of Wyoming-themed gifts.  But we do not have to worry about supply chains or products being stranded off some California port – these gifts are available here in our own back yard.  Plus buying local helps the Wyoming economy in the best way possible.  I love doing this because it also gives a boost to our Wyoming artists, craftsmen, and retailers. We are really recycling our own money in the best way possible.  Pete Illoway of Cheyenne...

  • Don't let crowds stop you from visiting Yellowstone

    Bill Sniffin|Sep 22, 2021

    (Part 1 of 2 parts) In Yellowstone, the voice of authority is a young gal with a bullhorn telling people to move along. We ran into them on three occasions during our 11-hour drive through the park Friday, Sept. 17. The first two times, the gals had gotten the traffic moving by the time we got to the offending place. The third time, we stopped and rolled down our window, and asked: “What’s going on?” “There’s nothing here. Get out of here!” said the seemingly pleasant looking but serious traffic mover. Okay, okay. And away we went....

  • Liz Cheney is putting Wyoming in national media spotlight

    Bill Sniffin|Aug 25, 2021

    It’s hard to imagine that any Wyoming politician has ever been in the national media spotlight as much as our current U. S. Rep. Liz Cheney – except for when her father was vice president, of course. Folks from national media have been driving all over Wyoming this past week preparing big stories on Liz and her challengers in the August 2022 Republican primary for the Cowboy State’s lone seat in the U.S. House. Both 60 Minutes from the CBS network and Gannett’s USA Today were doing major pieces on the outspoken Liz. The main reason for...

  • The end of 'Afghanistanism' in our lifetime – is it about time or what?

    Bill Sniffin|Aug 18, 2021

    Yes, it is time to get out of our 20-year never-ending war in Afghanistan. But first, let me tell a bit about editorial writing, including how the name of this far-off country relates to it. Three decades ago, when I was a hell-on-wheels editorial writer for a local newspaper, it always seemed important to me to write forceful editorials about local issues. I was rewarded for those efforts by measured changes in my communities, the wrath of various portions of the population, and awards from journalism organizations. But I stayed away, at all...

  • 20 U.S. Senators attended  Enzi funeral – unprecedented

    Bill Sniffin|Aug 11, 2021

    Friday’s funeral service for former U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi left no doubt about the amazingly high regard in which he was held in by his fellow U. S. senators. He was loved and respected by his Senate colleagues as he was loved and respected by the people he represented here in the Cowboy State. Some 20 U.S. senators traveled to the isolated county seat of Campbell Country in northeast Wyoming to celebrate the life of their friend.   Enzi died July 26 from complications of a bicycle accident. He had retired in January after representing Wyoming...

  • Travel near national parks  features crowds and construction

    Bill Sniffin|Jul 14, 2021

    Confused Asians, crazy drunk van drivers, monstrous RVs, nervous semi drivers, and thousands (perhaps millions) of tourists were among the highlights of a recent trip to Jackson and Pinedale. We were headed north on Highway 287 to Jackson to attend the open house for the new home of the Hughes Charitable Foundation.   But a lot happened before we got there. For starters, we groaned as a flagman stopped us just as a huge line of cars ahead of us headed off in the distance behind a pilot car. This was barely 8 miles from home. Was this a...

  • Liz Cheney for President? Destiny calls.

    Bill Sniffin|Jul 7, 2021

    Right now, there is a clear path ahead for Liz Cheney, and it does not involve the state of Wyoming. She will deny this. And she may not even believe it now.  And for the rest of this year, she will continue to represent us to the best of her ability in the U.S. House of Representatives. But I could see her traveling a different path, based on a number of steps that could very well happen. Three events have set the stage for this scenario. The first was when she voted to impeach President Donald Trump after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the...

  • Uden murder mystery solved – some day we will learn about Amy Bechtel

    Bill Sniffin|Jun 30, 2021

    (Note: The Oxygen Cable TV network on Monday night aired a new documentary on the 1980 murders of Virginia Uden and her sons. It will be aired repeatedly on into the future.) Back in 2013, I wrote: “After 33 years of one cold case and 16 years for the other, it has always been easy to believe that some unsolved disappearances will just never be explained.” In Lander, for decades we pondered about two gals who vanished. Virginia Uden and Amy Bechtel both disappeared and I wrote the news stories about them while I was the Lander newspaper...

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