Last night, we stayed at a place I’ve always enjoyed visiting. The first time I came here was in 1997. We were on our way to Alaska with Howard and Mary Jane. They had been here before and thought we’d enjoy it. They were so right.
It is the Terry Bison Ranch in Cheyenne, Wyoming. It’s a place where you can get up close and personal with Bison, camels, and llamas. Ron Thiel originally bought the ranch, and it is now owned by his son, Don.
During the building process which started in 1992 and ran until the ranch’s official opening, they served chuck wagon dinners on Friday and Saturday nights, and the staff was made up of volunteers with the exception of the cook, but only during summer months. In May of 1994, the ranch opened full time.
|Old chuck wagon|
|Corrals for the animals. There is a |
catwalk that goes by some of the animal enclosures
so you can get close to them.
|I'll tell you the truth. Roy Rogers doesn't|
have a thing on my cowboy.
The ranch is one of the largest Bison ranches in North America. They have 2,500 bison roaming on 27,500 acres. Only 40 bison are where guests can see them. On the Terry Rail Express guests can travel to the middle of the show herd. The track is made from Union Pacific railroad ties and is 2.4 miles long. Ron Thiel built the train using different scraps and pieces from old army trucks and other machinery.
There is so much to tell about this place, that I’m having a hard time keeping this blog short enough not to bore anyone, but here a few things I want you to know:
Buffalo and bison are not the same thing. They look alike, but the main difference is where they are located. Bison roam the land in North and South America. Buffalo are located in Africa and South Asia. Who knew?!?!?
The second thing is that bison meat is some of the best tasting meat I’ve ever eaten. And, as much as I hate to admit it, other than rattlesnake, I’ve eaten almost every meat available. Yes, even a bug. Granted it was 1967, and I was on a motorcycle and had my mouth open. But I digress.
Back at the bison—did you know that one pound of ground beef (90% lean, 10% fat) has 798 calories and 90.7g of protein? Ground bison has 494 calories and 96.7 protein. There are 45.4g of fat in one pound of ground beef and only 9.5g in one pound of ground bison.
Something I have noticed on the many times I’ve eaten bison meat is that it doesn’t double in size the more you chew like beef does. It almost feels like it is dissolving in your mouth.
History of the ranch prior to Ron Thiel buying it.
F. E. Warren was the first Territorial Governor of Wyoming. He purchased the ranch from Charles Terry in 1885. The ranch was the southern headquarters of the Warren Livestock Company. They ran sheep and cattle and also bred and raised Sheepdogs, which were nationally acclaimed.
The story goes that F. E. Warren came to Wyoming when he was 23 (1868). It is said he had 50 cents and no job. He took several jobs like picking up nails for A.R. Converse. Later, when he ran for Senate, he was jokingly referred to as the “Great American Nail Picker.”
Later, he and Converse became partners in the mercantile business. Warren Mercantile Company became the largest supplier of furniture, hardware and carpet in Wyoming. Warren Livestock owed 3,000 cattle and 60,000 sheep by 1888. By 1890, Warren was the richest person in Wyoming.
He was elected as Governor in October 1890, but resigned in November to serve as one of the first Senators from Wyoming, where he served for 35 years. President Teddy Roosevelt stayed at the Terry Ranch as a guest of the Warren’s in 1903 and 1910.
Another famous visitor to the Terry Ranch was General John “Blackjack” Pershing. When Warren first met Pershing, he was a lowly captain. Pershing fell in love with Warren’s daughter, but he was determined that his daughter should marry nothing less than a General. Pershing made Brigadier General almost immediately.
Pershing and Warren’s daughter married and had four children. Mrs. Pershing and three of their children died in a fire at the Presidio military base in San Francisco. Their only surviving son worked at Terry Ranch on his summer vacations from Harvard.
Well, enough for the history lesson. I have some fun stuff to tell you, but I’ll save it for tomorrow night. This ranch has been in my heart for many years. It only stands to reason that it is an inspiration for my next book, Dixie Cowboy being released by Bell Bridge Book in October.
Until next time,