In a scene repeated regularly across the Equality State, a cowboy rides herd during a seasonal drive, cutting a stoic figure in the morning cold. This cowboy is a Wyoming icon. Can you guess his identity? (Angus M. Thuermer Jr.)

We dug this photograph up from the archives and pose a challenge to our readers and viewers. Can you name that cowboy?

We’ve intentionally withheld credit on this frosty-morning photograph to make our impromptu contest a little more interesting.

Here are some clues: You all ought to know the identity of this person. His Wyoming roots are deep and his legacy enduring. He’s played a role in history.

For extra points, tell us where this photograph was taken or give us some other information. It’s possible some of you even know the name of his mount.

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Enter your guesses in the comments section. Be sure to include your first and last name and your town of residence.

Check back every now and then to read the comments and see whether your hunches are on target. In due time, we’ll try to sum it all up and declare a “winner.”

Until then, enjoy the scene and recall the great state we live in, one that brings us enchanting images of a special place.

UPDATE — May 9. And the cowboy is…

…Cliff Hansen, riding in Grand Teton National Park near Triangle X Ranch.

Several people guessed Hansen correctly, but Kathy Harrington of Wilson also nailed the location and wins a free subscription to our free weekly newsletter.

Hansen was governor of Wyoming then a U.S. senator representing the Equality State. He held other offices as well. Hansen is known for, among other things, helping to secure  a significant increase in the state’s share of federal mineral royalties. The Wyoming congressional delegation included Hansen and Congressman Teno Roncalio, and Sen. Gail McGee, both Democrats. Together, they won passage of an amendment to the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 that gave states, including Wyoming, half the royalties on coal, oil, and gas produced from federal mineral leases.

Hansen also is known for his role in protesting the creation of the Jackson Hole Monument in 1943. President Franklin Roosevelt used his authority under the Antiquities Act to create the reserve adjacent to Grand Teton National Park, angering many Teton County and Wyoming residents.

The protest involved Hansen and others defiantly herding cattle into the newly created monument while armed. The monument was later incorporated as an expansion of Grand Teton National Park, but congress prohibited any president from using the Antiquities Act again in Wyoming.

Hansen’s daughter, Mary Mead, ran unsuccessfully for governor. His grandson, Matt Mead, is now in his second gubernatorial term. Mead played a key role in preserving a section of Wyoming school trust land inside Grand Teton that could have been sold and developed.

The argument over designating national monuments via the Antiquities Act is again in the headlines, as are armed protests in support of grazing on federal lands. Hansen, who died in 2009 at the age of 97, said years after the monument feud that he was wrong on the issue and glad he lost that fight. The photograph of Hansen above was taken in Grand Teton National Park during his later years.

Others who guessed that cowboy correctly were Ed Bales of Cheyenne; John Shields of Boulder City, Nevada; Mark Anselmi of Rock Springs; and Anita Hill of Casper. Ruth Ankeny of Jackson Hole got it correct on a Facebook post.

There were several guesses for Dick Cheney and nominations for Jackson Hole rancher Earl Hardeman; Wyoming geologist Dave Love; Teton County rancher Skip Wright Clark; George Brugmen (perhaps seen riding north of Cheyenne); and for C.J. Box’s fictional game warden Joe Pickett.

Angus M. Thuermer Jr. is the natural resources reporter for WyoFile. He is a veteran Wyoming reporter and editor with more than 35 years experience in Wyoming. Contact him at or (307)...

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  1. Cliff Hansen, the dead give away are the words “His Wyoming roots are deep and his legacy enduring. He’s played a role in history”. Especially Wyoming history.