Big Piney rancher Dan Budd studies papers at a water forum in Pinedale sponsored by the late Tom Stroock in 2008. A former Wyoming representative and an expert on water law and the Colorado River Compact, Budd died Sept. 9, 2015. An obituary can be found here: (Angus M. Thuermer Jr./WyoFile)

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  1. Former State Sen. John Vinich was an admirer of Dan Budd. I heard him once talk about the size of the callouses on Budd’s big hands.

    And during the debate over raising the drinking age from 18 to 21, Budd said he ought to be able to offer a beer to a hand at the end of a long day baling hay.

    He could abuse the legislative process, however. I think former AP reporter Jim Angell can tell a tale of Budd taking a bill jacket back to his hotel room. He opposed the legislation. (It may have been the bill increasing the drinking age.) Since a bill can be discussed only when its physically in the House or Senate chambers, this move closed down the debate, at least temporarily.

    Dan Neal

  2. Late one afternoon, after interviewing Dan Budd at length for a story about how undulant fever had affected his family, I said goodbye and walked across the yard to my car. Something moving at the edge of the pasture nearest the house caught my eye and I saw it was a good sized wolf, moving through. And I thought, well, I wonder if I should mention that to Dan, but then thought, “No, if their paths cross it needn’t be on my account.”

    Just then, Dan hailed me and came out to tell me a forgotten something for my story, and I nodded toward the wolf and said, “I wasn’t going to mention that guy, but you’ve got a visitor.”

    “Well,” said Dan, “He’s not bothering me and I guess I won’t bother him until he does.”

    With that I left with a slightly more complex understanding of a man who took on a lot of thorny issues, and walked away from those that were better left unchallenged. Thanks, Dan, for always taking the time to talk.

    Nadia White

  3. I recall Tom Strook, when he was President of the School Board in
    Casper. HIs wife was from Cuba, and he was the mentor on advancing some to go to Yale, where he was a big buddy of George Bush(41). His buddy, Dick Cheney, was one who went to YALE, but could not hack New Haven. Later Strook got an Ambassadorship to a Central American Country.
    In any event, now that the Pope is coming to the U S after visiting Cuba this week, (Sept 21, 2015), and
    water is a raging issue in the lower basin, Colorado River, in a historic drought, big change is going on in the world. Certainly, water and ranches are major concerns in Wyoming, and his papers will find their way to the right archives at U of WYO, for full study by future generations.

    Jim Hagood

  4. Sad news indeed about the passing of Dan Budd. A true Wyoming original! The man was a walking history of water issues that was second to none. A fine public servant, devoted family man and always ready with a sly wit or kind word. My heart goes out to the Budd family. It was an honor to have known him.

    Mike Gierau