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Wyoming’s a land so big and open and underpopulated it’s easy to forget that people are important at all. Where there’s not endless grassland, there are mountains that cut up in abrasive, vertiginous peaks. Clouds move fast and change all the time. The livestock are big and hearty. And where people do enter into the scene, they do it as if a statement needs to be made. The rodeos are loud, fast, irreverent, sobering. Jackson, a blue dot in a red state, stands out like a bold, liberal button pinned to the paisley pattern of a cowboy shirt.

Despite the thinness of its human thread — connected in long ribbons of highway — the thing holds together. This state of a half-million people, the least populous in the Union, stays rooted through the dirt and rock, oil and coal, livestock and hay, mountains and rivers and communities. There’s interconnectivity — everyone knows someone that knows you — and there’s isolation — the vastness of a state classified as more than 91 percent rural. There’s also an expectation that there’s something more native to this place, something viscerally connected, something that will draw you into a proper awareness of what it is to be a human being.

You hear this from the locals — that this place, this expanse of land lightly dusted with people, is a place where you find yourself. After time spent in the middle of this squat, rectangular state riddled with enough topographical diversity to belie its four straight borders, you should know something more about what it means to be a man among big landscapes, animals, peoples. And so, we set out to see what we’d find in the rodeos, ranches, roadside diners, backcountry campsites, bars and breweries, rivers and mountains, and ourselves. We set out to find how the west can help define a man — the rugged landscape carving a relief of who you are, intrinsically, deeply. Man as self-sustaining being. Man as member of tribe. Man in relation to the animals he’s mastered — and those he cannot. Man as he fits within the wildness that is the west. – Matthew Ankeny


Contents

Adventure

Road-Trip Playlist: The West

Steer-Roping Practice

Strip Mining in Gillette

Mountain Biking in Jackson

A Quiet Alternative to Jackson Hole

Cloud Coverage in the Tetons

Fly Fishing in the Green River

Wildfire Firefighters in the West

Rodeo

The World’s Largest Outdoor Rodeo

Authentic Cowboy Style

Legendary Rodeo Bulls

The Strongest Ropes and Saddles in the West

How to Wrestle a Steer Like a Pro

The Small Town Rodeo

Food and Drink

The Best Breakfast in Wyoming

The Watering Holes of Wyoming

Best Beers of Wyoming

Black Tooth Brewery

Jackson is Wyoming’s Craft Beer Mecca

Wyoming’s Whiskey Company

Gear Testing

Can the Leica Q Handle the West?

Keeping Time with Filson’s Field Watch

Add a Shacket, Get Endless Warmth

Backcountry Camping Gear

Western Fly Fishing Gear

Testing Osprey’s Anti-Gravity Pack

Shooting the West with the Canon 5Ds R

Lonely Highways and the Chevy Silverado

People and Places

New West KnifeWorks

A Texas Longhorn Charges

The Rodeo Bullfighter

The People of Wyoming

72 Hours in Cheyenne

72 Hours in Sheridan

72 Hours in Jackson

Frames from the Field


A Small Preview of What’s to Come


Tales of the West


Adventures in The Cowboy State



The Real Toll of the West’s Battle with Fire
Read the Feature



Wyoming Whiskey’s Battle to Become Relevant in Bourbon
Read the Report



Life in the Least Populated State
Read the Report



Finally, a Camera Bag that Doesn’t Suck
Read the Review



The Silverado Is the Best Small Truck in the West
Read the Review



The Best Campsite in the Tetons
Read the Postcard



Stalking Big Trout on Wyoming’s Green River
Read the Essay



The Best Gear for Fly Fishing in the Cowboy State
Read the Guide



The Best Canon Camera Ever
Read the Review



Inside Jackson’s Brewing Scene
Read the Profile



Our Favorite Trail Backpack
Read the Endorsement



In Teton Valley, a Quieter Alternative to Jackson Hole
Read the Guide



72 Hours in Jackson, Wyoming
Read the Guide



Mountain Biking in Jackson Is Not for the Faint of Heart
Read the Story



Black Tooth Wants to Be the Face of Wyoming Beer
Read the Profile



3 Backcountry Camping Kits, Tested in the Tetons
Read the Guide



The 10 Best Mountain Bike Rides in Wyoming
Read the Story



Risk and Reward at the Small Town Rodeo
Read the Story



How To Wrestle a Steer Like a Pro
Learn the Moves



An Endorsement for the Shacket
Read the Endorsement



Chef Knives Made With Tactical Precision in Jackson, WY
Read the Story



72 Hours in Sheridan, WY
Read the Guide



At King’s Saddlery and Ropes, Ranch Tools Become Art
Read the Story



Filson’s Mackinaw Field Watch Is a Rugged Bruiser
Read the Review



Before Coal’s Fall, One Day at a Wyoming Mine
See the Photo Essay



The Best Beers from Wyoming’s Top Brewers
See the Beers



The Watering Holes of Wyoming
Drink Up



Team Roping Practice in the Hills of Wyoming
See the Photo Essay



Postcard: The Best Breakfast in Wyoming
Read the Postcard



In Rodeo, the Bulls are as Legendary as the Riders
Read the Story



A Road-Trip Playlist for Traversing the West
Hear the Playlist



Cowboy Style, From Ranch to Rodeo
Read the Guide



The Leica Q Is Burdened with Big Expectations
Read the Review



24 Hours at the World’s Biggest Outdoor Rodeo
Read the Story



72 Hours in Cheyenne
Read the Guide



Postcard: The Bullfighter
Read the Postcard



Postcard: Tips Gets Testy
Read the Postcard



The Roaming Cadre
Producer: Matthew Ankeny
Writers: Chris Wright, Matthew Ankeny, Tucker Bowe, Bryan Campbell, Henry Phillips, AJ Powell, J. Travis Smith
Photography: Henry Phillips
Designer: Henry Phillips