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W
yoming’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

Frames from the Field

A Small Preview of What’s to Come

Tales of the West

Adventures in The Cowboy State

Firefighting-Gear-Patrol-Slide-6

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

Wyoming-Whiskey-Gear-Patrol-Lead

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

Faces-Of-WY-Gear-Patrol-Lead

Life in the Least Populated State
Read the Report

Ona-Brixton-Gear-Patrol-Lead

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

Chevy-Silverado-Gear-Patrol-LEAD

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

Tetons-Postcard-Gear-Patrol-Lead-Full

The Best Campsite in the Tetons
Read the Postcard

Wyoming-Fishing-Feature-Gear-Patrol-Lead

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

Wyoming-Fishing-Gear-Gear-Patrol-Lead-

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

Canon-5DSR-Gear-Patrol-Lead

The Best Canon Camera Ever
Read the Review

Snake-River-Brewing-Gear-Patrol-Lead

Inside Jackson’s Brewing Scene
Read the Profile

Osprey-Atmos-AG-Gear-Patrol-Lead

Our Favorite Trail Backpack
Read the Endorsement

Tetons-Gear-Patrol-Lead

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

72-Hours-Jackson-Hole-Gear-Patrol-Lead

72 Hours in Jackson, Wyoming
Read the Guide

MTB-in-Jackson-Gear-Patrol-Slide-4

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

Black-Tooth-Brewing-Gear-Patrol-Lead

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

Perfect-Camping-Kits-Gear-Patrol-Lead

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

Best-Mountain-Bike-Trails-Wyoming-Gear-Patrol-Lead

The 10 Best Mountain Bike Rides in Wyoming
Read the Story

Cody-Night-Rodeo-Gear-Patrol-Slide-5

Risk and Reward at the Small Town Rodeo
Read the Story

How-To-Wrestle-A-Steer-Gear-Patrol-Lead

How To Wrestle a Steer Like a Pro
Learn the Moves

shacket-gear-patrol-650

An Endorsement for the Shacket
Read the Endorsement

New-West-Knifeworks-Gear-Patrol-Lead-970

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

72-Hours-in-Sheridan-Gear-Patrol-Lead

72 Hours in Sheridan, WY
Read the Guide

Kings-Saddlery-Gear-Patrol-LEAD

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

Filson-Watch-Gear-Patrol-Lead

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

Coal-Mine-Slider-Gear-Patrol-Slide-11

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

Wyoming-Beers-Gear-Patrol-Lead

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

Wyoming-Watering-Holes-Gear-Patrol-Lead

The Watering Holes of Wyoming
Drink Up

WY-Ranching-Gear-Patrol-Slide-7

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

Luxury-Diner-Postcard-Gear-Patrol-Lead

Postcard: The Best Breakfast in Wyoming
Read the Postcard

Legendary-Bulls-Gear-Patrol-Lead

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

Wyoming-Playlist-Gear-Patrol-Lead

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

Cowboy-Style-Gear-Patrol-Lead

Cowboy Style, From Ranch to Rodeo
Read the Guide

Leica-Q-Head-Gear-Patrol-LEAD

The Leica Q Is Burdened with Big Expectations
Read the Review

CFD-Gear-Patrol-970

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

72-Hours-in-Cheyenne-Gear-Patrol-Lead

72 Hours in Cheyenne
Read the Guide

The-Bullfighter-Postcard-Gear-Patrol-Lead

Postcard: The Bullfighter
Read the Postcard

Tips-The-Bull-Gear-Patrol-Lead

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