By Jean Mathisen Haugen, Lander Historian
(Lander, Wyo.) – Wyoming’s license plates are among the most distinctive license plates in the United States. The plate with the bucking horse logo was selected by Wyoming’s then Secretary of State, Lester Hunt (later Wyoming Governor and United States Senator, a Lander dentist and semi-professional baseball player here around 1910) to appear on the license plate. And it was shortly after that the continuing controversy as to who the rider and the horse were in the design. For Lander, the claim has long been that the rider is their own hometown boy, Albert Jerome “Stub” Farlow. There is also a continuing argument as to whether the horse was a famous bronc called Steamboat or perhaps another horse.
Lander’s claim came out in the December 25, 1935 issue of the “Wyoming State Journal” with a story headlined “Lander Cowboy Is Rider On Plates . . . “the bronc rider on your new 1936 license plate represents A.J. “Stub” Farlow of Lander . . . Secretary of State L.C. Hunt said. Others quoted Hunt as remarking that it wasn’t necessarily Stub on the plate, but that he had him in mind when he had Colorado artist, Allen True, make the sketch, because “Stub was the most typical cowboy he ever knew.”
Stub was a son and grandson of Lander pioneers. His mother, Elizabeth (Lamoreaux) Farlow was born in 1864 at Fort Laramie, daughter of Jules Lamoreaux and his Sioux wife, “Woman Dress”, sister of the Lakota war chief Gall who later helped lead against Custer in the fight on the Little Big Horn in 1876. Ed Farlow came to Wyoming from Iowa in 1878 and ended up around Lander, working for Jules Lamoreaux.. He and Lizzie were married in 1883 and eldest son Jules was born in 1884. Second son, Albert, was born February 2, 1886 in the Lander Valley. Ed Farlow is credited with helping start the rodeo at Lander in 1894. He worked for many years at promoting the rodeo and his sons took part. Stub became a champion bronc rider and won the 1912 Idaho Falls Stampede. He worked with his father and brother in helping get the local Native Americans to participate in celebrations at Casper and in helping with getting them to participate in movies filmed near Ft. Washakie.
Stub served as undersheriff for the county in the early 1950’s. He married Netta Weckin on July 7, 1921 at the Episcopal mission at Ethete. They would have two children, Albert Jr. and Betty Farlow Coney. Stub was well liked and respected as an undersheriff, but died unexpectedly on July 24, 1953 at the age of 67. A granite boulder on his grave at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Lander, has the bucking horse symbol carved on it and the note that he is the rider on Wyoming’s bucking horse.
All those who might have known Stub have long since passed away. Opal (Sprout) McInroy, while writing a paper for school a while before Stub died, wrote to him and asked if he was the rider on the bucking horse. He wrote a pleasant letter to the young lady and replied that yes, indeed, he was. Perhaps in the long run, what really matters that a cowboy rides forever on a bucking bronc, symbolizing the spirit of Wyoming.