Three Fremont County Ranchers inducted into the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame.

Three long-time Fremont County ranchers were inducted into the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame in a ceremony Wednesday afternoon in the hospitality tent at the Fremont County Fairgrounds, and later with an introduction and ride around the rodeo arena before the Ranch Rodeo.

Clyde Woolery, Bob Bessey, and the late Bill Hamilton were all honored with induction into this prestigious organization.

Clyde Woolery of Kinnear was named to the WYHOF {h/t Randy Tucker}

Clyde Woolery is a lifelong resident of Fremont County. Born in December 1947, he grew up on the family ranch a few miles from the old Morton School in the Kinnear Valley, but he had a duel residency when it came to the summertime. The Woolery’s had a cow camp on the Sweetwater River and in the late spring, they moved cattle the traditional way by driving them from Kinnear over the rim to the Sweetwater on multi-day treks.

Clyde loved those old-style cattle drives. He graduated from Morton High School where he lettered in football, basketball, and track for the Broncs. Later he received a scholarship from Central Wyoming College riding saddle broncs and roping for the newly formed Shaman Rodeo team.

He married Nancy Blazer in 1969 and took over the family ranch full-time in 1984 after his dad retired.

Clyde is respected across Fremont County and Wyoming as an honest, hard-working businessman who always has time to help others.

In 2017 he was named Fremont County Ag Man of the Year.

A young rancher from the Sweetwater summed up Clyde’s role in the community. “Clyde is iconic.

There is no one you can learn more about ranching from and he’s always willing to take a call and lend a hand”

Bob Bessey wasn’t born in the saddle, but he wasn’t far from it either. He was born on June 27, 1940, in Riverton, the son of Lyle And Blanche Bessey who came to Fremont County to homestead from Nebraska four years earlier.

Bob Bessey held the plague honoring him with entry into the WYCHOF along with his wife Rayola, daughters Barb Jacobs and Jeanne Carper and son Brad {h/t Randy Tucker}

As a youngster, Bob rode everything on the place, with sheep, cows, and horses all broke to ride. As a young teenager, he learned to shoe horses, the first time as payment to a local vet who had to cast one of his horses.

He took a job in 1961 at the CM Ranch in Dubois, it was there that he met Rayola Weber. They were married the following year, and have three children, Barbara, Brad, and Jeanne.

Bob spent his life working cattle and horses. In 1967 he bought a house on Buckhorn Flats and has lived there ever since.

Bob’s favorite part of being a cowboy is calving. He considered it a challenge to save every calf, and always had a high success rate.

He retired in 2016 after running the 112,000-acre Red Canyon Cattle Company near Atlantic City.

Bryan Hamilton, Kaylynn Palm, and Kim Hamilton accepted the plaque for the late Bill Hamilton presented by Bev Dalley and BJ Griffin. {h/t Randy Tucker}

Bill Hamilton was a fourth-generation rancher who grew up near Ft. Washakie. His family ran cattle and sheep, and Bill’s least favorite part of ranching was living in a sheep wagon. His favorite was always working with cattle and horses.

When he was 14 his dad gave him a heifer calf, and he proceeded to save back all his heifers until he had a nice little herd of his own. At home in the mountains, Bill enjoyed working cattle above Ft. Washakie and hired on to work on roundups near South Pass and Atlantic City.

Bill graduated from high school in 1950, attended college for a  couple of years, and was then drafted, it was the only time in his life he was away from Wyoming.

He married Duveene Dickinson in 1953, and she had a few head of Hereford cows of her own that they mixed together with Bill’s to make a larger herd. The couple bought their first ranch in Lyon’s Valley in 1962 and later purchased the neighboring Hopkins Ranch, keeping the Hopkins name out of respect for the family that helped them so much when they were just starting out.

The Hamilton’s started with Hereford cattle, but switched to Limousin and finally to Angus over the years. They also acquired two more nearby ranches while expanding their operation.

Bill was a well-respected man, who had time for everyone and was always willing to help neighbors and friends in any way he could. He passed away in April 2021, leaving a strong legacy behind him.

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