On a whim in 1994, my husband and I took a short trip from our home on the East Coast to a dude ranch just outside of Sheridan, Wyoming. We left our four young children in good hands thinking we’d scout out the territory and perhaps bring them along the following year. Both of us were first-timers in the state and newcomers to the world of western horseback riding. The ranch was Eatons’ Ranch, the oldest dude ranch in the United States. Neither of us ever imagined that that first trip was the start of a 24-year love affair with Eatons’, with horses, the state of Wyoming, and particularly Sheridan County. It changed the course of our lives so much so that we now call Sheridan, Wyoming, home.
Our decision to pack up 25 years on the East Coast and trade it all in for Sheridan was a momentous one. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say at times during the process we had reservations. A huge move from east to west can take a toll both physically and emotionally. Many of our friends and family thought we were absolutely crazy. However, the excitement of trying something completely different and building a new home in Sheridan outweighed the doubt and we set forth with optimism and curiosity about our future. And what a wonderful decision it has turned out to be.
There’s no denying that the Bighorn Mountain range and its surrounding foothills are a feast for the eyes. The dramatic skyline, pastoral scenery and endless expanse of rolling countryside will cast a spell on anyone who loves the West. If you enjoy horseback riding, you won’t find better trails and wilderness riding opportunities anywhere. Spanning more than 1 million acres and hosting 1,200 miles of trails, this area offers you a lifetime of equestrian exploration. Both my husband and I are looking forward to countless more trail riding adventures in our future.
Apart from riding, Sheridan features countless other ways for you to immerse yourself in the fabric of this unique community. For those individuals who may seek absolute privacy and anonymity, you can remain so, escaping into the vast landscape and enjoying the tranquility that surrounds you at every turn. But if you’re more of a joiner, you can dive headfirst into a thriving community with ample avenues to keep yourself engaged. I am a watercolor artist and discovered Sheridan to have a fantastic artistic community featuring a vast depth of talent and expertise. The cultural art scene here is world-class and I make that observation after spending many years in the cultural mecca of NYC.
For my husband Bob, our move involved a very drastic life change. It meant saying goodbye to Wall Street, 30 years spent on a bond trading floor and three hours a day commuting back and forth. It meant he’d finally have the chance to purchase himself a large tractor and countless other “toys” to work on his new property. He could explore options to build a barn and someday to find just the right horse. He could sign up for a roping clinic at the NRS in Texas. Wyoming has set him free in so many ways. His fly-fishing rod stands at the ready by the back door. He can immerse himself completely in this great state and share the majesty of the Bighorns with our friends, children, and grandchildren for years to come.
Both of us intend to be lifetime ambassadors for Wyoming and in particular Sheridan County. If anyone reading this should hear a whisper in their heart to move to Wyoming… listen to it. Take it from two people who did and who truly believe they reside in one of the most magnificent places in our great country. Everything about the Bighorn Mountain Foothills of Wyoming says “welcome home.”
Tracy A. Boyle was born in NYC in 1961. She and her husband Bob have four grown children and two grandchildren. Tracy is an artist by trade and feels most at home with either a camera or a paintbrush in her hands. After 32 years living in Navesink, New Jersey, she and her husband Bob are now proud Wyoming residents. Find out more at TracyABoyle.com. To learn more about the dude-ranch lifestyle and delights of Sheridan County, Wyoming, visit EatonsRanch.com.