Why Wyoming?

As most of you know, our home near Evansville, Indiana is up for sale and we plan to move our family to Wyoming.  Many people unfamiliar with Wyoming ask "why" (usually by those who have never been there) and so rather than replying in an ad-hoc fashion, I thought it would be easier to answer "why" here in a comprehensive response.  Some of these reasons are specific to the area of Wyoming we are most interested in, namely Sheridan, Wyoming.  Without further ado, here is the list:
  • Freedom.  According to most indices, Wyoming is among the freest states in the nation.  There are no firearm restrictions to speak of.  While they offer a handgun carry permit for purposes of reciprocity with other states, it's not required.  So long as you would qualify for the permit, you can carry without a permit in the state, open or
    concealed, just about anywhere.  Thanks to the 2010 change in federal law, that includes National Parks and Monuments, excluding 'federal facilities' and of course also BLM land, National Forests, and state land.  Wyoming has perhaps the nation's strongest stand your ground law, and a hearty gun owners group, and the highest rate of firearm ownership in the nation per-capita.  I recently saw a survey of homes with firearms, and without on a state by state basis- Wyoming was removed from the study due to insufficient data, i.e. they could not find any homes without firearms to survey.  Most government-imposed restrictions are relatively rare in Wyoming, thanks to a healthy streak of rugged individualism, independence and a general mistrust of government that is present in the citizenry.  Wyoming has no income tax, a reasonable sales tax, and is often cited as the best state to retire in.

  • Extremely low violent crime.  As a result of the freedoms listed above, and the high firearm ownership rate, violent crime is extremely low, at a rate of 237 per 100,000, as compared with the US average of 394, and Indiana coming in slightly higher than the average at 399.  Obviously, violent criminals are not welcome in Wyoming, and attempts at such crimes are often stopped in their tracks by the judicious use of firepower.

  • Better climate.  Comparing Sheridan, Wyoming with Evansville, Indiana in particular, Sheridan has far more sunny days than Evansville, more "comfortable" days and a
    drier and more comfortable climate overall.  You can spend more time outdoors, particularly during the long and awesome summer, without dripping sweat in the sauna that exists in Evansville during the summer.  While the the amount of snowfall in Sheridan, WY is not much different than Evansville, IN, Wyoming
    is much better equipped and prepared to handle snow.  Other areas of the state get more snow, particularly on the mountains (like Yellowstone), and thus create some great skiing destinations in the Big Horn and Teton mountains.  When the federal government did not have the funds or equipment to clear the snow in time for the opening of Yellowstone a couple of years ago, Wyoming said "don't worry, we got this!"

  • Better schools.  While this is true for most of the schools in the state, it is particularly true of the schools where we are looking to move.  They are rated some of the highest in the state and many have only a four day school week.  They shun the federal standards, including the federal school lunch standards, and thus they thrive with fresher, healthier food, higher academic performance, and a continued focus on activities that were long lost back east - including things such as horseback riding, canoeing, archery, shooting, metal working, wood working, ranching, and other practical hands-on skills, many of which are simply no longer taught in Indiana schools.

  • Friendlier people.  While most rural areas have friendlier people than in urban areas, Wyoming is especially known for it's friendly and helpful citizens.  Tourists whose vehicles break down in Wyoming are often stunned by the Wyomingites who come out of the woodwork to help them out- mechanically, and logistically, sometimes even offering them a place to stay while their vehicle is repaired.  I have befriended a number of people in Wyoming, and I have regular contact with many who I consider to be friends in Wyoming now, even including multiple state Senators and Representatives, all of whom are very welcoming and helpful.  In fact, while I was typing this, a Wyoming Senator reached out to me to discuss gun policy.  Wyoming is known as a "small town with long streets" and this is quite true in that the entire state is a small town with less than 600,000 residents - the largest cities of Cheyenne and Casper only approach 60,000 citizens.  There are more pronghorn antelope in the state than people.  Wyoming is one of the few places left where hard work is valued, your word is your bond, and multi-million dollar deals are conducted over a handshake.  I've heard it said that Wyoming is "the way America used to be."

  • Wildlife and Outdoors.  Wyoming is unparalleled when it comes to outdoor activities and breathtaking scenery.  While I have been to the majority of states in the country, I've never seen another state with such varying terrain- from grasslands, to meadows, to mountains, to deserts, to sand dunes, to cliffs, to reservoirs, to lakes, to rivers, to geysers, to forests.  Just about every form of environment that can be found in the US, can be found in Wyoming, and in a comfortable climate to boot.  Wyoming is inhabited by more animals than perhaps any other comparable state of its size, to include grizzly bears, black bears, moose, bison, horses, cattle, pronghorn antelope, jackrabbits, hawks, eagles, mountain lions, wolves, coyotes, deer, fish, and thousands of other species.  This means Wyoming is an awesome state for hunting, fishing, horseback riding, off-roading, prospecting, stargazing, hiking, trapping, photography, and much more.

  • Healthier.  
    Wyoming has some of the cleanest air, cleanest water, and lowest incidents of health maladies, including cancer, in the nation.  It is a far healthier place for our children to grow up.

  • Abundance of Natural Resources.  Wyoming is the leading producer of coal in the US,and the 8th producer of oil in the US.  Timber is abundant, particularly in the mountainous areas.  It is also extremely well suited for solar and wind energy, with considerably longer solar days than in Evansville, Indiana.  Properly managed and irrigated ground in Wyoming can grow just about anything, and green houses are popular for year-round production of fruits and vegetables.  Weeds and insects that feed on plants are less problematic in Wyoming than in most states.  
During every trip to Wyoming through the years, family members have contemplated moving there, but things like employment tended to get in the way.  While Heather and I were both born and raised in the Evansville, Indiana area for the reasons outlined above, and more, we believe that Wyoming will be a much better environment to raise our children in.  Today, with the prevalence of high speed Internet, and the fact that I work remotely, and quick delivery options from companies like Amazon, rural living becomes a more viable option than ever in the past.


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