The Sublette County Journal
Volume 4, Number 5 - 9/30/99
brought to you online by Pinedale Online
Devils Tower and bucking horse will be featured.
by Jennifer Binning
Several weeks ago, thirty Wyoming State penitentiary inmates began work on the production of the new Wyoming license plates which residents will begin to receive in 2001.
In addition to the long-standing bucking horse and rider logo, Lloyd Sanderson was inspired to add Devils tower to the plates when he saw an ad for South Dakota prominently featuring Devils Tower. He said, "I thought this would be a good opportunity to remind people that in reality, Devils Tower lies entirely within Wyoming."
Devils Tower is located about 10 miles south of Hulett, and is composed of a group of rock columns standing 1,280 feet above the surrounding countryside. In 1906 it became the first national monument in the world. Many recall the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind, in which the Tower was a prominent player.
The bucking horse and rider logo, of which we all are familiar, dates back to at least 1918, according to historical information provided by the Wyoming Secretary of State. The BH&R logo was the insignia worn by Wyoming National Guardsmen in France and Germany during World War I. Originally designed by First Sergeant George N. Ostrom of E Battery, the insignia was adopted by the US Army to identify gun trails, trucks and other equipment.
There are some historians, who believe the horse in the logo was modeled after the legendary rodeo horse "Steamboat," who was known in the early 1900s as "the horse that couldn't be ridden." The human model for the rider is unknown.
The now famous horse and rider made its debut on the Wyoming license plates in a design by Mr. Allen T. True of Littleton, Colorado, in 1936, the same year the state obtained a copyright for the symbol.
Originally expected to take many months to complete, the inmates at the state pen have made short work of their task to produce almost 1.4 million plates before they needed to be shipped to the 23 county offices around the state. Officials estimate another 600,000 plates may be made, bringing the total production numbers to 2 million. With new technology provided by 3M, the inmates who earn $.50 an hour, will have the bulk of the work completed within a few weeks.
The new plates will also have a new numbering system. The traditional county number followed by the BH&R logo will stay the same, but the remaining four spaces will contain a mix of numbers and letters, eliminating the need for the small, vertically stacked letters occasionally seen, that are very difficult to read from a distance.
The new plates are an illustration of a tan Devils Tower set against a blue Wyoming sky with a few fluffy white clouds floating by. The raised insignia and numbers are black. The plates will be issued in January 2001, and will remain in circulation until 2009.
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