Continuing the Crook County News Since 1884

Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame inductees announced

Two Crook County natives are to be honored this year with an induction into the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame. Jeff Garman and Wallace Canfield have been named to the Class of 2023.

The Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame (WCHF) seeks out and celebrates the men and women who introduced this state to its ranching heritage, honoring the cowboys and ranchers who helped to break those first trails.

This year, 25 more nominations have been added to the prestigious list. Alongside Crook County’s two honorees, the Region 1 class includes Marion Scott of Gillette and Julius Frederick Bock of Osage.

The WCHF State Board of Directors voted on the nominees from across the state during its annual meeting, which took place on April 29. 

This year’s class will be inducted during Wyoming Cowboy & Cowgirl Legacy Week at the Ramkota Hotel in Casper on September 15 and 16.

Wallace Canfield

Wallace was nominated by his son, Gary, who said he “was born and died and lived his entire life on the ranch”. He was born in 1929 on the family ranch and went to county school, before being drafted into World War II.

Wallace was involved in breaking horses all his life and at one time had at least six teams. The ranch always housed at least 250 cows, 30 horses and, for a few years, 300 sheep.

Wallace loved helping neighbors and especially liked brandings, and would also cut most of the horses in the neighborhood and did almost all the farrier work.

“He could trim or shoe horses that most others couldn’t,” said Gary in his nomination.

Wallace took horses elk hunting in Jackson Hole for 50 years, using the opportunity to work with a couple of unbroken colts. He would also sometimes take horses fishing to the Bighorns.

“My dad was born a cowboy and died a cowboy,” said Gary. “He loved to hunt, fish and always tried to include horses in everything.”

Wallace also served on the school fair and coop boards, was a 4-H leader for 20 years and served as a beef barn superintendent at the Crook County Fair. He was a prankster whose pride and joy were his seven kids and 17 grandkids.

Wallace passed away on the ranch in 2009. According to Gary, he said there were a lot of ways to make more money with less work, but that wasn’t for him.

Jeff Garman

Jeff was nominated by his wife, Jackie, who called him “the epitome of a cowboy”. He grew up on and still operates the Miller Creek Ranch.

“He is known and respected for his honesty, courtesy and character; a man as good as his word,” wrote Jackie.

Jeff began riding at the age of three, with his first pony, Pepper. In the fall of 1975, he went to work cowboying for a local rancher; the next summer, he went back to working on the family ranch, haying and riding on yearlings.

From 1978, he got a “cowboy job” riding every day for Jesse Driskill, camping at Moskee, riding five days a week and fixing fence on the sixth. In the fall, they rode seven days a week to get the cows out.

Jeff traveled to Arizona in 1978 to learn how to shoe horses. That fall, he rodeoed with Phillip Habeck, team roping every Wednesday and Sunday night.

Jeff moved back to the Miller Creek Ranch in 1987. Much to his delight, he was able to create an opportunity for his children to grow up on the family ranch.

“Many a 4-H animal was fed, washed, clipped and shown,” said Jackie. “Jeff was also able to make time to go back to team roping with his partner, Phillip.”

Jeff has lived and ranched on the Miller Creek place since, raising cattle, horses and sheep.

Jeff is also a firefighter, who has served on the Fire Advisory Board, was zone warden for several years and was Crook County Fire Warden. He has also been involved with 4-H and the county fair, where he served as sheep superintendent and put on the sheep dog trial.

Most recently, he became a member of the Sunny Divide Community Hall Committee to be a part of preserving the western lifestyle.

“Jeff’s life and adventures exemplify the life of a real cowboy. You do what you can, where you are, with what you have,” wrote Jackie.

“There may not be an instruction book handy, nor time to reel in a crew...the real cowboy chaps up and makes it happen.”