7 Wyoming Nicknames and the Stories Behind Them

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A river near trees and the foot of a mountain
Wyoming's impressive terrain and rich flora and fauna gained it many nicknames

Wyoming is nestled among six other states, and its most prominent geographical feature is the awe-inspiring Rocky Mountains, dominated by Gannett Peak at 13,809 feet, one of the highest in the range. Perhaps that is one of the reasons that a decal bearing the slogan Wonderland of America became a vintage item.

There are six other Wyoming nicknames, and the stories behind them make for an interesting read. Did you know why Wyoming was known as the Cowboy State? Or do you know what state slogans are on the area's flag and state seal? To learn the answers to these questions, keep reading for seven fascinating Wyoming monikers and their origins.

7 Nicknames for Wyoming

Wyoming Nicknames Video

Check out our highlights video of Wyoming nicknames.

A tall plateau near a forest of trees on a cloudy day
Due to the large land area of the state, it's also called Big Wyoming

Big Wyoming

Big Wyoming is a nickname the state's inhabitants affectionately call it. The "big" arose due to the disparity in its population and its square mile area.

With just over 500 million people, this state is the 10th largest in size of the 50 states. That works out to approximately 5.85 people per square mile. That is a lot of land for such a sparse population!

You can even see a distinctive welcome sign near Devil's Tower at the border of South Dakota and Wyoming bearing the words "Welcome to big wonderful Wyoming."

Park State

Although not a widely known moniker, many Wyoming citizens call their state the Park State. The reason is not hard to figure out. Wyoming is home to two of the most visited national parks in the United States.

Tourists flock in their millions to the area's Yellowstone National Park, a famous Wyoming landmark, which is also the world's first national park. Added to this is the beautiful Grand Teton National Park with its many lakes, glaciers, and granite-hewn pinnacles.

Wyoming boasts many more state parks spanning over 100,000 acres. Because the state consists of more than half federal public land, there are vast areas of park-like environments, such as the outdoor space around Green River. This fact means that locals and tourists can indulge in many outdoor activities. And that is why Wyoming is referred to as the Park State!

The Cowboy State is one of the iconic Wyoming nicknames
Cowboy culture has a long history in the Cowboy State of Wyoming

The Cowboy State

The Cowboy State is probably the most famous Wyoming nickname in use. Early settlers and immigrants from California, Utah, and Oregon, en route to 'greener pastures,' feared that their livestock was slowing their progress and that they would be caught in the fierce winters of the region. Therefore, the animals were left at the then-delineated Wyoming borders.

Instead of perishing in the harsh winter, the livestock fed on the indigenous grasslands and sagebrush, which allowed them to survive and propagate. Word spread about the abundance of farmable animals, and other settlers moved into the Wyoming area, claimed the cattle and sheep, and built ranches. And so, a cowboy's way of life was born.

The universally recognized bucking horse and rider logo can be found on many kinds of printable material in the state. It symbolizes just what Wyoming is: the Cowboy State. The use of the logo dates back to around 1918. In 1936, Wyoming was the first in the US to put the famous silhouette on its license plates; it's also the world's longest-running license plate motif.

The Sagebrush State

While not a motto or a Wyoming name that rolls off the tongue when asked for a Wyoming nickname, this state is famous for the proliferation of sagebrush in its open spaces. It has more than any other state in the United States.

This sagebrush ecosystem was the saving grace of the abandoned livestock mentioned in the section on the Cowboy State. The animals survived by eating this indigenous shrub, which thrives in cold, mountainous climates. It is possible that Wyoming may not be the Cowboy State if sagebrush had not been the fodder for the livestock.

An old building with many windows and a tall dome-shaped top in the middle
Wyoming was the first state to allow women to vote

The Suffrage State

This moniker is linked firmly to the fact that Wyoming can proudly proclaim it was the world's first sovereign state to legislate women's rights to vote and hold public office. This victory for the women's suffragette movement was made law in Wyoming in 1869.

What's remarkable is this crucial legislation was incorporated before Wyoming was declared part of the United States. The male legislature members were pioneers, as passing this controversial law could have jeopardized Wyoming's application for inclusion into the States. The Suffrage State earned its stripes.

The Equality State

This is an interesting Wyoming state nickname that vied for adoption, with the Cowboy State as the designated nickname. However, in 1935, the Wyoming legislature designated the Equality State its official nickname. But generally, Wyomingites call the area by the nickname that alludes to its vivid western history, Cowboy State.

The Equality State proudly relates to the previously mentioned Wyoming fact, which was that it was the first place in the United States to allow women to vote, in 1869. The nickname is emblazoned on its state flag and state seal, bearing the motto "Equal Rights." In 2007, Wyoming minted a quarter, displaying the bucking horse and cowboy and the nickname the Equality State.

Snow-capped mountains and their reflection on the nearby lake surrounded by a forest
The Wonderland of America is the most apt among Wyoming nicknames for its landscapes

The Wonderland of America

In the 1960s and 1970s, a company based in Texas issued a decal that could be applied on luggage or any smooth surface. This decal bore the bucking horse and rider logo and the words "Wyoming The Wonderland of America."

This decal is marketed as a vintage piece; a few are for sale on eBay. Although a little-known slogan, it's another nickname that can be added to Wyoming's collection.

In Summary

Nicknames are interesting, and it's not always obvious how the nickname was earned. The aim of this article was to explain why and how Wyoming came to have seven nicknames and mottos different from its given name. After reading, perhaps you've been inspired to find out more about the Cowboy State and even pay it a visit!

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Written by Audrey Wilson

AudreyMW FORMER WRITER Born and living in South Africa, Audrey has lived in four countries extensively and traveled to many others across the globe. Travel is in her blood, and she plans to see more of the world.

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