Local rancher publishes book of Wyoming stories


WHEATLAND – The Platte County Historical Society will host a program and book signing by Ray Hunkins on Tuesday, Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. The event will be held at the Platte County Library and is free and open to the public.  Refreshments will be served. The proceeds from the book will benefit the Louisa Swain Foundation.   
Hunkins a long-time rancher in Platte County, will share his reflections on the history, culture, people and politics of Wyoming, and be available for signing his book “The View from Thunderhead.”  The Thunderhead is about twenty-seven miles west of Wheatland in the Laramie Mountains.   
“The idea for the book came to me while walking along Ashley Creek up at the ranch. Thinking about retiring from practicing law, what would I do with my time,” Hunkins explained. “Then I thought – maybe I’ll write a book. You’re old enough, you may die before you finish, so I’ll take what I’ve written and put it together. Then it won’t take so long.”

After talking with the Foundation, he made a plan to include his previous writings that have been published over the years and add some new material as well. The Foundation printed 750 copies of the book as a one-time offering.
The Louisa Swain Foundation is based in Laramie and they promote the history and education of Wyoming’s history, especially concerning the women firsts of Wyoming. Wyoming women were the first to vote, hold office and serve on a jury in the U.S.
Included in the book is an essay he wrote about Wheatland’s Henry Poling that was published in Range magazine, “True Grit in a wheelchair.” It talks about Poling’s struggles and triumphs as a paraplegic rancher. Poling plans to attend the event.
“For forty years we have owned and operated the ranch.  I’ve been inspired by the landscapes and vistas, as well as the turbulence and tranquility that are part of living and working in Laramie Peak Country of southeastern Wyoming,” said Hunkins “The topics for my writings came from beautiful walks along Ashley Creek. Such a walk lends itself to reflective thought, whether about cattle and horses, weather and climate, trials and appeals, or politics and philosophy.”   
The book has been positively reviewed by several influential people of Wyoming including professors from the University of Wyoming and our current Representative Lynne Cheney. Former Wyoming governor Mike Sullivan had this to say, “Like Wyoming, its people, weather, politics, history and landscapes, Ray Hunkins is an enigma. A cowboy, businessman, a lawyer passionate in the pursuit of truth, justice and a sensitive, introspective Marine who embraces the tranquility of walking Ashley Creek and cherishes the land. In his book he has thoughtfully reflected on what is meaningful to him, and to so many who live in the west.”
Hunkins is an award-winning author, a Marine and retired attorney and rancher who was the Republican nominee for Governor of Wyoming in 2006. He is an emeritus fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the International Society of Barristers. Ray has been active in state and community affairs during his 50-year professional career and is a former Chairman of the Board of the Louisa Swain Foundation. After living and working in Wheatland and rural Platte County for 44 years, he and his wife Debby moved to Cheyenne to be closer to their oldest daughter and her family. You can learn more at www.theviewfromthunderhead.com.        
The Platte County Historical Society is a chapter of the Wyoming State Historical Society.  Membership includes receiving Annals of Wyoming three times a year, Wyoming History News, notices of special events such as treks to historic sites, award opportunities, and more.  Meetings designed to highlight local and state history are held the last Tuesday of every month and are open to the public.  Officers include Patsy Parkin, President; Rick Robbins, Vice President; Mary Jo Birt, Secretary and Diana McDonald, Treasurer.  For more details contact Patsy at (307) 322-9365.