Cody – Mustangs near Cody made history again today Saturday. Wyoming’s first Wild Horse Highway was dedicated near where the iconic herd roams.
Most people don’t know a herd of wild horses lives on the sagebrush lands east of Cody. The McCullough Peaks area has been home to the free ranging animals for hundreds of years. Most of it is now BLM land.
Grant Bulltail of the Crow Nation said the Big Horn Basin felt like home. His great grandfather was born in Northwest Wyoming in 1847.
Bulltail told the crowd gathered for the dedication, “I come here quite a lot, and when I come here I feel like I am in a sacred place.”
He blessed the ceremony, and sang a Crow song.
The mustangs were hundreds of yards away, earshot for them. They were barely visible to the people who came to celebrate, including people who had given thousands of dollars to create a large interpretive sign next to the Wild Horse Highway.
Many were members of a non-profit group called FOAL, or Friends of a Legacy. They purchased land in the Big Horn Basin, to create a safe place for the McCullough Peaks Herd.
FOAL members dug wind and solar powered wells on the land. They helped a Billings based scientist and the BLM test a contraceptive which made history with successful results for the Cody area herd.
Wyoming Department of Transportation Director Luke Reiner said, “The Wild Horse is certainly a symbol of Wyoming…Free and Independent. Free and Proud. Free and pretty tough.”
Reiner pointed out all of Highway 20 was designated a Medal of Honor Highway just days earlier.
He said, “Highway 14/16/20 is part of that designation. I find it very fitting that on this stretch of road that we recognize a symbol of freedom: the wild horse, with those who actually provide our freedom.”
Wyoming’s legislature voted to name 14/16/20 the Wild Horse Highway last winter.