come for the adventure

Stay for the Community

Read stories of visitors who have been here and share their experiences. Four visitors tell you why they never want to leave!

our stories begin

Johnson County, Wyoming, is a place of legend and living history that calls people from all around the world to explore one of the few unspoiled places left in the American West. What began with sheepherders, cattle barons, renegades, and rustlers in Buffalo and Kaycee, Wyoming, have become welcoming western towns that deeply touch those who visit. Some so much so, they never leave.

Four such travelers who came to experience both the beauty of the Bighorn Mountain wilderness and the Western frontier share what brought them out west and why they love Johnson County, Wyoming, so much they now (or hope to soon) call this picture-perfect community home.

staying a while longer

Carol Shirey

Carol Shirey’s parents retired to Buffalo, Wyoming, over 10 years ago. She had made the trip from Los Angeles, California, and, most recently, Fort Worth, Texas, to visit for short periods over the years.

“I always felt like I fell into a comfortable rhythm within days of arriving, and my trip was over way too soon. When the pandemic freed me from the office’s constraints, and I realized I could work anywhere, Buffalo, Wyoming, was the one place that I wanted to be,” she said.

When asked what connects her to this part of the country, she had one perfect word: Simplicity.

“The slower pace. It’s a pause. Maybe it’s the sun sinking behind the Bighorns that stops me in my tracks. Or the friendly smiles from folks lingering outside the Occidental, but something changes my trajectory, slows me down in the best way possible. Opens the door to physical and mental health, creativity, connection, and fellowship,” said Shirey.

You’ll find Shirey hitting the local trails when she’s in town — an activity she can easily do since going hiking here is not a production requiring a two-hour car drive. Ten minutes after she shuts down her computer, she is blazing up a trail, letting all the day’s distractions slip away.

When she’s not exploring the natural side of Johnson County, she’ll be on Main Street in Buffalo, her favorite spot in town.

“When I drove into Buffalo, I purposely exited early so I could drive down Main Street. It was evening, the town was quiet, and I immediately felt the stress melt away,” she said.

road trip leads to buffalo

Gonzalo Garcia

Spaniard Gonzalo Garcia grew up in a small town about 40 miles from Madrid, surrounded by mountains. He became a computer science engineer living in Houston, Texas. It should come as no surprise that eventually the mountains would call to him again, this time in Wyoming.

“I traveled for the first time back in July, arriving in Buffalo by chance. I had left Houston Texas, where I live, to take a road trip. I think road trips are part of the American culture, and I wanted to experience it since I can work remotely,” said Garcia.

After crossing several states, he arrived, thinking he’d stay for a few days in Claudia Todd’s teepee. That stay turned into almost three months over two trips. A cattle drive in the Bighorn Mountains with Double Rafter (a unique experience that he highly recommends) was the beginning of his discovery journey.

“I wanted to stay in Buffalo because of the people, the mountains, the light, and the colors. I had magic moments horseback riding in the never-ending spaces. Very quickly the time as we understand it in big cities took a back seat, and like many others before me, I fell in love with the region and the county,” he said.

Garcia initially returned to Houston after one month, but he was captured by the people and the region. He stayed in Texas for a week before packing up his things to drive back to Wyoming and the magic of the wide-open spaces where he could take a long horse ride in the middle of nowhere with good friends, crossing the creeks and riding up and down the mountains. 

“If you want to discover great open spaces, spend time with yourself at a different pace, meet welcoming people from different cultures, and enjoy many activities in nature, my choice is Johnson County,” he said.

side trip leads to happily ever after

Claudia Todd

Claudia Todd made her first trek out west in June 1999 all the way from Germany. She was looking to experience a guest ranch and ride horses and found so much more. In less than a week, she knew she wanted to move to Buffalo, Wyoming.

“When I came back to the United States to go skiing in Colorado in 1999, I took a side trip to Buffalo and realized I HAD to move,” said Todd.

Even though her loved ones in Germany thought she was crazy to give up her life in Europe for something so different, she made the move, and today is the manager of Buffalo’s Civic Center.

“I made friends in the summer of 1999 and loved the way of life, the Western hospitality, and the Bighorns right in the backyard,” she said.

Today she spends her time horseback riding in the Bighorns and enjoying the nature that surrounds her. When her friends and family visit from Europe, she takes them to Crazy Woman Canyon and lets them drive a pickup. Target shooting is a must since Europeans are not allowed to carry guns. She also takes them downtown, where she knows almost everybody. 

“Buffalo is a small enough community to know and care about people. I feel at home here; there’s a strong sense of being included. It has a small-town atmosphere with western hospitality and good people,” she said.

“Buffalo is a small enough community to know and care about people. I feel at home here; there’s a strong sense of being included. It has a small-town atmosphere with western hospitality and good people,” she said.

working & playing in the great outdoors

Ralf Reisinger

Ralf Reisinger found himself in Johnson County, Wyoming, in August 2020, where he spent several months running his western apparel company and playing in the great outdoors. Originally from Bavaria, Germany, he came out west to visit family and could see himself calling Buffalo home.

“I haven’t moved yet, but I am strongly considering it. The hometown and small-town feel are appealing, where honest, helpful, and friendly people make up the community,” explained Resinger. What you see is usually what you get here. I have the feeling the people I met and made friends with in Johnson County are more honest and tell you what is really going on.”

Growing up in Europe watching classic western movies, Resinger has a keen idea what a western town should look and feel like. He considers Johnson County the real America with cowgirls and cowboys, horses and craft beers, and the Bighorn mountains for all kinds of outdoor adventures. 

“I live in Fort Myers, Florida, and it has grown so much that there is no longer a feeling of community here. In Johnson County, the people are still friendly, greeting strangers and living by strong values,” he said. “I’m considering moving my family to Buffalo to experience this every day. Hopefully, we will be able to do our part to maintain and deepen the great experience I had spending time in Johnson County.”

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