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Christy Knut Smith

Christy K. Smith was born November 27, 1916 on the Pride of the Prairie Ranch, Weston County, Wyoming. He devoted his life to ranching and farming. When Christy was five years old he drove the stacker team in the hay field. In eighth grade in broke two broncs going four miles back and forth to Horton School. First and second grades he attended Green Mountain School which was two miles from the ranch. From third to seventh grade the teachers lived at the Smith ranch and school was held in the neighbor’s homes. He attended Sundance High School his freshman year and Newcastle High the next three years. He was an outstanding athlete at NHS; captain of the basketball team and All State football tackle his senior year. He attended the University of Wyoming in 1935. Soon returning to his first love, the Pride of the Prairie Ranch. He operated the ranch with his father, Nels, and brother, Peter. When Nels was elected Governor in 1939 the brothers took over operation of the ranch. Over the years, the partnership dissolved with Christy becoming owner of the Prairie and Lodgepole Ranches.


Christy married Bethel Muir in Laramie, Wyoming on December 20, 1943. Bethel had taught commerce at Newcastle High School where they met. Christy and Bethel had three daughters; Kristy Kay, Colleen, and Michele.


Christy expanded his ranch operation in 1946 to include winter range on Lodgepole Creek, west of Newcastle. The ranches were 65 miles apart so he decided to learn how to fly. During the winter of 1948 he took lessons from Clyde Ice in Spearfish, South Dakota. He then purchased a PA II Piper Cub with retractable snow skis so he could take off and land on the snow at the Prairie Ranch and dry land at Lodgepole.


Christy was a conservationist and protector of the environment. He operated the ranch as economically as possible. He had an excellent reputation as a horseman and breeder of purebred Herefords. The foundation for his cattle herd was a gift from his father who bought the Champion Carload Lot at the Denver Stock Show in 1930 when Christy was 14. He ran 500 commercial Hereford Cows and a small herd of registered Herefords. He sold 200 steers and 130 heifers. He farmed hay, wheat, and oats.


Christy was a horse lover. His hobby was horse trading. He bred Morgans, Quarter Horses, Percherons, and Arabians. He broke and trained all his saddle horses and work teams. He participated in team roping and calf roping at local rodeos. He was a hunter and sportsman with trophy mounts of elk, mountain sheep, deer, antelope, Bob cat, brook trout, and animals from his African Safari.


Christy carried on the Smith tradition of public and community service by serving on the Wyoming Livestock Board from 1969 – 1975. He served as President of the board. He was a director of the Tri County Electric Board for 18 years. He served as Vice President of the Board. He was director on the board of the National Bank of Newcastle for 18 years. He was Republican Precinct Committee man and a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1964. He was Cancer Crusade Chairman for Weston County. He was a member of county, state, and national Stockgrowers, and the Registered Hereford Breeders Association. He was an honorary member of both 4-H and FFA in recognition of his service to the agricultural youth in Weston County. He was a member of Masons and Shrine.

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