Hailey Mach, Public Relations Manager

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Trailblazing women of the West: Celebrating International Women's Day
with 8 inspirational Wyoming figures
March 8, 2024 — Cheyenne, Wyo. -  In the vast tapestry of Wyoming's history, women have woven threads of resilience, determination and innovation, contributing significantly to the state's unique identity. While often referred to as the “Cowboy State,” Wyoming’s true nickname is the “Equality State” for its role in women’s suffrage and throughout history. Wyoming has been home to many firsts for women including Esther Hobart Morris, who broke barriers as the first female justice of the peace in the United States, to Nellie Tayloe Ross, the nation's first female governor, women have played integral roles across professions, shaping communities and leaving an indelible mark on the state's history.

On International Women's Day, the Wyoming Office of Tourism (WOT) proudly spotlights today's trailblazing women who continue this legacy, fostering a landscape where strength, independence and power define the essence of Wyoming's women. Join WOT by using #nationalwomensday in celebrating the past, present and future of women in Wyoming, where their contributions continue to shape a narrative of progress and inclusivity.

Below, discover eight women in Wyoming who continue to make a positive, lasting impact on the state and beyond.

Photo Credit: Lindsay Linton Buk


Lynette St. Clair
Shoshone Linguist and Cultural Preservationist


Lynette St. Clair, a passionate advocate for indigenous communities, has dedicated her life to preserving the rich cultural heritage of the Shoshone people. As a Shoshone linguist, cultural preservationist and education consultant on the Wind River Indian Reservation, Lynette has tirelessly worked to safeguard the Shoshone language and history, making it a central focus of her endeavors. Growing up on the reservation has instilled in her a deep connection to her roots, and she remains unwavering in her commitment to ensuring the legacy of the Shoshone people endures for generations to come.


Taylor Thoman Multigenerational Rancher


Taylor Thoman, a fifth-generation rancher at the Thoman Ranch in southwest Wyoming, embodies a deep-seated commitment to the art of ranching that spans generations. Having worked on the family ranch since her earliest days, Taylor's immersion in the traditions of ranch life, coupled with guidance from her grandmother, a Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame inductee, reflects a profound understanding that cannot be acquired overnight or from textbooks. For Taylor, ranching is not just a livelihood; it's a heritage learned from the best of the best, shaping her into a steward of the land with invaluable insights passed down through her family's legacy.

Petrina Peart
Founder, Gaiya's Harvest 
Petrina Peart, a Jamaican immigrant, East Coast "native" and Air Force veteran, has established herself as a culinary force in Cheyenne, Wyoming, by owning Gaiya's Harvest in the state's capital city. Here, she seamlessly integrates her diverse background and global culinary expertise into the local scene. Drawing on her experiences at Le Cordon Bleu & The Art Institute of Las Vegas, as well as her time learning from skilled chefs in France, Italy, Jamaica and Las Vegas, Petrina offers Cheyenne a truly unique and eclectic dining experience through Gaiya's Harvest.

Amber Pollock
Backwards Distilling 


Casper resident Amber Pollock's unexpected journey led her to co-found the Backwards Distilling Company in Wyoming, turning a family conversation about crafting spirits into her dream job. Originally pursuing a career as a music teacher, Amber now manages the distillery's tasting room, events and social media. Actively involved in her community, Amber's unique path showcases her tenacity and commitment to being a positive influence in both business and civic engagement.


Karen Hostetler
President and Founder,
Mountain Meadow Wool


In Buffalo, Wyoming, Karen Hostetler is the driving force behind Mountain Meadow Wool, a business dedicated to preserving the ranching tradition and promoting the cultural heritage of the American West. Faced with the scarcity of local Wyoming wool, Karen and her son founded the Mountain Meadow Wool Mill in 2007, ensuring that Wyoming-raised wool is transformed into a variety of textures and colors for diverse applications. Through her commitment to 100% American-made and Wyoming-grown wool, Karen not only sustains the state's sheep-raising legacy, dating back over a century, but also provides ranchers with a market for their products.

Lexie Garrett
Founder and CEO, Alexis Drake 
Based in downtown Cheyenne, Wyoming, Lexie Garrett, founder and CEO of Alexis Drake, started her venture in 2013, crafting stylish and durable handbags in her garage while working as a full-time elementary art teacher. Alexis Drake, stands out for its commitment to in-house manufacturing, customization options and community engagement. Lexie, recognized as Entrepreneur of the Year in 2020 and featured in Forbes Next 1000 in 2021, has turned her passion into a successful business that offers customers not only handbags but a unique and interactive experience, including workshops and behind-the-scenes glimpses into the production process. The brand has received accolades such as Small Business of the Year and the Business Beautification Award in 2021 and 2022, respectively.


Haley Fitzgerald
Owner and Founder,
Spruced Plume


Located in Jackson, Wyoming, Haley Fitzgerald has cultivated a deep connection with the land and its resources. Passionate about conservation and whole animal use, she launched her brand, Spruced Plume in 2017, crafting unique, sustainable and wearable art from feathers and leather sourced through personal experiences, local farms and close connections. Embracing the distinctive nature of sustainably-sourced materials, Haley ensures that each handcrafted piece tells a unique story, reflecting her commitment to ethical practices and celebrating the individuality of her creations.


Peggy Sue Garman
Arena Record Holder,
Cheyenne Frontier Days


Peggy Sue Garman, hailing from a multigenerational ranching family in Crook County, Wyoming, epitomizes the spirit of resilience and trailblazing in the world of rodeo. She honed her rodeo skills at Casper College, focusing on breakaway roping. With a remarkable rodeo journey since the age of seven, Peggy Sue has not only made history as one of the first women to compete in breakaway roping at Cheyenne Frontier Days but also proudly holds the arena record for this event at the prestigious rodeo, showcasing her prowess and breaking barriers in a traditionally male-dominated sport.



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About the Wyoming Office of Tourism

The Wyoming Office of Tourism is the only state agency charged with promoting and marketing Wyoming as a vacation destination to domestic and international travelers. The ninth-largest state in terms of area, Wyoming is also the least populated state in the country with an estimated 580,000 residents. Wyoming is home to many firsts, including the country’s first national park (Yellowstone), first national monument (Devils Tower) and first national forest (Shoshone). These special places, along with other natural wonders like Grand Teton National Park and the Bighorn Mountains as well as Wyoming’s heartfelt cowboy hospitality, welcome millions of visitors annually. To learn more about Wyoming, visit

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