History of the Trademark
The State of Wyoming's first use of the Bucking Horse and Rider (BH&R) mark dates back to 1918, perhaps earlier. The BH&R was used as an insignia worn by members of the Wyoming National Guard in France and Germany during World War I. The insignia for the uniforms was originally designed by First Sergeant George N. Ostrom of E Battery, 3rd Battalion, 148th Field Artillery Regiment, AEF. The insignia was officially adopted by the United States Army and used as a means of identification on gun trails, trucks, helmets and other equipment.
The insignia was then used extensively by Wyoming units during out-of-state and overseas duty, including Korea and Vietnam, and was a rallying point, a symbol of pride and a reminder of home, the Great State of Wyoming, to our troops.
Some believe that the BH&R is representative of a legendary rodeo horse named "Steamboat" dating back to the early 1900's. One of the best known bucking horses of all time, Steamboat was known as "the horse that couldn't be ridden." There has been a great deal of dispute as to the image of the man on the bucking horse.
In 1935, Secretary of State Lester Hunt proposed legislation to make changes to the Wyoming license plate design to combat the problem of wide-spread counterfeiting of Wyoming's license plate. Therefore, Secretary Hunt (later Governor and United States Senator) commissioned Mr. Allen T. True of Littleton, Colorado to "put to paper" his concept for a new license plate design which included the famous Bucking Horse and Rider. In 1936, Wyoming's unique license plates containing the BH&R made their debut.
During that same year, the State obtained a copyright for the mark. Between 1936 and 1995, the BH&R's use by Wyomingites and the State of Wyoming was continuous and extensive. It is such an important identifier for the State that, in 1990, the Wyoming Centennial Commission used the mark for the Wyoming Centennial Celebration.
Because of increasing commercial demands for this trademark, the State of Wyoming and the University of Wyoming have consolidated efforts to protect, preserve and promote the tradition and integrity of the Bucking Horse and Rider trademark on behalf of the entire State. Licensing provides the most efficient and feasible vehicle to ensure that the trademark is protected from misuse or infringement, and that ownership is rightfully retained by Wyoming, for the people of Wyoming.