Welcome to our series, #WHYoming.
We are highlighting people from around our communities and asking them a few questions. We want to learn a little about them and see why they chose this great state to raise their families, start their businesses, or simply to ask — Why Wyoming?
For this week’s #WHYoming, I had a chance to talk with Janet Hartford, former Green River Chamber of Commerce Director. Janet has spent her life in Sweetwater County, always knowing this community as home. She was a crucial component in getting the Green River Visitor’s Center built, and started up the wild horse program at the center in which mustangs are corralled outside for people to look at as they travel through town.
Janet loves horses and she knows that the wild horses are a big attraction for tourists. She knew that having a couple of mustangs outside the Visitor’s Center would increase the number of people stopping at the center. In addition, the horses are up for adoption and will be re-homed at the end of the summer. Going on her third week of retirement, Janet is going to have even more time to dedicate to her love for horses and to enjoy the community she adores so much.
Janet, what did you do for a living before retiring?
I worked at several jobs through the years: Railroad Yardmaster; opened and operated Hart’s & Flowers that I sold due to a bad back; worked a bit for at BJ Services, an oilfield service company; was the Director of the Green River Chamber of Commerce for 13 years; and then worked at Marathon Petroleum for eight years. I just retired two weeks ago.
Can you tell me a bit about your experience with horses?
I had horses when I was young up until my senior year in high school. I then adopted my first mustangs 17 years ago and bought a couple of quarter horses. I do team sorting, trail riding, give horsemanship lessons, and compete in extreme trail and ranch riding.
Can you tell me a bit about the wild horse program you started at the Visitor’s Center?
When I was working on the plans for the Visitor’s Center I knew wild horses were a big attraction to tourists. They are not always visible on the Wild Horse Loop Tour. Having them there in the summer would increase foot traffic in the Visitor’s Center. It is also a great way to get the word out about the adoption program and get more wild horses adopted. I was able to get donations for the corral and shelter to have it built at the same time as the Visitor’s Center.
How did you end up in Green River?
My parents moved to Green River after living in Stansbury ( a coal mining town north of Rock Springs). My mother was from Green River, my father was from Rock Springs. When my dad got a job at FMC we moved to Green River.
What do you appreciate most about our community?
The friendly people and western hospitality that everyone extends to strangers and everyone.
What are some of your hobbies?
Other than horses, hunting, camping, drawing, fly fishing and trap shooting.
If you could give one brief piece of advice, what would it be?
Be true to yourself and seize the day.
Where is your favorite place to hang out in Sweetwater County?
I love riding in Scott’s Bottom and up on the Wilkins Peak Trails. Seedskadee is also wonderful and the Events Complex is always a great place to enjoy many activities. I love the outdoors and the wildlife you can see. The Events Complex is great to ride in the winter and the many events are also fun to attend.
What would you sing at karaoke?
I hate karaoke!
How would your friends describe you?
Hardworking, honest, passionate and loyal.
What is one of your proudest accomplishments?
Getting the Visitor’s Center built.
What is something unique about you?
Why do you choose to live in Wyoming?
Wyoming chooses me.