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, we had a chance to talk with Joshua Coursey, co-founder of the Muley Fanatic Foundation (MFF). He and Joey Faigl founded MFF in 2012, and since then have helped it grow into a trustworthy conservation organization with over 16 chapters in the United States.
Josh is a Wyoming native who has a deep appreciation for the the state and Sweetwater County. The people, the conservative politics and all the land and wildlife top the list as to why Josh loves Wyoming and Sweetwater County so much.
Throughout his life, Josh has seen many places, even working as a photo-journalist in the US Army, but no place comes close to Wyoming in his eyes. Josh is a Wyoming-lifer, and while he’s here, he plans to protect its lands and wildlife to the best of his ability.
Josh, what is the Muley Fanatic Foundation and what is your role?
Muley Fanatic Foundation (MFF) is a 501(C)3 Non-profit conservation organization that aims to ensure the conservation of mule deer and their habitat and to provide such supporting services to further the sport of hunting and sound wildlife management. Joey Faigl and I started the organization in 2012.
You had to cancel the Mansface Mountain Music Festival due to COVID-19. How does this impact your fundraising efforts?
The impact of cancelling the Mansface Mountain Music Festival is certainly a setback to our fundraising efforts, particularly with our big prize drawing of the 2020 Jeep Gladiator raffle that supports the Deer Elk Ecology Research project. However, knowing we had to overcome this challenge, we really put a significant effort into enhancing our virtual presence and are pleased with the results as we still held true to drawing the winner on July 18.
What projects is MFF currently working on?
MFF has been an avid proponent of science-based research since the onset and we continue to be active with furthering to these efforts. There are several research projects ongoing in Wyoming, Utah and Colorado where we are invested in supporting.
In addition, backing and advocacy for wildlife crossing efforts and maintaining public lands and access are mainstays for our operation; Planning and logistics for eighteen Youth with Life Threatening illness hunts scheduled for this fall; Active engagement to the Rock Springs Resource Management Plan which is expected to release a draft in the near future and of course the backbone to our organizational efforts, our 16 Chapters that continue to move the mission forward with an array of habitat projects and youth related activities.
How has MFF grown and evolved since 2012?
MFF has grown exponentially since 2012 because of its organizational design and its measurable action. Quite frankly, the support that MFF has generated in 8 years is because it is accountable to being an organization that gets things done.
How did you end up in Green River?
I made a conscious decision to move to Green River in 2005 because I wanted to make it my home. It sounds a little cliché but I love this sleepy little town. I spent my early childhood years in Green River before moving to Rock Springs in the middle of my 7th grade year and always knew in my heart that when given the opportunity to move back, I would seize the opportunity.
What do you appreciate about our community?
It is 100 percent American proud. God, Family, Country. Yep, that does it for me. There are tremendous resources in southwest Wyoming but none is greater than her people. This can be easily quantified with anyone you meet in Green River.
What is something unique about you?
I have two middle names; Wiley and David. Wiley, after my grandfather Wiley Morgan who who came here in the early 60’s with my grandmother and is the reason I even have a lineage to Wyoming. David, which was my father’s middle name who was a peace officer killed in the line of duty in Colorado 1994 but had started his 24-year law enforcement career in Green River in 1970. Proud of both.
What are your some of your hobbies?
Like so many others, hunting, fishing and sports are the mainstays of my hobbies but throughout the changes we have all adapted to through this COVID-19 pandemic, I have really become very appreciative of riding my pedal bike each morning on the green belt. I guess it’s probably most appropriate to say, I just like staying busy.
If you could give one brief piece of advice, what would it be?
Have a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
Where is your favorite place to hang out in Sweetwater County?
On any number of two-tracks outside the city limits.
What would you sing at karaoke night?
American Pie, Don McLean. Covers the gamut and it is a catchy tune where others would want to sing along to mask my howling…
What is one of your proudest accomplishments?
Raising two beautiful daughters who are kind, caring and productive members of society. Serving as a photo-journalist in the US Army and the enormous opportunities to see so many places and meet so many people. Educational accomplishments. Making black-belt in Taekwondo with my youngest daughter. Seeing the Wyoming Wildlife Conservation License plate become a reality. Too many I suppose, I have been very blessed.
Who would you want to play you in a movie about your life?
Kevin Hart… we have the same hair style 😊. Love that guy!
Why do you choose to continue living in Wyoming?
Conservative politics, tremendous people and of course our precious wild things and pristine wild places. To quote Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman, “I have been around!” There are many beautiful places in our Union of States, but when you start tallying up the scores of each of the aforementioned reasons, nothing close. Wyoming, truly God’s perfect square!