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Trade Stories: Phillip Lee McGinnis, Sublette County Cowboy

Raised in a small town in Illinois, Phillip Lee McGinnis grew up working for a horse trainer and knew early on he wanted to become a cowboy. After a tour of service in the United States Marine Corps, Phil spent time in Hawaii roping wild cattle and starting colts, then moved to Montana and lived in a wall tent working with cattle in an area where grizzly bears are a constant threat. In this Filson Life, learn how he came to settle in Sublette County, Wyoming, where he lives out his dreams of being a cowboy in the least-populated county in the least-populated state in America. 


Tell us your story Phil. How’d you grow up? Where are you from? 

Well, I grew up in Illinois in a tiny-town of about ...

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Sublette County: Rodeo Dreams in the Icebox of the Country


First things first, being a cowboy isn’t easy. It involves early mornings, hard work and long hours on the back of a beast that is known to buck every now and again. Pair that with the frigid temperatures in Sublette County, Wyoming, known as the "Icebox of the Country" due to having the lowest year-round temperatures, and anyone pursuing this job in this particular state has their work cut out for them.

It isn’t for everyone, but for folks like Shawn Butner and Casey Manning, cowboying was their calling and the only way to realize their dreams of collegiate rodeo championships.

Born and raised in Wyoming, both Shawn and Casey grew up knowing exactly what they wanted to do. Like most kids i...

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