ANSWER GIRL: Unique uniforms and the numbers behind a name

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Hey, Answer Girl,

What’s on the shoulders of the Cowboys’ football uniforms? Are they supposed to look like epaulets? – Football Fan

Dear Football Fan,

The design is called fly-wire and was chosen by the company that made the jerseys, according to Michael "Mad Dog" Aanonsen, athletic equipment manager for the University of Wyoming.

The stitching holds together two pieces of fabric, making the shoulder area thicker and less likely to rip.

"Some schools do the stitching in the same color as the fabric, but we went with stitches you could see," Aanonsen wrote in an email.

They do look a bit like epaulets -- the often-fringed shoulder pads that decorate military uniforms -- but I think Michael Jackson wore them better.

Hey, Answer Girl,

How did the 33-Mile Ranch get its name? It isn't 33 miles northwest of Casper. -- Mary

Dear Mary,

You're right. It's only about 15 miles northwest of Casper off U.S. Highway 20/26. Robert Bressler, one of the owners of 33-Mile Ranch, said it's named for the road it's on: 33-Mile Road.

The road was once a sheep trail that led to shipping pens.

"It was exactly 33 miles from Casper," Bressler said.

Rick Young, director of Fort Caspar Museum in Casper, recommended a book by a local author for more information. Donna Johnston, of Casper, wrote "The 33-Mile Road (of Natrona County, Wyoming)" in 2006. The self-published book is more of a biography, but it's packed with local history.

She added that Fred Henderson had a stage station there in 1908. It was called the 33-Mile Stage Station and the road that led there was called 33-Mile Road.

"This was one of the stations between Casper and Buffalo," she wrote in an email.

Sheep ranchers gathered there in early summer to shear their herds before heading to summer pastures in the Big Horn Mountains. They called the area Merino.

The 33-Mile Stage Station closed when the railroad came through in 1922. It stretched from Salt Creek Oil Field at Midwest 43 miles south to the junction of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad at the Illco Crossing on 33-Mile Road. When the railroad was built, a large shearing shed and corrals called the 33-Mile Shearing Pens were built.

"The train provided easier transportation for the thousands of tons of wool that accumulated there in the spring during shearing time," Johnston wrote. "In a peak year, they would shear over 120,000 sheep at '33-Mile.'"

The railroad closed in 1936, but the 33-Mile Shearing Pens were used until the early 1960s, she added.

Access to 33-Mile Road from Highway 20/26 was moved three miles west in 1942 when the Army air base -- now Casper/Natrona County International Airport -- was built, according to "The 33-Mile Road (of Natrona County, Wyoming)." The road had previously started a quarter-mile east of the airport.