The company opened to the public in 1993. Ron Thiel originally bought the Terry Ranch in 1991 for the purpose of raising Bison. Dan Thiel, the son of Ronald and Janice thought it would be a great idea to start a company that would allow people to be able to get up close and personal to the “great North American Bison”. Of course after over 1 year of red tape “Jan Thiel Inc.,” dba Terry Bison Ranch Resort became a reality.
Back in the beginning of our history, there was no Senator’s Restaurant as they would serve chuckwagon dinners in an old barn called the Wagon Wheel. This building only had 3 walls and a roof and the food was cooked at the old Cookshack building. (This building is now the photoshop at the Depot). Back in the early years, the 7XL stables hadn’t been created yet as we had another company that provided the trail rides for our guests.
We didn’t feel that our guests were getting the proper attention so Dan started Horseshoe Bison. The horseback tours had to change over the years due to the major drought that Wyoming was experiencing during the 90’s. Because of the drought, Ron Thiel with Iron Mountain Bison had to change the landscape of his grazing operation. He introduced “Holistic Grazing” which forced him to put up fencing and change the landscape throughout the Ranch to herd the Bison from pasture to pasture. This, of course, changed the way we had to do our tours and horseback riding. That is how the horseback tours at the 7XL stables came to be the way they are.
Every year we try to make an improvement somewhere at the Ranch whether it’s a gazebo, a stone entrance into the ranch, or extra rooms at the Senator’s Steakhouse. It seems there is always a need for something neat or cool. Grass, planters and flower boxes have all recently been added for beautification to the ranch. Behind the bunkhouse a large greenhouse was added one year to grow our own flowers and some vegetables. Don’t let me leave out the Chicken Bus too… This bus can be found by the train tracks and is a really cool feature, that can be moved and closed up to protect the chickens. “Tinker” the tinkered bison and the “Tin Can Cowboy” with his pack mule are also new additions. Don’t miss out on all the new things to come. Head out to see us and let us know what new features you like best when you visit.
At the Terry Bison Ranch; Guests, Employees and Animals are #1.
A family oriented resort with fun for all. To provide western adventure, food, and entertainment. Educate guests about Wyoming history and culture. Trucks, Tractors, Trains, Horses and Airplanes.
To provide a safe, clean, friendly, wholesome family environment. Make guests believe they have participated in a new western adventure that sparks the imagination of each and every guest. This must be done to produce enough company net profit for the benefit of employees and owners. To eliminate theft of time and product.
Terry Bison Ranch sales policies and Customer Bill of Rights
- Our customers have a right to expect prompt and courteous sales and service.
- Our customers have a right to expect all phone calls, emails, and faxes returned promptly.
- Our customers have a right to expect value in fair and competitive pricing.
- Our customers have a right to expect accuracy in food and event contracting. Their sales agent should be professional and follow all internal sales systems so questions can be answered to the customer in the salesperson’s absence.
- Our customers have the right to be treated like royalty.
- Serving is a privilege, not a pain.
History from 100 years ago:
Take a look at the menu that Senator FE Warren & former President Roosevelt had in August of 1910, which can be found in the steakhouse. Could you imagine yourself ordering food from that era? This meal was served in the big white house just below the Trading Post. After dinner both the Senator & President went to the Bunkhouse (yes, it is still being used today) and had cigars and cocktails while they chatted with each other. Oh if only the walls could talk. Come out sometime & see an actual photo of them while they were seated at the table. So much rich history. Allow us to share.
Some facts about Terry Ranch and F.E. Warren
F.E. Warren was one of the first Territorial Governor of Wyoming. He purchased the ranch from Charles Terry in 1885.
The ranch was the “South headquarters” of the Warren Livestock Company. They ran sheep and cattle and also bred and raised sheepdogs, which were nationally acclaimed.
F.E. Warren came to Wyoming in 1868 the age of 23. Popular accounts said he arrived with just 50 cents and no job. He took a job chopping wood, stacking wood and picking up nails for A.R Converse. Later, when Warren ran for Senate, a Democrat jokingly referred to him as the “Great American Nail Picker”.
Converse gave Warren a job at his mercantile store. Later, the two men became partners in the mercantile business and then livestock business. Warren Mercantile Company became the largest supplier of furniture, hardware and carpet in Wyoming. Warren Livestock owned 3,000 cattle and 60,000 sheep by 1888. By 1890, Warren was the richest person in Wyoming.
He was elected as Governor in October 1890 but resigned in November 1890 to serve as one of the first Senators from Wyoming, where he served for 35 years.
President Theodore Roosevelt visited Wyoming and Cheyenne several times. Roosevelt stayed at the Terry Ranch as a guest of Warren’s in 1903 and 1910.
General John “Blackjack” Pershing visited the ranch frequently. Pershing married Warren’s daughter Helen Francis. Before the marriage, Pershing was a lowly Captain, but Warren was determined that his daughter should marry nothing less than a General. Pershing made the jump to Brigadier General almost immediately. Pershing proved to be an excellent General, who served for many years and was a decorated and respected leader.
Pershing’s wife and three of his children died tragically in a fire at the Presidio military base in San Francisco. Pershing’s son, Warren, was the only surviving child. Later, Warren Pershing worked at Terry Ranch when he came home from Harvard for summer vacations.
The size of the ranch now is 27,500 acres and stretches into Colorado. It is owned by the Thiel family.
In 1987, Dan Thiel incorporated under the name of Horseshoe Bison, Inc. The company started as a small bison meat distribution and horse trading company. The two things on earth that have always saved Dan when the chips were down, were and still are, horses and bison.
If you notice the logo, the horseshoe is pointing upward. This is so the luck doesn’t run out. Today Horseshoe Bison operates as a trail ride and train tour operation. The train operates in both Wyoming and Colorado. The Terry Town Rail Express is Wyoming’s only privately owned tourist railroad, and operates on standard gauge rail.
Horseshoe Bison, Inc. operates on the Terry Bison ranch and this location was the south headquarters for the Warren Livestock Company. The 7XL brand is still owed by the Warren Livestock Company. The 7XL stable is the location used by Horseshoe Bison for daily trail rides. History books claim the reason 7XL was chosen as a brand is because the cowboys would often have a big night on the town, legend has it, if the cowboys had too much to drink the night before and they accidentally flipped the brand over, it would still read 7XL.
We are sad to say that our great majestic Bison Bull “Tinker Bell” has passed away of old age. He had lived to the ripe ole age of 35 years. Tinker was born in 1975 in North Dakota and was a Champion Bull within the North Dakota Bison Association. Ron Thiel purchased Tinker in 1986 to become the breeding bull for the Terry Bison Ranch. He has been seen by thousands upon thousands of visitors from all over the world. Visitors were marveled by his magnificent size of over 2250 pounds. Countless photos have been taken of him during his 31 years of breeding, and we estimate that he has produced over 1200 calves during his time as a breeder. Tinker had a pretty good life for being a Bison Bull as he relished in all of the attention that he received from all the different people. He has been tremendously missed by all of our returning guest and staff whom have taken good care of him throughout the years. This is the type of animal that will never be replaced as the “Grand Daddy of a Bull” that he always was.
Above is a picture of the Memorial that was built over his burial site so that all our guest can still visit him. You can view his Memorial on the daily Train tours.