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A remembrance gathering has been scheduled for Big Piney resident Mike Wade from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Blue Sky Sage camp at the Little Sandy Crossing on the Lander cutoff on Sublette County Road 23-132.
Wade died May 21. He was 60.
His family submitted the following.
Born to Everett (Jack) and Ellen Benshoof Wade on Nov. 17, 1958, in Douglas, Mike grew up on a cattle ranch homesteaded by his grandfather near Prairie Center. He attended the Prairie Center School and went on to graduate from Lingle-Ft. Laramie High School.
Mike married Bobbie Jo Hladky, daughter of Bob and Shirley Hladky, of Lusk, on June 15, 1979, and they had two daughters, Amanda Kelsey and Emily Mariah.
From a young age Mike was intrigued with hunting, wildlife and, especially, the mountain wilderness west of his childhood home on the prairie. His first elk hunting trips with his dad and brother Pat were on Randolph Mountain in the Buffalo River valley, with a view of the Tetons to the west.
After his high school graduation in 1977, Mike returned to the Tetons to begin the life of a wilderness packer and hunting guide. His early experiences were in the Teton Wilderness, departing with pack strings of mules and horses from the Turpin Meadows trailhead to work full seasons of pack trips into the upper Yellowstone country and wilderness elk hunting camp at Pass Creek. His career also took him into the Washakie, Shoshone and Bridger wilderness areas, as well as the Thorofare River, Greys River and the Wyoming Range. He was truly in his element in the wild mountain country, and the wilderness was sacred to him. A highly respected antelope and deer guide over a vast part of central and eastern Wyoming, he spent many years trapping fur in the winter as another part of his livelihood.
With his wife, Bobbi, Mike started his own outfitting business in 1988 west of Big Piney and continued as a hunting and pack trip guide for the next 12 years. During that time he guided snowmobile tours out of Jackson, taking guests into Yellowstone National Park, around Togwotee Pass, the Gros Ventre and Granite Creek areas. In 2000 he came up with the concept for High Wild and Lonesome Cowboy Adventures, an active horseback riding adventure company, later renamed Blue Sky Sage Horseback Riding Retreats. At the time of his death he and Bobbi were preparing to enter their 20th season of operation.
Mike spent his lifetime as a horseman. He worked with hundreds of horses throughout the course of his career, and had a special affection for mules. He owned half interest in a mammoth jack for a time and raised several nice mules out of his dad’s broodmares. As his career progressed, Mike sought out opportunities to learn a better way with horses, and he adopted the horsemanship philosophies of Ray Hunt, Buck Brannaman and Kevin Stallings.
A great teacher to the many riders he led on rides with Blue Sky Sage, Mike was respected for his skills and knowledge. He had the same approach to farrier work, which he enjoyed, and his practice with horseshoeing led him to learn the Gene Ovnicek methods of natural balance hoof trimming and shoeing.
A man of many and diverse interests and a highly evolved seeker of the truth, Mike’s passions included hunting, reading, history, Native American spirituality and being in the mountains.
Mike is survived by his life partner and wife, Bobbi, of Big Piney; daughter Amanda (Dusty) Stath, of Casper; Emily Wade, of Big Piney and the Alaskan wilderness; sisters Beverly (Tim) Harmon, of Portland, Oregon, and Jeanine Wade, of Jay Em; brothers Patrick (JoAnn) Wade, of Hat Creek, and Shawn Wade, of Jay Em; nieces Bethany Taylor of Boise, Idaho, and Sarah Ankenbrand of Spokane, Washington; nephews Joseph Overstreet, of Loveland, Colorado, and Monte Wade of Kaycee; and great-niece Jordan Overstreet and great-nephew Gavin Ankenbrand.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his grandparents.
Memorials can be made to the Wyoming Wilderness Association or to the family. Cremation has taken place and a private scattering of his ashes will take place later in the fall.