About Dave Dodson

Early Years

I grew up 36 miles south of Cheyenne, and the closest town to me had a population of about 500. When I was growing up 50 years ago, the only difference between that part of Colorado and Wyoming was where you could buy fireworks and 3.2 beer.

Young Dave Dodson

My parents raised me to pray for the Denver Broncos, chew tobacco, hunt, and if I was bored to go out to the lake and fish for crappies. In the summer, we went to Frontier Days, where I was always most excited to go to the Indian Village. In my later years, my worst habits were Coors beer and Red Man tobacco.

Mom loved horses, so my sister and I spent our early summers mostly riding. She taught 8th grade science, and because our neighbors were ranchers and farmers, it was not unusual at all for our freezer to be filled with livestock parts, which she'd use for her class.

My dad collected guns, and until someone broke into our house, we had a nice collection of handguns. We hunted in the nearby fields, reloaded our own shells, and did our target practice at the county dump. Guns were so important to us, that my sister and I spread my grandfather's ashes over the shooting range.

My dad made farm equipment for the sugar beet industry, and did well for a while, but eventually Jimmy Carter's high interest rates caught up with him and he had to auction off his business.

I had two pretty special people who raised me with small town rural values. I thought you should know that.

School and Career

When I graduated from high school to attend Stanford University, I showed up wearing boots and chewing Red Man, and it was the first time I found myself with people who on the surface didn't seem much like me. But learning to get along with people who were different from me was one of the best and most valuable lessons I've learned in my entire life.

To put myself through college, I needed to work a number of jobs. In the morning I studied economics, and in the afternoon I worked in a slaughterhouse. I hated that job, but it was the most important job I ever had, because I learned what it's like to work at a job you hate solely because you need the money.

After college I started a career in oil and gas, but when oil prices dropped by half just about everyone was going bankrupt, so I decided it was a good time to go into business for myself. I ended up building companies in trucking, auto parts, and tele-communications, and along the way helping to create about 20,000 jobs throughout the U.S. All of that taught me that if you want to make jobs for people, you don't wait for Washington DC to pass legislation — you get out and hustle.

While I'm proud of my business career, like most entrepreneurs I had ups and downs, and along the way made my share of mistakes. Looking back, I learned way more during those times when things did not go right, and I know it will make me a better senator.


About 35 years ago my sister went to University of Wyoming, and soon after that we all began to move up to Wyoming — including my mother, stepfather, brother, sister, and in-laws. We moved to Teton County not as elites to retire, but as a family with no real money, who simply wanted to work hard and enjoy the beauty of this state.

I've been a taxpayer here for 22 years, and eight years ago, when my business responsibilities allowed, I settled here for good.

My brother and sister were each married in Wyoming, and so were Wendy and I. My dog is buried here, and one day I will be too.

I'm the very proud father of three grown daughters — Rachel, Hannah, and Caroline. As many of you know, having kids makes you think a lot about the future — of our nation, of our state, and of our community.

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