Featured Member of the Month – Cowboy State Bank

Cowboy State Bank - 100th Anniversary logoAnother Featured Member with a big anniversary – our Featured Member for the month of May is Cowboy State Bank, celebrating its 100th anniversary this month!

Stepping back in time: Ranchester State Bank was founded in 1912 by Clyde C. Trader from Mountain Park, Colorado, who believed that Ranchester would be a good place to start a small country bank. The doors opened on May 22, 1912, in a small room in front of the Nevees building in Ranchester. From there, the bank continued to prosper and grow over the years. A new bank building was constructed in Ranchester in 1977-78. The bank was sold to First National Bankshares of Sheridan in 1985 and sold again in 1989. A group of investors then purchased the bank in April 2000, and changed the name to Cowboy State Bank in 2001. In 2001, the bank also opened its branch in Sheridan.

There were other milestones along the way. In that first year, Frank Paulus, father of Vieva Jeffers and still a prominent area family today, was elected to the Board of Directors. On March 5, 1932, President Roosevelt declared a bank holiday and closed all the banks until they could be examined to determine if they could re-open with FDIC Insurance. Cowboy State Bank re-opened 21 days later, after it was declared sound. For the first time, deposits were now insured for $5,000 per person, and the bank became a member of the newly formed FDIC.

F. C. “Cap” Rawlings was elected Assistant Cashier in 1939, earning a salary of $70 per month. Total bank deposits were $118,000. And in 1959, H.C. Jeffers – who carried on the bank heritage of the Jeffers family – passed away after 36 years on the Board of Directors. Don Steadman, another well-remembered bank alumnus, was hired as President of the bank in 1982.

Today there are two Cowboy State Bank locations in Sheridan County – on Coffeen Ave. in Sheridan and on Hwy 14 (Dayton St.) in Ranchester – with 5,000 customers and total assets of $40,500,000. Each location offers full-service banking (including online banking, online bill pay, and identity theft protection) and provides timely local decision-making on loan requests. The bank has 16 employees, many of whom have been with the bank over 10 years. Senior officers are Sam Summers, President; Mont Becker, Executive Vice President; and Andy Penfield, Chief Financial Officer.

The Cowboy State Bank slogan is “Banking the Cowboy Way” – which to them and their customers means banking with honesty, integrity, and diligence. And they’re a community bank, which is exactly what many of their customers want.

The bank has offered uninterrupted one-on-one personal service to its customers for 100 years, through many ups and downs of local, state, and national economies. The big anniversary celebration will be the week of May 21-25, with open houses at each location each day. In addition to food and refreshments, there’ll be drawings for a quilt and decorative gourd made by bank employees, a large-screen TV and e-Reader. The bank will also be hosting a Customer Appreciation Picnic in Ranchester on June 7 and entering an anniversary float in both the WYO Rodeo and Dayton Days parades. It’s not every day that a business reaches 100 years!

At the same time, the bank continues to look forward. The primary focus is maintaining continued and sustained growth using the “Community Banking” approach to doing business and serving the community. They also have plans to construct a new banking facility in Sheridan when it’s the right time to proceed.

And the bank continues its community involvement and sponsorships – in organizations like the Sheridan County Chamber, Sheridan WYO Rodeo, Sheridan College Rodeo events, Rotary Downtown Sheridan Association, Tongue River Valley Community Center, School District events, the Library, Boy Scouts, and Keystone Awards. That’s what a “community bank” is all about.

Drop by either bank location for a visit, call 673-4456 (Sheridan) or 655-2291 (Ranchester), or visit www.cowboystatebank.com to learn more. “Some things change while others stay the same – Cowboy State Bank, the oldest chartered bank in Sheridan County.”


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