The untimely death of Wyoming's Leland Christensen struck far too close for those across the state of Wyoming who knew him.

Special services will be held soon.

Until then this portrait, commissioned by Leland's friend, Senator Ogden Driskill,  Will be displayed on the floor of the Wyoming Senate.

Of his friend Leland, Senator Driskill Writes:

Wyoming State Senator Ogden Driskill. Photo by Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming State Senator Ogden Driskill. Photo by Cowboy State Daily

Senator Christensen and I went into the Senate together in 2011 and became fast friends.

The sketch came from a group picture at the National Finals Rodeo this year. I believe it was one of the last times he was out. He and his son Hunter went with my wife Zannie and I.

I think in the 12 years we have known each other -we only missed one NFR. He was one of the most influential leaders I have ever been around.

He had a presence like no other I have ever seen. An infectious sense of humor and wit connected with a deep intellect made him an amazing individual. Has well rounded in many arenas,

Wyoming State Senator Ogden Driskill Photo by Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming State Senator Ogden Driskill Photo by Cowboy State Daily

With careers in Law Enforcement, Special Forces in the military, hunting, outdoorsman on other areas, he was an expert with common sense in a broad range of areas.

Never met a stranger and he and I were known to challenge each other on who we could approach and meet. From Governors to rodeo performers, he always made new friend. He quickly became a leader in the senate and trained many of the fine skills of legislating.

Portrait of Leland Christiansen of Wyoming By Tim Mandesse
Portrait of Leland Christiansen of Wyoming By Tim Mandesse

Leland Christensen was a Teton County commissioner from 2005 to 2011, and before that worked in law enforcement for 20 years with the Teton County and Lincoln County sheriff’s offices. The Wyoming native served 15 years with the 19th Special Forces Airborne Army and the National Guard.

In 2011, Christensen began an eight-year stint as a Republican state senator in the Wyoming Legislature. In 2019, Gordon appointed him to the post of deputy director of Homeland Security, and in 2021, he began working for U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis as her state director.

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U.S. Senator for Wyoming, Cynthia Lummis already penned a touching tribute to her friend after he passed, but she recently spoke on the Senate floor as well, paying homage to her colleague and her friend.

Speaking on the Senate floor, Lummis asked for unanimous consent to suspend the quorum call for a brief time, and it was granted.

Mr. President, I am just profoundly sad and also humbled and proud to honor the memory of a cherished son of Wyoming. More than anything, I rise to honor my longtime friend, Leland Christensen. Leland was most recently State Director for my U.S. Senate office. Truly, his death cuts me to the depth of my heart.

When I was elected to the U.S. Senate, I knew I needed Leland on my team because he loved Wyoming people. He loved to help his fellow man. He cared about the challenges faced by our state and its people. His smile would light up every room and his laugh was infectious. He was a joy to be with.


Tim Mandese is the Wyoming artist commissioned to draft the portrait.

Tim is a recipient of multiple awards for his drawings. Since moving to Wyoming his artwork has included scenes of the state that he now calls home which hangs in fine dining restaurants and doctors' offices as well as people's homes.

He is also a photographer with works displayed around the state. Many of these photos have been used in news articles for Wyoming news publications like Townsquare Media, local newspapers, and Cowboy State Daily. Mandese also writes a food column for Cowboy State Daily.

Senator Driskill had also commissioned Tim to draw a photo that sat on Governor Gordon's desk of the governor's father in a rodeo scene. Governor Gordon now has that drawing.

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Vintage Wyoming Movie Posters

I love walking down the hallway of a modern movie theater and looking at the old posters of vintage movies.

That got me thinking about old Westerns based on Wyoming. How many of those posters are still around?

Many are, and many are for sale online, if you want to decorate your home, or even home theater, with classic and mostly forgotten movie posters.

Most of these films were made before the era of television. Hollywood was cranking out these things as fast as they could.

The plots, the scrips, the acting, directing, and editing were SO BAD, they were good.

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