Big Wyoming, “the cowboy state,” earned its union stripes on this day back in 1890 notching itself as the 44th state of the U.S. of A.

Lonesome as it is peacefully associated with the deeper shades of western America’s heart, Colorado’s adopted folkie son John Denver put his spin on singer/songwriter Kent Lewis’ homage “Song of Wyoming” back on 1975 easy-listening staple Windsong.

Not too much to parse through here, just the pristine freedom of Wyoming’s slice of purple majesty unfolding in six verses after a “weary” and “tired” “day’s ridin’,” while Denver’s rustling harmonica and campfire croon keeps perfect company.

Happy birthday, dear Wyoming, may your “big ole prairie moon” infinitely come a “risin’:” [LISTEN]

Well, Ive wandered around the town and the city Tried to figure the how and the why Well, Ive stopped all my schemin’ Im just driftin and dreamin’ Watching the river roll by … Here comes that big ole prairie moon risin Shinin down bright as can be Up on the hill theres a coyote singin’ A Song of Wyoming for me