Weatherby celebrated its grand opening in Sheridan, Wyoming last week in front of hundreds who gathered to witness the ribbon cutting ceremony.
The company has been passed down through three generations since opening in 1945. Over the years there’s been a growing dissonance between Weatherby and its home state of California, so they decided it was time to set up shop somewhere else.
“This really isn’t about the past, it’s about the future,” said Adam Weatherby, the company’s chief executive. “The future of Wyoming, the future of Weatherby, the future of the outdoor industry.”
Wyoming’s First Lady Jennie Gordon, speaking on behalf of her husband Gov. Mark Gordon, called the firearm industry an important part of growing the state’s economy.
“A ribbon cutting is always exciting, but this one is particularly so because it marks the expansion of Wyoming’s firearms industry and the creation of more jobs and wages,” Gordon said. “It’s a powerful sign of the prosperity and opportunities we have here in Wyoming.”
The daylong event opened with a public tour and other festivities. All morning, Wyomingites waited in a line that wrapped around the building to get a glimpse inside the 30,000 square foot facility and mingle with some of the 71 Weatherby employees.
While touring the new Sheridan facility, Guns.com saw the business offices, the factory floor where rifles are manufactured and assembled, and a new indoor range where the company can test fire rifles on targets 100- and 300-feet away.
While company, state and local officials mentioned economic opportunities, they also spoke about an evolving identity, making Wyoming and Weatherby synonymous with each other. The enthusiasm for the company has been growing since Weatherby broke ground last year. In that time, the company received some 3,500 applications to fill just 50 jobs.
For Jordan Davis, who has lived in Sheridan for more than a decade, the opportunity to work for Weatherby meant more than just a paycheck. A Weatherby firearm in his family became a symbol of hope for his late brother.
“To me, that’s what Weatherby is. It’s not just a product. It’s not just a rifle. It’s actually an idea of value and quality. And it’s the quality and craftsmanship that we put into our product but it’s also the quality of people that build that. So that’s passed into the product,” Davis said. “So it’s just something that for me encapsulates my love for my brother and honors him and I’m really proud to work at Weatherby.”
Former Gov. Matt Mead said he tried to build on Wyoming’s strengths, like the role guns and hunting have within the culture, as he paved the way for Weatherby’s move from California.
“When this first started out, I was told numerous times ‘it’s a long shot,’ but ladies and gentleman I think we hit the bull’s eye. Dead center,” Mead said. “And I’m proud of that. I’m proud of the relationship that Wyoming and Weatherby have because from this point forward anywhere in the world somebody picks up a Weatherby they’re going to associate it with wonderful Wyoming.”