Warfield Fossils name is derived from it’s location at Warfield Springs. The exact age of the Spring itself is unknown, but the water has been tested and it is suggested by a Geologist from Cheyenne that the water has a 3000 year cycle. This means from the time the water has come from the sky and leached through the layers of the Earth and emerges again as cold pure rocky mountain spring water, the duration has been approximately 3000 years.
Warfield Springs is located south west of Kemmerer Wyoming. The spring has been a main Watering hole for wildlife, Indians & their livestock for centuries. As white man moved west and began to try and settle the wild country the constant need for good water had become Imperative for survival. The majority of water found in the Kemmerer area is laden with alkali. Hence the spring became a coveted commodity. Through the years the spring has had many uses. It has served vast herds of sheep and cattle; a part of Wyoming’s rich ranching history. During prohibition Warfield Springs was known to have provided a perfect supply of Fresh water and excellent hidden location for the local bootleggers.
Virl & Shirley Hebdon acquired Warfield Springs and the surrounding property Giving expansion to their Sheep Ranch. On a sunny spring day in 1970 Virl & Rick, Father and son Traveled to Warfield Springs to fill water cans for the Sheep Herders use. It was there that Rick spotted His first fossil fish that had eroded from the creek bank, he was 14 years old. Years of the continuous stream of water gently washing the banks of the creek uncovered Rick Hebdon’s future.
During the next few years Rick devoted his spare time to digging fossil fish from the Warfield Springs area. The fossil fish were boxed up and taken home to Thayne Wyoming. Rick’s first experience with preparing the fossil fish Was with an electric engraver in his Fathers’ garage. Throughout the mid 70’s Virl and Rick sold their first fossils to local rock shops, and found their first international customer, also their first customers to come and dig their own fossils fish in the quarry.
By 1977 Rick had a good stockpile of fossil fish collected prepared and ready to sell. So with eager anticipation he loaded the boxes of fossils in the back of his old Ford Truck and set off alone for Arizona. It was there that he attended his first show in Quartzite, and a few weeks later his First Tucson Fossil, Gem, & Mineral Show.
Upon returning home with the good news that all the fossil fish had sold Rick’s father Virl exclaimed, “Boy there is a Cadillac in that quarry; you’ve just got to dig it out!”
Warfield Fossils gradually became a business that looked to be more profitable and successful than Sheep Ranching. In 1983 Virl and Rick decided to give up the Sheep Ranching. Virl settled for Retirement, and Rick went headlong into developing his own business of collecting, preparing, and selling Fossils. Within one decade Rick built a successful business with many repeat customers expanding his sales to not only rock shops, but gift shops, jewelry stores, Museums, and many professional institutes world wide.
In 1994 Rick decided to try his luck at Digging Dinosaurs, searching for the elusive T-Rex. Rick gathered a small crew and set off for the Hell Creek Badlands of North Dakota. There they found 2 Hadrosaurus, 4 Triceratops, and 1 T-Rex. Due to the excessive expense of excavating dinosaurs Rick decided to concentrate his efforts back in the Green River Formation. Though the thrill has never ceased and to this day when the telephone rings with someone at the other end Describing a possible dinosaur site, we load up the dogs, goat, camping gear, and we are off on another fossil adventure. Rick is always eager and willing to visit fossil beds on private ground, searching for new and exciting fossils!
Early spring of 2000 while visiting a ranch in Bedford Wyoming Rick met Tanya Hester. In 2001 they set off for an adventure to South America to visit friends from the fossil world. In 2002 Tanya took Warfield Fossils to attend their first International Show in Saint Marie France and sold out. In 2003 and 2004, Rick & Tanya attended shows in Tokyo Japan, and Saint Marie France. 2005-2007 we have attended a fossil show in South Korea, as well as traveled to Morrocco, Italy and the length of Europe on fossil related adventures.The most beneficial aspect of attending fossil shows is the opportunity to meet up with old friends and make new ones. Rick has attended the Tucson Gem and Mineral show for 28 years.
It is with great care and Rick’s fastidious nature that he strives for perfection in all aspects of collection, Preparation and sales of fossils. He has found 13 different Holo-Types so far in his career. Every significant specimen that comes from the quarry is mapped, photographed, meticulously cleaned and prepared, And held for sale preferably to Museums and or Institutes that are interested in the scientific data.
Warfield Fossils home, office, and preparatory lab is located in Thayne Wyoming amongst the zoo of buffalo, horses, cats, dogs, peacocks, guineas, chickens and two miniature goats. We keep 6 to 8 excellent employees year round. During the summer months we have a crazy fun bunch of friends that gather at the quarry to dig fossils, camp out, spin yarns, feast on charred mammal flesh, enjoy spirits, and sit by the light of the campfire.