State Rep. Bryan Pedersen, R-Cheyenne, was busy climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro when he won his first political election.
He’s spent weeks training at a renowned Thai kickboxing school, studied in Europe to become a French chef, and ran with the bulls in Pamplona.
And he’s perhaps the only person who met his future wife with the pickup line, “Do you have tickets to the gun show?”
Call Pedersen the most interesting legislator in the world. Or, at least, the most adventurous one in Wyoming.
“There’s never a dull moment when you’re around Bryan,” said Jeremy Arneson, Pedersen’s friend and personal trainer.
By day, Pedersen, 37, is a financial planner with RBC Wealth Management in Cheyenne.
Pedersen’s put his financial experience to use in the Wyoming Legislature. In his third term as a state representative, he serves on the powerful Joint Appropriations Committee, which controls the state’s purse strings.
Pedersen’s love of finance and politics stems from his parents: his dad also worked for RBC and taught him as a kid how to trade stocks. His mom, Sandra, worked on campaigns for Republican congressmen such as Dick Cheney, Al Simpson and Craig Thomas.
Pedersen said he went into politics because his parents taught him that it’s every citizen’s civic duty to serve in a public capacity at some point.
“When you get indoctrinated for 30 years that that’s what you should do, eventually you just end up doing it,” he said.
Now, he’s considering a run for state treasurer in 2014, should incumbent Republican Joe Meyer step down. He obtained an opinion from the Wyoming Attorney General stating his financial job wouldn’t be a conflict of interest from running. Pedersen said he now has to talk about it with his family.
But Pedersen has a wide variety of other interests beyond finance and politics.
After graduating from the University of Wyoming in 1998 with a degree in finance, Pedersen decided study become a French chef at Le Cordon Bleu in London.
Now, he said, he cooks every night for his wife Sara and their three children: Brock, 6, Dane, 4, Ea, 2. The Pedersens adopted Ea last year from Wuhan, China.
Pedersen has also always been a very athletic person, lifting weights since he was a student.
In August of 2004, he and his wife spent their second wedding anniversary braving -40 degree winds to climb 19,341-foot Mt. Kilimanjaro in Kenya. They returned to the hotel to find an email from his mother: he had won the Republican primary for state representative.
Pedersen practices a number of martial arts, from muay thai — a form of Thai kickboxing — to Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Last session, he successfully introduced legislation to create a state mixed martial arts commissioner after hearing complaints from other local fighters.
Last year, Arneson and Pedersen, at the latter’s urging, attended the renowned Fairtex Bangplee muay thai training camp in Thailand. Arneson said Pedersen is an inspiration to him.
“He decides to do things and just does them,” Arneson said. “He gets them taken care of. He takes on things that a lot of people wouldn’t even consider and makes sure it gets done, start to finish.”