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Published May 14, 2019
DeLancey Hodges remembers getting into a scrap in elementary school and then his sister, Shelby, jumping in to save him. That was probably the last time he had angry words with his twin.
The siblings, from Worland, have always been close, as one might expect. Now, as they are set to graduate this weekend at the University of Wyoming, the fraternal twins are contemplating going their own way in the world -- separately. This they know, but they will always be each other’s best friends, something only twins can relate to.
Both had no intention of coming to UW after graduating from Worland High School (WHS) in 2015. DeLancey wanted to attend the University of Montana to study fire science, while Shelby was intent on heading to Denver to study fashion design.
However, both decided the cost of going out of state was just too much, and UW offered them what they were looking for.
DeLancey, an outdoor enthusiast, will graduate with a degree in wildlife and fisheries biology and management, and environment and natural resources; while Shelby, the creative one, will graduate with a degree in family and consumer sciences with a concentration in design, textiles and merchandising. She also has a minor in marketing communication.
“We really didn’t consider coming to UW together when we were looking at colleges. I think it was just a very independent, separate thing -- it wasn’t that we wanted to get away from each other, I don’t think,” Shelby says. “I thought I would go to UW and then transfer right away, but then I came here and forgot that I wanted to transfer.”
DeLancey admits that having his twin sister made the transition easier.
“Having my sister here has made college a little easier, knowing that I had someone I could ask for help,” he says.
Twenty-two years ago, their mother, Rachel Larson, went in for an ultrasound and received the shock of her life: She was going to have more than one baby. The siblings would become inseparable.
Early in their elementary lives, the twins were especially close because the family moved about every three to four years. Their mother always requested that the siblings be assigned to the same classroom, which made it easier knowing that they were in the same place at all times, especially in a new community where it could be hard to make new friends.
However, eventually, it was bound to happen: a boiling point of contention.
As elementary-age children, DeLancey, who was about a foot shorter than Shelby, was on the short end of a scrap with other youngsters. In stepped “big” sister Shelby, who is two minutes older than her brother.
“I went over and tried to stand up for him. And he just yelled at me, ‘Get away, you are just making it worse. Just leave me alone!’” she says, laughing.
“Sometimes you just don’t want to have your little sister sticking up for you,” DeLancey sheepishly admits.
Now, DeLancey is a lanky 6-footer, while Shelby is the petite, outgoing sibling.
They were glad that they spent their final years of high school in one spot.
“But, before then, when we moved to a new school, people thought we were dating because we hung out together all the time. We did not look alike. That’s when I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, I don’t want to be a twin anymore,’” Shelby says.
DeLancey remembers always favoring the outdoors, dragging his sister along on many fishing outings in the summer and even convincing her to come along on one of his many hunting trips.
“DeLancey was with me when I got my first deer outside of Burlington,” she proudly proclaims.
As they got older, they both ran cross country for the Warriors, but DeLancey only did it to get in shape for the wrestling season. Both were active in sports: DeLancey also played football and soccer, while Shelby also competed in indoor and outdoor track.
They were resigned to the fact that they were going to be independent of each other once they graduated from WHS. Instead, they both ended up at the same college.
Even though they never shared classes, they always managed to find each other at UW. One of Shelby’s best friends is DeLancey’s current girlfriend.
“After our freshman year, we both moved out of the dorms. When we were looking for our own housing our sophomore year, I found a house with my roommate north of campus,” Shelby says. “DeLancey’s roommate found a house for him, and we ended up just two blocks from each other. It wasn’t even on purpose.”
“She’s always walking past my house to get to class. We haven’t been too far apart, even when we were living in different neighborhoods,” DeLancey adds.
Shelby says after their freshman year, they really tried to make new friends and find outside interests from each other.
“We tried to branch out more and get away from each other to kind of do our own thing,” she says. “But, it really didn’t work out too well, because we still hang out a lot.”
As they get ready to graduate, the twins have prepared for not being a part of each other’s daily lives. DeLancey and Shelby have always held summer jobs in various Wyoming communities.
“We’re used to going our separate ways now,” DeLancey says.
They will live on separate ends of the state after graduation, embarking on new professional careers outside of UW.
“When you do everything together with the same person right up into graduating college, you get really close to someone,” Shelby adds. “We have our own interests now, but we will always be close.”