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125 Pounds of Grit: Buffalo Bill and the...

March 26th, 2018 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Yesterday, drivers from the trifecta of home delivery services – the U. S. Postal Service, UPS and Federal Express – rang the doorbell at my home in Cody and dropped off packages with an inane array of everyday stuff: shampoo, batteries, a shirt and some athletic shoes. It reminded me of just how easy it is for packages to be delivered from there to here these days. But I still prefer to buy my Dan Miller CDs in person.

William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody would have been amused, I think. He was just 11 when his father died, leaving behind a wife, four daughters and William. As the only man in the family, off to work went William.

Most of his early jobs involved getting stuff from one place to another. He drove an ox-team at the age of 11, became a messenger boy on a westbound bull train at the age of 12 and was promoted to assistant wagon master at 13. When he turned 14 – an age when boys today are playing “Zombicide Black Plague” (I’m not kidding; that’s what my sister’s 14-year- old son plays with his friends) – Buffalo Bill Cody embarked on his third career: Pony Read More


How Buffalo Bill Got His Name

March 12th, 2018 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

We were this close to having a Buffalo Bill Comstock, but fortunately for all of us, Colonel William F. Cody was a savvy billiards player.

The story of how the founder of my little town of Cody, Wyoming earned his world-famous nickname is quirky, grisly and difficult to believe. Story elements include fierce competition, a ruthless lady and a testosterone-fueled feat of endurance. It is a story that could have been concocted by Zane Gray and turned into a Hollywood production by John Ford. I can envision Clint Eastwood in the starring role, assuming he could grow the mustache. In this case, though, truth is stranger than fiction.

After the Civil War where he served with distinction as a Union scout and soldier in the cavalry, 21-year- old William F. Cody put his sharpshooter skills to work as a buffalo hunter charged with supplying meat to railroad workers along the Kansas Pacific Railroad.

In just 18 months, he shot 4,282 buffalo. That’s about 13 bison a day. The man was busy. (Buffalo, by the way, was the incorrect but common term back then for the then-plentiful American Bison that roamed the prairie in herds so vast that they appeared to be massive, moving brown spots on the earth when witnessed from atop the Read More


That Time Buffalo Bill Cody Rode for Royalty

February 12th, 2018 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

I have been watching “The Crown” nearly every night so far of this cold, frosty February. I can’t get enough of it. I’m fascinated by the slice-of- life stories of a young and dignified Queen of England as she faces crisis after crisis, standing large and strong against a rotating roster of stodgy parliamentarians – all men – as they cajole and connive to maintain their powerful positions.

Google that scene where Queen Elizabeth takes Winston Churchill to task for putting his own pride before the security of the country. Trust me; it’s fun.

While I’m certainly happy that we don’t have a monarchy here in the U.S., our country’s founders having had the good sense to eschew curtsies, crowns and excessive pageantry in favor of a three-branch government of laws, I do have a certain fondness for all things royal. So did Buffalo Bill Cody.

In the spring of 1887, Buffalo Bill Cody boarded the “State of Nebraska,” a massive steamship, along with some 200 performers – cowboys, sharpshooters, musicians, American Indians – as well as 180 horses, 18 bison, 10 elk, 10 mules, five steers and a variety of items for set construction including a stagecoach and materials to build temporary tepees and log cabins. After many days sailing through stormy Read More


What if Buffalo Bill Had the Internet?

November 4th, 2015 by Park County Travel Council | Comments (2)

A couple of weeks ago, the Cody Enterprise ran a story with the news that William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody would be inducted into the Wyoming Business Hall of Fame in November, and that story has been the talk of the town ever since.

It’s been 98 years since Buffalo Bill died, but historians are still examining the impact he made on the town he founded as well as his business acumen.

Buffalo Bill Cody was the most famous man of his time.

My friends and I were discussing the story and we started speculating about what would have happened if Buffalo Bill had lived with access to our modern-day Internet. Just for fun, here are some of our fantastical ideas:

The logistics of coordinating “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show” would have been a comparative breeze. The Wild West Show included hundreds of performers as well as animals, and Buffalo Bill had to make sure they were fed, housed and healthy. They also had to practice their performances, perform the shows and then pack up and move on to the next location. Every performer would have had a smart phone, and Buffalo Bill could have emailed critiques of their performances, texted their practice Read More


Two Great Days in One

June 18th, 2015 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

This Sunday marks the convergence of two of my favorite days – the Summer Solstice and Father’s Day.

On the solstice I like to conduct my annual “as-long-as-it’s-daylight-I-am-doing-something” day. It’s sort of a weeklong Cody vacation compressed into 16½ hours. That means I am outside and active. I know a few people who could spend the whole day in a saddle, on the river or hiking a trail. I plan on doing all of those things and more.

The Cody area provides many opportunities to take a scenic hike.

This year will be special, however, as I have convinced my father (he doesn’t like it when I refer to him as “my old man”) to join me. That means we have to eat our breakfast and be out of the house by the time the sun rises officially at 5:31 a.m. That won’t be a problem for an old rancher like my father who has been getting up early pretty much all of his life. The hard part will be keeping him awake until the sun sets at 9:04 p.m.

I thought we would start with a hike to help get the blood pumping and to take advantage of our cool Cody mornings. Read More


Cody Holidays Like No Others

May 4th, 2015 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Like many of my townsfolk here in Cody, I took Friday off. At least in spirit, I did.

No, it’s not an early Cinco de Mayo, and I am not like my accountant who celebrates the end of tax season by turning out the lights, locking the doors and sneaking off for her version of Spring Break (or as I call it, “CPAs Gone Wild”).

It takes weeks for plows to clear snow and ice from the Cody/Yellowstone East Entrance Road.

I read the other day that the director of our chamber of commerce thinks May 1 should be a town holiday because the East Gate of Yellowstone National Park opened that day. Even though said gate is 52 spectacular miles up the Buffalo Bill Scenic Byway, we see a marked change in the traffic patterns as out-of-town visitors return for the season.

Let’s face it. We in Cody love our tourists, in fact many refer to them as “guests”. Several of our businesses are built upon visitors who have discovered over the years just how much there is to do on a Wyoming Vacation. The mixture of new, returning and multi-generational visitors has created an atmosphere that makes a visit to Cody Read More


Cody/Yellowstone Country — Unplugged

October 28th, 2014 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

I appreciate the irony that comes with my telling you – in a blog read by people on computers, tablets and phones – that around here in Yellowstone Country we are pretty good at riding horses, fishing for trout and putting away our electronics.

Sure, the cell phone coverage in Cody is good and a wi-fi connection is easily found. The cable company was my friend this week as I watched baseball’s World Series and Thursday Night Football featuring the Broncos and Chargers. I might even have caught up on a guilty pleasure (slow down, Jax) or two.

A vacation in Cody, however, is best done when you unplug. I get it that sometimes you need to check your e-mail or follow up with someone back in the office. I have one friend whose attitude is that cell phones should be confiscated at the airport (or the Wyoming border if you are driving) and there should be rules against their use on city streets, in parks, at the beach and basically anywhere within three miles of him when he is outside. Even though I have pointed out to one him for several years now that connectivity allows me to get away more Read More


Finding the Familiar in Yellowstone Country

August 11th, 2014 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Like most people, I have two sides of my personality and like to keep them balanced.

I love spontaneity and wandering into new towns and places and stores. Cody, Wyoming is always full of new faces and license plates from all of the states and provinces. When I hear a foreign accent my first thought is to wonder where those people are from. If I can figure out a way to strike up a conversation I love learning what brought them here for a Wyoming vacation.

What I’ve found through the years, however, is that after meeting new people, visiting new places and enjoying new experiences, I start to feel out of balance. When I lived in the big city, my “cool” friend Brian told me why I was feeling blue one day.

“You’re ‘jonesing’ for that small town where you know every other person in the grocery store and all the words to the songs of your beloved cowboy music,” he said.

And he was right. Every now and then I simply needed a trip to Cody to get myself balanced.

Even though I moved back, it still happens. Thanks to Brian’s observation I have figured out the cure to dealing with too many Read More


Halfway Through Summer in Cody, Wyoming

July 22nd, 2014 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

While the official halfway point of the summer is in early August since summer officially starts June 21 and officially ends September 21, I know better. Summer starts Memorial Day weekend and ends Labor Day weekend.

That makes midsummer right about…now, and I would like to report that the first half of this summer in Cody, Wyoming has been terrific with the forecast for continued fun and classic western experiences.

Kids gather round the rodeo clown after chasing two calves in the rodeo arena.

Here are some of the highlights for me so far.

1) My nephew won the prize for catching the calf at the Cody Nite Rodeo. Every year he has given it his best effort, and this was finally the year it paid off. If you have never seen 100 kids trying to get the bandana tied to a calf’s tail in the rodeo arena you are missing out.

2) The runoff has been high and the rafting fast. I ran a section of the North Fork of the Shoshone River in near-record time and was happy that I scheduled the longer run farther down river. It was a hot day, and the water never felt better.

3) I attended the National Read More


Do what Peter Greenberg says and plan your...

April 25th, 2014 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Last Saturday I was up early, got myself nice and caffeinated, found my grandmother’s recipe for extra-strength borax cleaner, mixed up a batch, donned my industrial rubber gloves, zeroed in on the dust bunnies accumulating under the kitchen table, turned the TV to CBS This Morning Saturday, turned back to the dust bunnies and stopped in my tracks. Because right then, I heard CBS travel expert Peter Greenberg recommend a vacation in Cody as a place to spend your tax return.

The dust bunnies could wait. Peter knows a little something about Cody. He was here a few months ago to do a Peter Greenberg Worldwide radio program, and he talked with several of our local experts on the history and offerings in our town. He called Cody “a place where the wild West still lives,” and he talked about many of our unique attractions like the Cody Nite Rodeo and the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.

The Scout statue: Buffalo Bill astride his horse – outside the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.

Now, Peter has been all over the world, and his credentials as a travel reporter are as long and impressive as the list of Read More