Corrie n. Cody's Travel Blog Dividing image

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

March Makes Me Think of our First National...

March 5th, 2018 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

When the beginning of March rolls around a lot of people I know start talking about Major League Baseball’s spring training or the pro football draft or the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Not me.

Instead I am reminded how fortunate I am to live in a place where people from all over the world make their way to enjoy the world’s largest concentration of geysers and the valley featuring the finest wolf watching in the Lower 48 states. In addition to natural features, people take in tours of the coolest log structure ever built – the Old Faithful Inn – and stop for photos next to a stone arch named after a U.S. president with the foresight and commitment to set aside public lands.

That’s right. I am talking about the World’s First National Park. On March 1, 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant signed the bill setting aside 3,468.4 square miles (close to 2.2 million acres) to create Yellowstone National Park. Now, I know a few people in California who argue that the other “Y” park has a legitimate claim to being the first national park, but these Yosemite Sams lose me with their convoluted explanations about land grants and such.

Here are a few of my favorite facts about Yellowstone.

Yellowstone has 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

Cody’s Cousin’s California Casa

January 8th, 2018 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Contrary to rumors floating around town, I do manage to get away from Cody, Yellowstone, Powell, Meeteetse and the surrounding area. There is more to life than listening to cowboy music, fishing for trout, hiking and riding some of the finest trails anywhere, breaking in new boots and chatting up tourists from pretty much everywhere.

When I received an invitation from an old friend to attend her wedding in Palm Springs I responded that I would be there in less time than it takes a Nite Rodeo cowboy to rope and tie a calf. Not only do I love the desert and always enjoy living it up with old friends, but I felt some inexplicable pull toward the area. I could not put my finger on it, but I just wanted to be there.

I booked my flight and a hotel room close to the main drag, called Palm Canyon Drive. The street reminded me of Cody’s own Sheridan Avenue, with its abundant restaurants, shops, galleries and a very high level of walkability.

The main street in Palm Springs, with its fun shops and restaurants, reminds Corrie of Cody’s ownSheridan Ave.

Once I arrived I took a walk around the downtown and the adjacent Tennis Club area. I had this strange feeling Read More

For the Best Yellowstone Vacation, Start...

March 14th, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

As winter gives way to spring, I start to hear from old friends who are thinking about their summer vacations. Invariably, they ask for my counsel on planning a summer vacation to my slice of paradise. Specifically, they usually want my help visiting Yellowstone National Park and our area.

I am always happy to share my knowledge as well as my recommendations about what to do, where to stay and which cowboy musician is telephone number-worthy.

While each vacation will be different, there are several things I always recommend.

First of all, the best way to appreciate a Yellowstone vacation is to start it in Cody, Wyo., the wildest way in to the world’s first national park.

The first stop I recommend is to go to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West and head to the Draper Natural History Museum. At the Draper’s top level, you can look at a floor map of the region that helps you get your bearings and see where Cody, Park County, the park and the whole Yellowstone ecosystem fit together. From that top level are ramps that go down in a counter clockwise pattern with interpretive displays on specific topics such as the area’s wildlife, how forest Read More

Dude, I want to share a secret with you.

March 7th, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Did you know the term “Dude” actually originated here in Cody, Wyo.? No, it’s not from the surfer beaches of California or a junior high locker room.

Back when the park – we locals refer to Yellowstone as “the park” – was still a baby in the 1870s the people who made a living taking tourists around the thermal features came up with the term to describe any visitor from the East. The term quickly evolved to describe anyone who hired a guide to show them the West and our lifestyle.

Being proud Westerners, ranchers often hosted guests who wanted to stay for a week or two or three and experience the cowboy life. It did not take long, however, before enough people started visiting that it became prohibitively costly for the ranchers to shelter and feed these visitors.

The answer to this dilemma? Ranchers began reluctantly asking their guests to pay a fee to stay and help with chores around the property. The guests were more than happy to pay these fees, and a new segment of the hospitality industry was born.

The first “dude ranch” dates back to the 1880s and was the Custer Trail Ranch in the Dakota Badlands east of Read More

Marking Up My February Calendar

February 1st, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

I like dates…the ones on the calendar as well as the ones with cowboys. And today my mind is on both kinds.

The calendar dates I’ve been thinking about lately are cause for celebration and reflection.

Ice climbers from all over the world come for the Cody Ice Climbing Festival held President’s Day weekend.

February 12, 13 and 14 is, as everyone knows, Valentine’s Day Weekend. And I have a very special date with a very special cowboy, although what he has planned for me may make some city-slickers cringe. On Friday we’re pulling out our crampons and heading to the 18th Annual Cody Ice Climbing Festival. With more than 300 frozen waterfalls in our South Fork Valley, there is some world-class vertical ice climbing. I’ve gotten pretty good at this over the years, and we’re both looking forward to some multi-pitch climbs and getting together with our frosty friends.

Then if we still have the energy, my beau and I will head to the 7th Annual Ice Fishing Derby at the Sunshine Reservoir in Meeteetse. Ice fishing is huge in these parts, and we all want bragging rights for our catches during the derby. I didn’t do so well last year, but Read More

The Art of Cody

January 12th, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Comments (2)

During the post-holiday winter months, I often find myself seeking inspiration. And I frequently find it in Cody’s art.

Ranging from a bold and richly detailed mural showing the history of the region’s Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) community to a whimsical painting of bare-bottomed cowgirls, the art that can be found in Cody reflects our wild Western town’s collective attitude of independence, ambition and respect for tradition and history. As a life-long student of history, I also enjoy that many of the town’s most famous pieces of art come with an interesting and sometimes quirky back story.

Here are a few of the places I visited on a recent free weekend.

The Cody Mural/Historic Site. A great example of artistic story-telling, the Cody Mural Historic Site is located in the rotunda of the LDS Church in downtown Cody, this ambitious painting by Chicago artist Edward Grigware depicts the beginning of the church and experiences of early members during their exodus from the East to Utah. The artist was not a member of the church so he spent nearly a year studying the history of the church and their expansion into the West, and his stunning interpretation draws visitors of Read More

How Buffalo Bill Influenced a Generation...

December 14th, 2015 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Those of us who live in Cody, Wyoming sometimes forget that our town founder was a world traveler and his legend reached many corners of the globe, even long after his death.

Of course we all know about how his “Wild West Show” touched Europe, and how his friendship with Queen Victoria resulted in the magnificent gift of a Cherrywood bar that still graces Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel today. I thought I knew most of the stories about Col. William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody. I was wrong

The cherrywood backbar given to Buffalo Bill by Queen Victoria.

Here’s the story:

In the 1950s, more than a century after Buffalo Bill’s birth in Le Claire, Iowa, a generation of disenfranchised young men and women in the African nation of Congo, and in particular, the city of Kinshasa, found a role model in the pop culture version of Buffalo Bill. At that time, Buffalo Bill’s legend was popularized and romanticized in movies and TV shows. The actors who portrayed Buffalo Bill were tough, masculine, and they always got the girl. Scenes of conflict between Cowboys and American Indians had a particularly heady effect on the youth in Congo, a country under the rule of Belgian 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