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Thanksgiving at the Corrie N. Cody House

November 13th, 2018 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

It’s the most wonderful day of the year, and I’m not talking about that December holiday when the fat man brings gadgets and Dads and Moms double-check their supply of AA batteries.

No, the most wonderful day of the year is Thanksgiving, at least at the Corrie N. Cody household. Every year, my house swells with the love and friendship of my guests, and my dining room table groans under the weight of abundance. Like many tables in the country, mine will include a variety of casseroles, salads, sides and sweets that reflect the ethnic heritage and the family traditions of my guests.

I’m always in charge of the turkey, dressing, gravy and green bean casserole. Oui. That green bean casserole. The one that includes French fried onion rings from a can, fresh from the factory and lacking anything resembling an onion.

I make that casserole to honor my Uncle Jim, who I miss dearly. His lack of culinary sophistication was legend in my family. He would eat anything with equal relish – a stale potato chip dipped in ketchup, dill pickles with leftover tomato soup, mashed potatoes with chocolate sauce. Uncle Jim never talked about how he was starved as a prisoner Read More


Enduring Friendships – With Fireworks

October 30th, 2018 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

We all have that one friend. Or if we are supremely lucky, those handful of friends. Whatever you need, you can count on them, even if you don’t know you need it.

They are the ones who bring you homemade chicken soup when you are sick or teasingly bully you into doing another set of squats at the gym. They offer advice when asked and listen to your woes without judgment. And they always – always – defend and promote your honor.

Buffalo Bill Cody had one of those friends, and her name was Caroline.

Thing is, they weren’t particularly close.

Caroline Lockhart was a barrier-breaker just like the founder of the town where she chose to move. A successful novelist at a time when most women in the country didn’t even have the right to vote, the ambitious, talented and nationally famous Lockhart had produced several bestselling novels by the early 1900s. She was wry, quick-witted and an intuitive news-maker.

She also was notorious. She drank hard liquor at a time when many prominent citizens enthusiastically supported the coming Prohibition. She had many male friends, but she never married. She was also sentimental, and she loved the Old West. She celebrated with her pen Read More


Psst, Want to Win a Free Trip to the 100th...

October 25th, 2018 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

I love chatting up multi-generational vacationers. They are easy to spot as the little ones clearly enjoy being with the grandparents, and the grandparents enjoy spoiling the little ones. Meanwhile, the parents get to escape work, house maintenance and back-to-school shopping while “letting” the grandparents pick up dinner checks and buy souvenirs.

For many of these families, this is not their first trip to the coolest Western town ever. The parents and grandparents are busy pointing out local landmarks that really haven’t changed much. The Irma Hotel and other Sheridan Avenue structures look much the same. The Poker Church is a comforting site, and Cassie’s is a constant reminder of simpler times.

The one thing the older generations remember best, however, is our status as the “Rodeo Capital of the World.”

When I asked older (non-kid) visitors what they remember about their childhood visits to Cody and the area, far and away the most common answer is “the rodeo.”

Yes, we love our rodeo, and nobody remembers when it was not an integral part of our community. While the Nite Rodeo happens every night in June, July and August, the biggest summer event is the Cody Stampede Rodeo at the beginning of July.

In 2019, Read More


The Woman Who Wrangled the Cody Stampede

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

When hundreds of celebrants gather at the Cody Stampede grounds on July 4 to experience the 99th-annual Cody Stampede Rodeo, they can thank the relentless efforts of Caroline Lockhart for the fun.

The everyday frustrations of running the Cody Stampede caused Caroline Lockhart to complain that she didn’t have enough time to pursue her passion of horseback riding. ( Archival photos courtesy of theAmerican Heritage Center.)

A prominent citizen who had earned fame and financial independence as author of Western novels – some which were made into major movies – it was Lockhart’s vision that led to the creation of the world-renowned Cody Stampede, which is consistently named one of the top rodeos in the world.

Caroline Lockhart flouted societal norms such as drinking alcohol at a time most citizens supportedProhibition. She was known to through raucous drinking parties at her home.

Lockhart was well-known to the citizens of Cody, and she gleefully flouted societal norms. At a time when traditional domestic life was the primary option for women, she juggled multiple boyfriends but never married. She unapologetically and publicly drank when most Cody citizens voted for Prohibition. She was a passionate horsewoman who jubilantly supported almost any initiative that promoted Western Read More


Dear Corrie

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

Well, with peak season upon us there is no shortage of activities and foreign languages being heard around town. As someone who loves meeting people from all walks of life, I could not be happier.

As our town ambassador, I get all of the tough questions and have not heard one for which I don’t have an answer. Here are a few that have been thrown my way recently.

Dear Corrie, I heard you are like me – one of those people who refuses to sleep between sunrise and sunset. I took a trip to Denali a few years ago, and I came down with a pretty bad case of sleep deprivation that caused me to mistake my husband for an Alaskan brown bear. I’m thinking of celebrating the summer solstice in Cody, but I don’t want to jeopardize my marriage (again) by not getting enough shuteye. Will it be safe to visit?

– Sleepless in Ottumwa

Dear Sleepless, As long as you don’t mind rolling out of bed at 5:30 a.m. and waiting until shortly after 10 p.m. to shut off the lights, you’ll be fine. Our longest days of the year last about 15½ hours. Come join me on my annual quest to make as much hay as possible while the sun Read More


Countdown to the Cody Nite Rodeo

April 23rd, 2018 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

In just a couple of months, the Cody Nite Rodeo Bus will once again be entertaining visitors and locals alike to Cody’s rodeo grounds for the nightly Cody Nite Rodeo. The longest-running rodeo in the world – and the only one that is performed every night of the summer season – Cody Nite Rodeo is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year.

The gates open on June 1 at 7 p.m., and I’ll be one of the first ones in line. I’ve heard some very good things about the athletic prowess and equestrian skills of the newest crop of cowboys and cowgirls who will be performing in traditional events like bull riding, team roping and barrel racing. Every night, these talented athletes compete for substantial award money and the right to compete in future events.

The Cody Nite Rodeo season runs from June 1 to Aug. 31.

Having never pursued the barrel racing that was so popular among some young women back in my youth, I’m always gratified to see new generations of who dig into their turns at speeds that make me dizzy. They, like their male counterparts, are fearless.

Cody Nite Rodeo was started by a former Wild West Show performer whose colorful name, Carly Darling, seemed somehow fitting for a 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


Why This is the Year to Experience the...

February 5th, 2018 by Park County Travel Council | Comments (2)

I realize the days are still short – but, yay, getting longer – and many of us are tired of winter, but it’s a great time to think of our summer plans.

Personally, I love spontaneous trips, but there are times when planning a vacation is just plain fun. My sister-in-law told me in the fall she had signed up for a group tour to visit China this spring. As we exchanged e-mails and spoke on the phone I found myself wishing I was going with her. She didn’t invite me, so I just had to make do with researching her itinerary and buying her some guidebooks for Christmas. I also added a similar trip to my “Some Day” list.

Last year I thoroughly enjoyed learning about some self-guided walking and biking tours in an unnamed location north and west of my beloved Cody, Wyoming, and I followed through with a vacation that was equal parts active, relaxing and educational. That sounds a lot like my life, except the vacation did not include cowboy musicians.

As part of my job, people ask me for recommendations for accommodations, food, shopping, hiking trails, fishing streams and the like. A common question revolves around “secret” times Read More


Not My First Rodeo

January 22nd, 2018 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

My niece was six when her family packed up the Chevy, locked up their heartland home and pointed the car in the direction of Cody/Yellowstone Country.

Like so many other Western-bound road-trippers, the family took their time so they could enjoy the pleasure of free ice water at Wall Drug, observe the giant sculpted faces of four of our favorite U.S. presidents and drive through the massive national park known for its fossils of ancient mammals, weird geologic deposits and grasslands before arriving in Cody.

With me as enthusiastic tour guide, we did it all. We toured Yellowstone, lingered for hours exploring Buffalo Bill Center of the West, and of course, watched the Cody Nite Rodeo.

Cody Nite Rodeo will begin its 80th season of nightly summer rodeo on June 1.

Of all the things we did and saw, my niece loved the rodeo most of all. She loved the clowns, the hats, the horses. And even at a young age, she couldn’t stop talking about the athleticism of the young cowboys who gave it their all.

Last year my now-teenage niece returned for a stay with Aunt Corrie, and we of course went to the Cody Nite Rodeo. Her enthusiasm for this classic event remained, although this time largely because she Read More


Comparing Notes With Other Tourism Folks

February 28th, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

I don’t know about you, but I can always tell what time of year it is here in Cody without even looking at the calendar. Colorful lights means Christmas is approaching. The first day I see that huge car with the loudspeakers bolted on the roof and longhorns attached to the hood means the start of June and the Cody Nite Rodeo. Dan Miller walking down the street in a cupid outfit must mean that it’s Valentine’s Day.

Okay, I made that last one up. But I can hope…

Cody, the wildest way into Yellowstone.

If it’s late in February, it must mean that I have just gotten home from the Wyoming Governor’s Conference on Tourism. We all know that Wyoming is a big state, and I am reminded of our glorious open spaces, soaring mountain ranges and stunning beauty when I make my annual drive to our state capital of Cheyenne every year for the conference.

I lived in the big city where there are more people crammed into 10 square miles than we have in our whole state of almost 100,000 square miles (97,818 to be exact), and I am reminded of one of the main reasons I came home and Read More