So what do you get a guy heading into his 18th decade?
Around here that is a legitimate question since Feb. 26 marks Buffalo Bill Cody’s 170th birthday. Because we have thrown parties for reasons significantly less important, this event will be commemorated by a lot more than cake in the company break room.
Here in Cody we will start things off on his birthday – Friday, Feb. 26 – with the Cody High School FFA’s annual wreath-laying ceremony at the sculpture Buffalo Bill – The Scout at 11 a.m. Artist Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney created this sculpture, and it was instrumental in the development of the Whitney Gallery of Western Art and the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.
From 5-7 p.m. that day the Center of the West will host the “Buffalo Bill Birthday Bash” featuring the Buffalo Bill Band, birthday cake, light hors d’oeuvres, family activities and a cash bar.
The next day will see “Buffalo Bill Birthday Ball” at the town’s Wolfville Hall from 5-11 p.m. One of Cody’s major events, the Buffalo Bill Birthday Ball features music, dancing, dinner and Wild West entertainment. The entire community (21 and over, please) is invited to this annual event held on the fourth Saturday in February and declared “Buffalo Bill Day” by official proclamation of the Cody City Council.
With an event this huge (huuuuge), you can understand my excitement. I don’t really need to run down to the store for a birthday gift, but I like to think of what I would get our town’s founder if we had lived at the same time.
What about a piece of furniture? Famed designer/builder Thomas Molesworth called Cody home and was highly successful selling his work to easterners who visited our area and fell in love with his chairs, sofas, chests and more. Today Cody is home to several true artists who have been creating furniture made of local materials such as wood, leather and antlers.
I thought about naming something after Buffalo Bill, but the town, dam, state park, scenic byway, museum and various buildings are already taken.
Experiences are great, and I bet he would love our music scene and feel right at home listening to some our pickers on their acoustic guitars.
How about a day on the slopes at Sleeping Giant? My guess is that anyone who spent as much time in the saddle as Bill Cody would have good balance. He would probably love snowmobiling on our trails as well.
I bet Cody would love to climb a waterfall. With our porous volcanic soil, hills and water drainages, we have the highest concentration of frozen waterfalls in the Lower 48 states. Our ice climbing takes a back seat to no one and provides thrills that someone like Buffalo Bill himself would have loved.
A visit to Heart Mountain WWII Interpretive Center, a Japanese internment camp which once housed nearly 14,000 Japanese-American citizens during World War II. If there is one thing I have learned about Colonel Cody it is that he respected his fellow human beings. He believed in women’s rights and treated the various races and nationalities in his Wild West Show well. He would not like the internment of our citizens, but he would be moved by Heart Mountain.
I am sure that if I continue thinking I will come up with the perfect gift.
In the meantime, I am lovin’ life in Cody, Wyo.