There is so much going on in Yellowstone Country during the late summer and fall, this cowgirl is going to have to do some serious prioritizing. With scribbles in the margins, blacked-out dates and notes-to-self like “don’t miss,” “must do,” and “top priority,” practically every weekend day for the next two months, I am going to have to make some hard decisions.
Here’s an example. During the last weekend in July, there are three major events that I want to experience, and only two days to do it. Marked on my calendar as a “don’t miss,” the annual Heart Mountain Pilgrimage July 28-30 is close to my heart. Each year the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation invites historians, authors and other experts to participate in insightful panel discussions that reflect the significance of the site where 14,000 Japanese-Americans were incarcerated during World War II. There are also documentaries and exhibits. How can I miss that?
That same weekend, the “must do” Historic Pitchfork Ranch Tour explores the Pitchfork Ranch – a historically and biologically significant ranch in the Greybull River Basin where The Nature Conservancy worked with the owners to create a protected place for wildlife like elk, pronghorn, black bear, cutthroat trout and grizzly bears. This is where the black-footed ferret, a species thought to be extinct, was discovered in 1981. If this sounds familiar, it’s because the discovery made international news. How can I miss that?
My calendar also tells me that the “top priority” for the weekend is to attend the always-fun Park County Fair, with its livestock events, carnival rides, stage acts and 4H competitions. This is authentic Western fun at its best. Seriously, how can I miss that?
You see my dilemma, don’t you?
It gets worse.
During the Sept. 7-9 period, there are four things I want to do, and they’re all marked “don’t miss.” There’s the Yellowstone Quilt Festival that I always find fascinating. How can someone make such exquisite art using only needle and thread? And how do they remain sane when they do that? I can’t miss it.
Then there is the Trapper Stampede Rodeo at Stampede Park. The Northwest College rodeo competitors are cowboy tough, every one of them, and it is always fun to see the talents of up-and-coming rodeo performers. Plus, it’s a rodeo, for Pete’s sake. One of those Western traditions that I’ve embraced all my life. I can’t miss it.
That same weekend, there’s also the Homesteader Days Festival. You can watch demonstrations of antique machinery and learn about farming and homesteading on the frontier. It’s like my heritage comes to life.
And there’s also the Wyoming Desperados Regional Mounted Shooting Competition, when skilled marksmen demonstrate their finely-honed skills. I can’t miss it.
About those hard decisions and priorities. Clearly I cannot miss any of these events, and so many others like it. Something must give, however. So, dear neighbors, if my grass gets too long, it’s because I’ve missed my mowing time. Book club friends, if I miss the next session, it’s because I didn’t read the book. Mom, if I miss the dust on the bookshelf, it’s because I haven’t cleaned house in two months.
Until next time, I’m loving live and vowing not to miss out on the fun here in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country.