For Immediate Release
Robert Redford in Bellbottoms, Civil War-Era Guns, Marty Robbins Cowboy Tunes; Cody Celebrates Heritage of American West with Array of Classic Travel Experiences
CODY, Wyo., April 15, 2014 – When travelers see the photo of a youthful, shaggy-haired Robert Redford wearing white bellbottoms and carrying a coffin, they are quite certain they’re not in Kansas anymore. Hung on the ancient wall of a tiny pioneer cabin at Old Trail Town in Cody, Wyo., the photo shows Redford helping to move the coffin containing the remains of Jeremiah “Liver Eating” Johnston, a mountain man Redford portrayed in the 1972 self-titled film.
Old Trail Town is one of Cody’s many attractions that make Cody and the surrounding area a prime destination for learning about western Wyoming’s significant role in establishing the culture and heritage of the American West.
“There is a distinct retro feel in many places in town, and we believe that preserving our proud heritage – and introducing visitors to it – is an important part of our role,” said Claudia Wade, executive director of the Park County Travel Council, the region’s marketing arm. “And while many of our museums, historic sites and other attractions have adopted modern, interactive displays and exhibits to help tell their stories, many other experiences are much the same as they have been for years.”
Wade noted that generations of travelers experienced their very first rodeo in Cody. “Cody Nite Rodeo has been running for more than 75 years, and many visiting adults tell us they experienced their very first rodeo here when they were kids on vacation,” she said. “There is a timeless quality to the evening’s events, and the series of competitions proceeds much the same as it has for years. There is something for visitors of every age to enjoy. The youngest fans love the clowns, everyone loves the barrel racing, teenage boys are especially interested in bull riding, and teenage girls, are particularly attentive to, well, the cowboys.”
Here is a sampling of other classic vacation experiences in Cody:
Dude ranches. Dude ranches, more commonly called guest ranches these days, have been a staple of the Western vacation experience for more than a century. Cody has played an integral part of the evolution of these vacation getaways. The term “dude” originally referred to travelers from the East who would visit Western ranches and enjoy their hospitality while doing chores around the property. Today, there are dozens of dude and guest ranches situated throughout the region.
Buffalo Bill Center of the West. The massive, world-renowned Buffalo Bill Center of the West houses five superior museums under one modern roof, but the museum got its start in 1927 in a historic building across the street that now houses the Cody Country Art League. The Center of the West is comprised of the Buffalo Bill Museum, Cody Firearms Museum, Whitney Western Art Museum, Draper Museum of Natural History and Plains Indian Museum. The Center employs a variety of techniques – interactive displays, life-sized vintage photographs, exhibits – to engage and inspire visitors.
Cody Dug Up Gun Museum. While this fun and family-friendly museum has only been open for five years, it houses a collection of relic guns and weapons throughout American history. This is a must-see for travelers interested in guns and history.
Cody Gunfighters. The place to be at 6 p.m. on summer evenings is outside the historic Irma Hotel to watch the supremely entertaining Cody Gunfighters engage in Western skits that always end of up in a gunfight, generally over a damsel in distress. Kids learn about gun safety and parents enjoy a classic – and free – Cody experience performed by a fun-loving and slightly wacky group of locals.
Heart Mountain Interpretive Center. This important interpretive center is situated at the site of the Heart Mountain Internment Camp, home to some 14,000 Japanese-American citizens – mostly from California – who were interned there following Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. Opened in August 2011, the Interpretive Center includes thoughtfully presented exhibits that explore that difficult period the country’s history.
Old Trail Town/Museum of the Old West. An enclave of 26 frontier buildings (one used by Butch Cassidy and his gang), Old Trail Town offers a built-in teaching moment. Astonished youngsters are often heard commenting about how small the houses were back then.
Tecumseh’s Old West Miniature Village and Museum. This room-sized, glass-enclosed diorama illustrates the history of the West by depicting important battles like the Battle of Little Bighorn, a buffalo jump and a fort under Sioux Indian attack. Hundreds of American Indian artifacts are also on display, including clothing, weapons and a hand-made wooden canoe.
Pahaska Tepee. This is where Buffalo Bill went to relax with friends such as Teddy Roosevelt and the Prince of Monaco. Built in 1904, this hunting lodge sits just outside the East Gate of Yellowstone National Park. It was called Pahaska after the nickname given to him by the local Indians; it means “long hair.” The rustic log lodge displays many gifts given to Cody by guests.
Buffalo Bill & Dam Visitor Center. If there’s someone in a group who likes to see how things work, they will thoroughly enjoy a visit to this 104-year-old dam. Water was as much a concern in the days of Buffalo Bill Cody as it is in the West today. Cody foresaw that and convinced the U.S. government to build a dam here to help conserve that precious resource. The dam is located six miles west of Cody.
Dan Miller’s Music Revue. Hailing from Nashville, singer Dan Miller and his Empty Saddles Band are celebrating their 10th anniversary of summer-season performances six nights a week in the historic Cody Theater building. Performances include a mix of songs harkening back to the days of cowboys on the trail, poetry and laugh-out-loud jokes. While this fun evening is relatively new to the Cody scene, the timeless songs and endearing stories are vintage.
Yellowstone Country is comprised of the towns of Cody, Powell and Meeteetse as well as the valley east of Yellowstone National Park.
The area of Park County is called “Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country” because it was the playground of Buffalo Bill Cody himself. Buffalo Bill founded the town of Cody in 1896, and the entire region was driven and is still heavily influenced by the vision of the Colonel. Today its broad streets, world-class museum Buffalo Bill Center of the West and thriving western culture host nearly 1 million visitors annually.
The Park County Travel Council website (www.codyyellowstone.org) lists information about vacation packages, special events, guide services, weather and more. Travelers wishing to arrange vacation can also call the Park County Travel Council at 1-800-393-2639.