Buffalo Bill Cody


Buffalo Bill Cody

PhotoBB-02: Photograph, William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody with rifle and saddle, ca. 1900. Photo hand-colored by Adolf Spohr, 1958. Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody, Wyoming. Gift of Richard I. Frost. P.69.1483

Born February 26, 1846, Colonel William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody began his “Wild West” career at the tender age of 11, when he was an ox-team driver. Later, at 14 years-old, he became one of the youngest Pony Express riders. It wasn’t until 1867 that William F. Cody claimed the name “Buffalo Bill”. While under the employment of the Kansas Pacific Railroad as a buffalo meat provider, Buffalo Bill participated in a buffalo hunting contest, shooting 69 buffalo!

Buffalo Bill Cody’s show-business career was set in motion following a plea from the townsfolk of North Platte. Bill Cody was asked to organize a western event to celebrate the Fourth of July. The Old Glory Blowout, staged by Cody in 1882, has been dubbed the beginning of the rodeo in the U.S. The following year, Cody unveiled the greatest western spectacle: Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show.

Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show recruited real cowboys and cowgirls from various ranches in the West. The show featured headlining performers such as Annie Oakley and “Wild Bill” Hickok, demonstrating bronco riding, roping and other rodeo-type skills. After a successful tour of the United States and a special invite to England, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show quickly rose to international fame. In 1896, Buffalo Bill returned to Wyoming and founded the town of Cody. The rest, as they say, is history!

Today, the Buffalo Bill Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West pays tribute to the successful showman with Buffalo Bill’s very own personal collection of his life in the West.