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The Talented Hands of Cody, Wyoming

CODY, Wyo., July 15, 2019 – It’s amazing what can be done with 14 phalanges, eight carpals and five metacarpals, especially if those phalanges, carpals and metacarpals are located in Cody, Wyoming.

Here in this small frontier town on the eastern edge of Yellowstone, many ultra-talented residents have created magic with their bare hands. That magic has taken many forms — art, music, furniture, crafts and stories – and it is displayed and shared in many ways for visitors to appreciate the raw talent of those hands.

“You have to hand it to Cody, there’s a great deal of talent packed into this little town that Buffalo Bill built,” said Claudia Wade, director of the Park County Travel Council, the marketing arm of the region that includes the northwestern Wyoming towns of Cody, Powell and Meeteetse as well as the eastern valley of Yellowstone. “Throughout the town’s 123-year history and even today, Cody has attracted talented people, and in a town like this, there’s a strong possibility those people will also be authentically colorful characters, which makes our continuing story that much more compelling.”

The creations of the region’s talented hands can be experienced in many of the town’s attractions, especially the new, aptly named “By Western Hands Gallery & Museum,” which opened earlier this summer. There, visitors can experience the creations of the region’s furniture-makers and craftsmen who are dedicated to preserving Western functional art and traditions. The facility includes a museum with displays of precious functional furniture created by local legend Thomas Molesworth and others, a gallery selling furniture and art created by top artists in the region and a training and education center offering degrees, internships and skill-building classes.

Cody’s talented hands touch many other classic attractions, from the skillful hands of cowboys performing at the Cody Nite Rodeo to the culinary creations found in restaurants along Sheridan Ave. Here are some examples:

Portrait photo of Estelle Ishigo, who has held captive in a Japanese American WWII interment camp.

Musical hands: Dan Miller, Hannah Miller and Wendy Corr comprise Dan Miller’s Cowboy Music Revue. Now in its 15th year, Cowboy Music Revue is performed six nights a week in the Buffalo Bill Music Hall. With the trio’s nimble hands playing a variety of string instruments, the singers perform an ever-changing array of ballads, country songs and cowboy poetry while the hands of the audience clap along during this good-humored, fun-for-everyone summer-season event.

Tragic hands: The sketches and watercolors of Estelle Ishigo document life at the Heart Mountain Japanese American WWII Confinement Site, one of many camps where Americans of Japanese descent were imprisoned during World War II. A Caucasian woman married to a Japanese-American man, Ishigo chose to join her husband in the camp rather than separate. Her heart-wrenching depictions are on display at the Heart Mountain WWII Visitor Center.

Friendly hands: Although it was a place of unimaginable horrors for suddenly-imprisoned Americans, Heart Mountain also was a place of hope, as evidenced by the story of former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson, a life-long resident of Cody, and former US Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta, who was interred with his family at Heart Mountain. Simpson and Mineta met as boy scouts – Heart Mountain and Cody scouting troops often explored Greater Yellowstone together – and the two became lifelong friends and political allies. Their story of friendship and support – told in displays at Heart Mountain – continues to inspire visitors.

Skillful hands: Each night throughout the summer, skilled cowboys and cowgirls display their roping and riding talents at the Cody Nite Rodeo in hopes of garnering prize money. With finesse and fierce competitive spirit, the performers continue a long tradition of rodeo in the West. Rodeos got their start in the 1800s, drawing inspiration from Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show and as a way for cowboys to relax and enjoy each other’s company while testing the skills they used every day on the Western frontier.

Dan Miller's Cowboy Music Revue performing

Literary hands: Ernest Hemingway’s legibly inked signature can be found in a guestbook on display in the lounge of the Chamberlin Inn, the charming boutique hotel where Hemingway stayed after he finished “Death in the Afternoon.” There are also local bookstores that offer the work of the region’s many authors.

Culinary hands: From the heavenly chocolate creations of Meeteetse’s Tim Kellogg, known as the Cowboy Chocolatier to the best prime rib in Wyoming served nightly at the Irma Hotel, chefs and their teams create an array of authentic goodies to please any visitors’ palate.

Sharpshooting hands: The expert staff at the Cody Firearms Experience, an indoor shooting range with an array of replica guns through history – rifles, pistols and even a Gatling gun – can teach any visitor to aim and shoot a gun safely. It’s a fun and educational experience, even for visitors who have never even held a gun.

Casting hands: The region’s abundant streams and ponds draw anglers from around the world. Outfitters and guides show travelers their favorite places to cast and help them improve their techniques.

Sculpting hands: From “The Scout,” Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney’s famous sculpture of Buffalo Bill on horseback at the entrance to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, to the Western-themed sidewalk art, sculpture remains a favorite medium for depicting life and legends of the American West. Sculptures can also be found in the Whitney Western Art Museum other Center of the West museums, Old Trail Town & Museum of the West and at the Cody Country Art League.

Nature-loving hands: With its proximity to Yellowstone, it’s no wonder visitors can find experts in a wide range of natural science fields – from wildlife biology to geology – to help them understand and appreciate the park’s many wonders. Cody is home to an array of guides and outfitters who offer tours and other Yellowstone experiences.


Home of the Great American Adventure, Cody Yellowstone is comprised of the northwestern Wyoming towns of Cody, Powell and Meeteetse as well as the valley east of Yellowstone National Park. The region is known for rodeos, authentic guest and dude ranches, world-class museums and recreational adventures that reflect the adventurous spirit of the visionaries and explorers who brought the remote region to the world’s attention.

Related hashtags: #YellowstoneCountry #CodyWyoming #CenteroftheWest #BuffaloBill #Yellowstone #ThatsWY

Media contact:

Mesereau Travel Public Relations


[email protected]

[email protected]



The Talented Hands of Cody, Wyoming