We’re having a party here in Cody, and everyone’s invited.
This Saturday, Feb. 23, I’m heading to the Buffalo Bill Birthday Ball to celebrate in style the birth of the town’s founder, William Frederick Cody. Buffalo Bill was born in 1846 in Leavenworth, Kansas, so he’d be 167 years old on Feb. 26.
Although he lived until he was 71, Buffalo Bill Cody accomplished more in those seven decades than most humans could ever dream. He was a trapper, bullwhacker, Pony Express Rider, Colorado “Fifty-Niner,” wagon master, stagecoach driver, Civil War soldier, hotel manager and scout for the U.S. army. And he was just hitting his stride. He also became a husband, father, town founder…and at one time, he was the most famous man on Earth.
The lanky, good-looking outdoorsman was at heart a showman. In 1872, he launched the career for which he would become famous – playing himself in a show that evolved into “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show” and eventually made him one of the most famous people in the world. He even caught the attention of royalty. In 1887, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West was the main attraction at Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee celebration, and the show continued to tour throughout Europe for years.
Bill had very long coattails, and his show brought other Western characters to the forefront of America’s imagination – from Annie “Little Sure Shot” Oakley to Sitting Bull. He was also a champion of the people, supporting children’s rights and women’s rights. And he was a cagey businessman.
The Buffalo Bill Birthday Ball is sponsored by the Cody Knights of Columbus. The event will be at the Wolfville Hall (Cody Auditorium.) Come in turn-of-the-century dress and enjoy a prime rib dinner, live and silent auctions, a gun raffle and dancing to the sounds of Bobby Chitwood and the Hard Ride Band. I like the sound of that. The festivities start at 5 p.m. with a social hour followed by dinner at 6 and Cody-style entertainment after that. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door.
Hope to see you there. I’ll be the one who looks like Annie Oakley.
Until next time, I’m loving life – and wearing out those dancing boots – in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country.