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For the Best Yellowstone Vacation, Start...

March 14th, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

As winter gives way to spring, I start to hear from old friends who are thinking about their summer vacations. Invariably, they ask for my counsel on planning a summer vacation to my slice of paradise. Specifically, they usually want my help visiting Yellowstone National Park and our area.

I am always happy to share my knowledge as well as my recommendations about what to do, where to stay and which cowboy musician is telephone number-worthy.

While each vacation will be different, there are several things I always recommend.

First of all, the best way to appreciate a Yellowstone vacation is to start it in Cody, Wyo., the wildest way in to the world’s first national park.

The first stop I recommend is to go to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West and head to the Draper Natural History Museum. At the Draper’s top level, you can look at a floor map of the region that helps you get your bearings and see where Cody, Park County, the park and the whole Yellowstone ecosystem fit together. From that top level are ramps that go down in a counter clockwise pattern with interpretive displays on specific topics such as the area’s wildlife, how forest Read More


Dude, I want to share a secret with you.

March 7th, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Did you know the term “Dude” actually originated here in Cody, Wyo.? No, it’s not from the surfer beaches of California or a junior high locker room.

Back when the park – we locals refer to Yellowstone as “the park” – was still a baby in the 1870s the people who made a living taking tourists around the thermal features came up with the term to describe any visitor from the East. The term quickly evolved to describe anyone who hired a guide to show them the West and our lifestyle.

Being proud Westerners, ranchers often hosted guests who wanted to stay for a week or two or three and experience the cowboy life. It did not take long, however, before enough people started visiting that it became prohibitively costly for the ranchers to shelter and feed these visitors.

The answer to this dilemma? Ranchers began reluctantly asking their guests to pay a fee to stay and help with chores around the property. The guests were more than happy to pay these fees, and a new segment of the hospitality industry was born.

The first “dude ranch” dates back to the 1880s and was the Custer Trail Ranch in the Dakota Badlands east of Read More


Happy Birthday, You Know Who

February 16th, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

So what do you get a guy heading into his 18th decade?

Around here that is a legitimate question since Feb. 26 marks Buffalo Bill Cody’s 170th birthday. Because we have thrown parties for reasons significantly less important, this event will be commemorated by a lot more than cake in the company break room.

Here in Cody we will start things off on his birthday – Friday, Feb. 26 – with the Cody High School FFA’s annual wreath-laying ceremony at the sculpture Buffalo Bill – The Scout at 11 a.m. Artist Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney created this sculpture, and it was instrumental in the development of the Whitney Gallery of Western Art and the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.

Local tradition of the Future Farmers of America (FFA) laying a wreath at the “Scout” statue.

From 5-7 p.m. that day the Center of the West will host the “Buffalo Bill Birthday Bash” featuring the Buffalo Bill Band, birthday cake, light hors d’oeuvres, family activities and a cash bar.

 The next day will see “Buffalo Bill Birthday Ball” at the town’s Wolfville Hall from 5-11 p.m. One of Cody’s major events, the Buffalo Bill Birthday Ball features music, dancing, dinner and Wild West entertainment. The Read More


Marking Up My February Calendar

February 1st, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

I like dates…the ones on the calendar as well as the ones with cowboys. And today my mind is on both kinds.

The calendar dates I’ve been thinking about lately are cause for celebration and reflection.

Ice climbers from all over the world come for the Cody Ice Climbing Festival held President’s Day weekend.

February 12, 13 and 14 is, as everyone knows, Valentine’s Day Weekend. And I have a very special date with a very special cowboy, although what he has planned for me may make some city-slickers cringe. On Friday we’re pulling out our crampons and heading to the 18th Annual Cody Ice Climbing Festival. With more than 300 frozen waterfalls in our South Fork Valley, there is some world-class vertical ice climbing. I’ve gotten pretty good at this over the years, and we’re both looking forward to some multi-pitch climbs and getting together with our frosty friends.

Then if we still have the energy, my beau and I will head to the 7th Annual Ice Fishing Derby at the Sunshine Reservoir in Meeteetse. Ice fishing is huge in these parts, and we all want bragging rights for our catches during the derby. I didn’t do so well last year, but Read More


What’s on my Cody calendar this winter

January 5th, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

During this long holiday weekend in Yellowstone Country, I have two goals: clean and organize my house (isn’t that what everyone does?) and mark up my brand new 2016 calendar with important upcoming dates and events in Cody. The latter task is easy; there’s a handy calendar of events on the Yellowstone Country website. The first task could take me well in to March.

Those of us who live here as well as those hardy winter-season visitors who come to play know that there are great events year-round, including during the winter months. First up, at least for me, was a Yellowstone Quake hockey game in the Riley Arena on Saturday, Jan. 2. If you love hockey like I do, Yellowstone Quake is a great way to support our Cody team. The team is a USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier III Junior ice hockey team playing in the North American 3 Hockey League. You might be surprised just how exciting junior hockey can be, and I try never to miss a home game.

Watching a Yellowstone Quake hockey game is always a thrill.

Another one of the events I always look forward to in winter is the annual Ice Fishing Derby, this year scheduled Read More


How Buffalo Bill Influenced a Generation...

December 14th, 2015 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Those of us who live in Cody, Wyoming sometimes forget that our town founder was a world traveler and his legend reached many corners of the globe, even long after his death.

Of course we all know about how his “Wild West Show” touched Europe, and how his friendship with Queen Victoria resulted in the magnificent gift of a Cherrywood bar that still graces Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel today. I thought I knew most of the stories about Col. William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody. I was wrong

The cherrywood backbar given to Buffalo Bill by Queen Victoria.

Here’s the story:

In the 1950s, more than a century after Buffalo Bill’s birth in Le Claire, Iowa, a generation of disenfranchised young men and women in the African nation of Congo, and in particular, the city of Kinshasa, found a role model in the pop culture version of Buffalo Bill. At that time, Buffalo Bill’s legend was popularized and romanticized in movies and TV shows. The actors who portrayed Buffalo Bill were tough, masculine, and they always got the girl. Scenes of conflict between Cowboys and American Indians had a particularly heady effect on the youth in Congo, a country under the rule of Belgian Read More


What if Buffalo Bill Had the Internet?

November 4th, 2015 by Park County Travel Council | Comments (2)

A couple of weeks ago, the Cody Enterprise ran a story with the news that William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody would be inducted into the Wyoming Business Hall of Fame in November, and that story has been the talk of the town ever since.

It’s been 98 years since Buffalo Bill died, but historians are still examining the impact he made on the town he founded as well as his business acumen.

Buffalo Bill Cody was the most famous man of his time.

My friends and I were discussing the story and we started speculating about what would have happened if Buffalo Bill had lived with access to our modern-day Internet. Just for fun, here are some of our fantastical ideas:

The logistics of coordinating “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show” would have been a comparative breeze. The Wild West Show included hundreds of performers as well as animals, and Buffalo Bill had to make sure they were fed, housed and healthy. They also had to practice their performances, perform the shows and then pack up and move on to the next location. Every performer would have had a smart phone, and Buffalo Bill could have emailed critiques of their performances, texted their practice Read More


Five Fun Facts About Buffalo Bill’s...

October 21st, 2015 by Park County Travel Council | Comments(1)

Sure, people come to Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country for the park, rodeo, Western museums and hot cowboy musicians, but it’s the fun facts they learn about along the way that get them talking.

The other day I was sitting on the patio at one of my favorite coffee shops and pretending to read the latest issue of Country Music News. What I was really doing was eavesdropping on a young family from Upstate New York.

Mom and Dad were talking about the Remingtons they saw at the Whitney Western Art Museum, but when they asked their kids what they liked about the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, they received some surprising answers.

“I liked the chuck wagon out front where the guy was cooking beans and making coffee over the fire,” said the girl who looked like she was about 10 years old.

“I liked the ‘duck gun’ in the Cody Firearms Museum that looks like you could shoot four bad guys at the same time,” said the girl’s little brother.

I was happy the parents did not overreact and lecture their kids about them being too young for coffee, so I discreetly started chatting them up about some of the area’s lesser-known facts.

Here Read More


Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall

September 28th, 2015 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Fall has finally arrived here in Cody after an absolutely breathtaking and busy summer. In some ways it seems like yesterday that I was putting my flag up to celebrate Memorial Day weekend, but it also seems like a long time ago when I start thinking of everything I did and the people I met in a little over three months.

The biggest obstacle I face in summer is overextending myself. When someone suggests to me on a quiet Monday morning that we grab our cameras and head up the Wapiti Valley on Tuesday afternoon because several moose and grizzlies have been spotted near Sleeping Giant ski area, I immediately say yes.

Historic yellow buses are a great way to tour Yellowstone in the summer.

An early morning run to my favorite trout stream before the sun is too high? I’m there.

Taking an out-of-town visitor on a whirlwind tour of Yellowstone National Park is one of my favorite things in the world.

Next thing I know I’m booked solid and in danger of missing my favorite cowboy musician for the week. And I get grumpy if I go too long without hearing “It Takes a Whole Lotta Liquor to Like Her.”

So what do Read More


Cody Museums Rock the True West

August 3rd, 2015 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

It feels good to be a winner, and a lot of people involved with our very own Buffalo Bill Center of the West are feeling purty goshdern good today. (Read on to see why I’m suddenly reverting to my cowgirl vernacular.)

America’s frontier history comes to life in True West, the world’s oldest, continuously published Western Americana magazine.

Buffalo Bill Center of the West was just named the Top Western Museum for 2015 by True West magazine, which as many of you know is a top-notch magazine covering the authentic West. I got a sneak peek at the upcoming September issue of the magazine, which highlights the Buffalo Bill Museum’s “Man of the West, Man of the World: The Life and Legacy of William F. Buffalo Bill.’”

Yes, yes, I know. As my mama always said, “Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin’ it back,” but I’m so tickled that the Center of the West topped the list that I couldn’t keep it to myself. I hope the fine writers at True West magazine won’t be too ticked at me, and if all of you buy a copy of the magazine, maybe they won’t be. Look for Read More