Buffalo Bill Blog

Dec
10

“TOP 10” THINGS YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT BUFFALO BILL

“Cody.” The name alone conjures up images and legends of the American West: wagon trains, gold rushes, gunslingers, Indian battles and more. And among these legends, William Frederick Cody — commonly known as “Buffalo Bill” — is one of the best-known and most colorful.

And possibly the most misunderstood.

At the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyo., (the town at the gateway to “Yellowstone Country” founded by the legend himself) visitors enjoy a more well-rounded view of Buffalo Bill: the legend and the man. And, as is often the case with legendary figures, “the truth is more interesting than the myth.”

Here’s a “top 10” list of little-known facts about the man, showman and pioneer who dazzled millions around the world with “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show”:

1.  Known as a fearless Indian fighter, Cody respected — and advocated for the rights of — American Indians and once said, “Every Indian outbreak that I have ever known has resulted from broken promises and broken treaties by the government.”

2.  Cody was an ardent supporter of women’s rights and insisted on equal pay for all members of his traveling shows, regardless of gender. “What we want to do is give women even more liberty than they have,” he said. “Let them do any kind of work they see fit, and if they do it as well as men, give them the same pay.”

3.   At the age of 11, Cody took a job as a wagon train “boy extra” riding and delivering messages to drivers along the length of the train.

4.  At the ripe old age of 14, he signed on with the Pony Express and after an apprenticeship building corrals and stations for the burgeoning mail service, became a full-fledged rider.

5.  Cody’s family was Quaker and opposed slavery. When Cody was a young child, the family moved from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas Territory, a hotbed of conflict between slavery advocates and abolitionists. While giving an antislavery speech at a local trading post, Cody’s father Isaac was stabbed twice by an angry man in the crowd.

6.  Cody was a Freemason who achieved the rank of Knight Templar in 1889 and 32-degree rank in the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in 1894.

7.  While thousands visit the Buffalo Bill gravesite outside of Denver annually, many Cody residents believe their town’s namesake is actually buried on Cedar Mountain overlooking the town of Cody itself. The legend behind this belief involves a bold plan, a middle-of the-night trip to a Denver mortuary and an unlucky ranch hand bearing a likeness to Buffalo Bill.

8.   Some historians assert that at the height of his traveling show’s fame, Cody was the most recognizable celebrity in the world — notoriety that earned him an audience with Pope Leo XIII while the Wild West Show was touring Europe.

9.  In 1893, “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show” expanded and became the even more spectacular (though ponderously titled) “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World.” A true multicultural event, the show featured horsemen from around the globe, including South American gauchos, Arabs, Mongols and Turks.

10.  Cody received a Medal of Honor while serving the Third Cavalry Regiment as a civilian scout. Congress later rescinded the medal, as well as all others awarded to civilians. In 1989, Cody’s medal was officially reinstated.

 

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 Historical Center and thriving western culture host more than 1 million visitors annually.

The Park County Travel Council website (www.yellowstonecountry.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.

 

Nov
28

Corrie N. Cody Salutes the Cody/Yellowstone Wildlife

Two grizzly bears walking by the Yellowstone signYellowstone National Park and the Cody area are known throughout the world for the wildlife viewing opportunities. Most people do not get to experience animals in their natural environment. It is exhilarating to see a bear meandering through the woods!  Many visitors come to Yellowstone just to see the wildlife. One of my favorite wildlife viewing spots in Yellowstone is the Lamar Valley also known as the Serengeti of the US. Large herds of bison meander the valley while wolves, coyotes, antelope, bears, deer and elk forage nearby.  Stop and sit a spell and you will be surprised at the wildlife you experience.

Yellowstone National Park is home to 67 species of mammals. The most watchable mammals are bison. Bison are located throughout the Park and tend to wonder outside the Park boundaries.  Areas like the Hayden Four bison grazing in a sage brush fieldand Lamar Valleys are home to large herds. Solitary males tend to hang out all over the Park. Practically every visitor to the Park will get to a bison and often quite closely from their car!  Other watchable wildlife include elk, deer, pronghorn antelope and coyotes. It is not unusual to see these animals grazing near the Park’s main roads. If you are lucky, you may see a moose in a marshy area or a Big Horn sheep on a rocky ledge.

Grizzly bear digging in snowEveryone visiting Yellowstone wants to see a bear. They are the stars of the Park! There are two types of bears that call the Park home, black and grizzly bears. Bear sightings are frequent along the roads of the Park. You may even get stuck in a “bear jam” where traffic backs up for miles because a bear is hanging out near the road. Park rangers will be present when there is a bear jam and will make sure everyone respects the bear’s space. You need to be extremely cautious when encountering any wildlife in the Park. Remember, all the animals are WILD.

In the mid 1990’s, thirty-one gray wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone. Since that time they have flourished and number around 300. Wolf watching has become a huge attraction in the Park and special tours are available. As you drive through the Park, you may see a group of people with spotting scopes and cameras set up along the road just waiting for a wolf to come into view. Most of the Park’s wolf packs have very specific roaming areas so it is easy to find the spots where they have been hanging out. Wolf watching takes patience and knowing where to wait it out.

Bird watchers have a lot to be excited about in the greater Yellowstone area. There are 330 documented species of birds in Yellowstone. Bald eagles are a highlight to see. These majestic birds soar throughout the area. Several geese in green grassOsprey and Trumpeter swan can be found around Yellowstone Lake feeding on fish.  A variety of hawks, owls and waterfowl are common along the roadways. The National Parks Service provides a birding checklist at www.nps.gov/yell/naturescience/birds.htm.

Two Rams butting headsJust because you have left Yellowstone, don’t stop looking for wildlife. The corridor from the East Entrance to Cody is full of wildlife. In fact, I have seen more moose along that section than in the Park!  There are several bison that hangout along the river. River otters are also visible along the river from the road. Big Horn sheep are often along the edge of the road grazing. In the winter and spring time, it is not unusual to see a couple of rams sparing!  Mule deer are a given so be sure to watch for them crossing the road.

There are so many wonderful reasons to visit Buffalo Bill Cody’s Yellowstone Country but wildlife has got to be at the top. The best part about wildlife watching is it is fun for all ages and you can do it year round!

So until next time, I’ll be lovin’ wildlife in Cod/Yellowstone Country!

 

Cartoon CowgirlCorrie N. Cody

 

 

 

  

Nov
09

The Holiday Season in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country

Small cabin in the snowMy favorite time of year is between Halloween and New Year’s Day. I love all the festivities, gatherings, parades and smells of the season! The change in the air lends itself to sipping hot cider or cocoa while watching great old movies. I also like getting out and sharing the season with family. Here in Cody/Yellowstone Country, we have a ton of events! Our community hosts some wonderful holiday festivities adding to all the other great reasons to visit the area.

Spontaneous Theater Productions, a local theater company, presents the American classic, “John Brown’s Body” on November 13th at the Wynona Thompson Auditorium in Cody. Based on the classic poem by Stephen Vincent Benet, this play tells the story about the Civil War from John Brown’s raid of Harper’s Ferry to the Battle of Gettysburg.  The stories of those involved are beautifully told through song and poetry.  This should be a wonderful evening with a host of local performers!

Another wonderful evening of culture will take place on November 15th at the Wynona Thompson Auditorium. The Central City Opera will perform a collection of music reflecting the ups, the downs, and the magic of Christmas trees in the snowlove. A romantic duo and pianist will take the audience through an eclectic program of songs focusing on love. Expect to hear selections from La Boheme, Show Boat ant The Last Five Years.

A highlight of the holiday season in Cody/Yellowstone Country is the Turkey Shoot and Craft Bazaar. On the Saturday before Thanksgiving, throngs of adults and children gather in a parking lot downtown to try their hand at winning a Thanksgiving turkey! The Lions Club sets up safe shooting competitions and turkey-themed games for kids. There is also a craft bazaar across the street from the shoot. There is something for everyone on that block!

Ski hill with skiersThanksgiving weekend typically kicks off ski season in Cody/Yellowstone Country. Of course, this is subject to snow pack. Sleeping Giant Ski Area is scheduled to open at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, November 23rd. This great little ski area has 184 skiable acres, 2 award winning terrain parks and three lifts. Quality equipment is available at Sleeping Giant or in town at Sunlight Sports. Warm up at the Grizzly Grill with hot entrees, snacks and beverages. Beer and wine also are available at the T-Bar in the upper level of the Lodge. Several area hotels and lodges offer a Ski and Stay package with deals on lodging and $20 full day lift tickets!

Cody’s Christmas Celebration takes place the Saturday after Thanksgiving with shopping specials throughout town, a lighted Christmas parade and a variety of special events downtown. Old Trail Town also has a special Front of Buffalo Bill Historical Center at ChristmatChristmas Open House that day. Stroll through the streets of the town and enjoy the Victorian and old fashioned decorations. Go back in time with homemade cookies, confections and hot toddies in the saloon before heading back into town for the parade! The Buffalo Bill Historical Center celebrates the season with a free open house on the first Saturday in December. The Center is beautifully decorated for the holidays. Everyone is invited to experience the five museums as well as live entertainment and photos with Santa.

Meeteetse Chocolatier stocking candy on shelvesThere is nothing more festive than small town Christmas celebrations. “Christmas in Meeteetse” is one of those special events.  On Saturday, December 8th, the town celebrates with a craft fair, hay rides and specials throughout town.  Kids love Santa’s Workshop and the complementary baked goods all day. The day of fun ends with a lighted parade. The town of Powell’s Christmas celebration is known as “Powell Country Christmas” and falls on December 1st this year. The day begins with a Holiday Gift and Craft Showcase in the Commons downtown. In addition to the craft and food booths, there is entertainment all day. The day rounds out with a lighted parade!

Needless to say, the holiday season in Cody/Yellowstone Country is jammed packed with festivities! A weekend trip to the area is a great opportunity to do a little holiday shopping and partake in some old fashioned Christmas traditions and events.

 

Until next time, I’ll be lovin’ the holidays in Cody/Yellowstone Country!

Cartoon CowgirlCorrie N. Cody

 

 

 

 

 

Nov
02

Bucket List

Cowboys sitting on a ledge looking at mountain peaks across the drawIt seems as though everyone has a “bucket list” these days. You know, the list of everything you want to do and see before you die. It is all about experiences. That’s why bucket list vacations can be so great! Usually you can usually plan a trip that incorporates several items. That’s why Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country is so perfect, it is all about seeing and doing!

If visiting Yellowstone National Park is not on your list, it should be!  Visitors come from all over the world to visit the nation’s first national park. Yellowstone is home to the largest concentrations of geysers and Two bison walking in front of Old Faithful as it eruptsgeothermal features in the world. Cross Old Faithful off your list.  Wildlife viewing is also a major attraction in the Park. Wolves, grizzly bears, and bison are just a few of the animals you may see.  Cross seeing these animals in the wild off your list.  If hiking in the Rocky Mountains is on your list, you can also check that one off by taking a great hike in Yellowstone. There are terrific hiking trails for all skill levels. You may have other experiences on your bucket list that can be done in Yellowstone. No matter what, everyone should visit Yellowstone National Park during their lifetime!

Three people on horseback riding looking at mountains to their rightMaybe visiting a dude ranch is on your list. There are several dude and guest ranches in Cody/Yellowstone Country.  These ranches are located in amazing mountain settings and are staffed with folks ready to treat you to genuine western hospitality. Ranch vacations offer all-inclusive packages that give you a lot of activities to choose from and can be much more affordable than doing the activities on your own. Ranches offer horseback riding, fishing, shooting, hiking and much more.  Some allow you to participate in the ranch chores so if being a cowboy or cowgirl was always your dream, this might be the trip for you.

Have you ever been to a Rodeo?  Cody is the “Rodeo Capital of the World” and the Cody Nite Rodeo is the longest running nightly rodeo in the country. From June 1 to August 31st, there is a rodeo in Cody every night. Cowboy on a bucking horse in a rodeo arenaCowboys and cowgirls from all over the west come to Cody to compete. It is said that every major rodeo star has spent time in Cody!  Rodeo events include bronc riding to bull riding and team roping to barrel racing. It may surprise you that adults and kids compete at the rodeo! Kids in the audience even have the opportunity to participate in a “calf scramble” where they get to chase a calf around the arena trying to get a ribbon off the calf’s tail. It is great fun!

Wild horses grazing on the prairieMost people have never stood on the range and observed a herd of wild mustang horses. What a unique experience! Cody has a herd of wild mustangs just outside of town. You can take a tour with a guide or venture out to the McCullough Peaks Wild Horse Management Area on your own.  If you choose a tour, your guide will take you to areas where the horses typically hang out. Your guide will talk about the history of the herd and will know about particular horses. It is an informative tour and really cool!  No matter how you experience the horse, you will be fascinated watching the horses in their natural habitat.

These are just a few options. There is so much more to see and do in Cody/Yellowstone Country. There should be at least one bucket list item on everybody’s list here! I am sure there are other bucket list items that Kayaker in the air dropping down a small fallcould be checked off as you travel to Cody/Yellowstone Country. With a little creativity, a trip to the area could include a bunch of items!

 

 

Cartoon Cowgirl with pigtailsUntil next time, I’ll be lovin life in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country!

 

Corrie N. Cody

 

Oct
25

Where to Stay in Cody/Yellowstone Country

A vacation in Cody/Yellowstone Country is spectacular! There is so much to see and do that you should plan to stay at least 2 days exploring Yellowstone National Park and at least 2 nights outside the Park in the Cody area.  The options for lodging are varied from motels to ranches to bed and breakfasts. Summer travelers should make reservations well in advance so that you get exactly what you want.


Front of two story hotelHotels and Motels:

When it comes to hotels and motels in Cody/Yellowstone Country, there is something for every taste and every budget. The unique thing about the Cody/Yellowstone area is you will find a hint of the West at each property.  You can choose from national chains or locally owned properties.  There are some motels that offer cabins in addition to their traditional motel rooms. The historic hotels and inns provide a glimpse into the past with their interesting stories woven into their décor. The high-end and boutique hotels keep the western theme of the area but offer all the modern day amenities that you would expect of a high-end property.  You can choose to be in the heart of downtown or a bit out of the way. Either way, you have lots of options. During peak season, Memorial Day to Labor Day, you should expect rates to be a little more than the off-season.

 

Bed and Breakfast:

If you want a quiet, relaxed atmosphere, check out a bed and breakfast.  The town of Cody has several unique bed and breakfasts. Most are charming, historic homes located close to the downtown area.  One is even an old church!  Each bed Front of bed and breakfast with shrubs and flowersand breakfast is unique and has its own personality. Rooms tend to be carefully decorated in a theme and have home-like amenities you just don’t get in a hotel.  Bed and breakfasts are also cost effective. Rates tend to be competitive with area hotels but bed and breakfasts are all about personal service including the breakfast they serve. You also get that personal connection with the innkeeper. They are usually more than happy to visit with you about the area and provide great tips on what to see in their town. This gives you the opportunity to check out the local flavor!

 

Large house at dusk with interior lights onGuest Houses:

If you are looking for a home away from home, then a guest house might be the perfect choice. You might have the mindset that renting a house is an extravagant choice but it can be very reasonable.

Cody/Yellowstone has several guest houses available to rent for one night, a week or even a month. There are several advantages to staying at a guest house. Having access to a full service kitchen may be  healthier than eating out and can save you money. Guest houses are great when traveling with children or your extended family. They are not confined to the small space of a room and can even enjoy playing and exploring outside.

 

Lodges/Guest Ranches:

There are several lodges and guest ranches located throughout Cody/Yellowstone country. These properties are located in spectacular landscapes. Many guests experience seeing the Milky Way for the first time at these lodges and ranches! Trail ride going past cabinsMost offer quaint cabins for one night to seven night all-inclusive packages. Guest ranch packages include lodging, meals and activities.  Horseback riding is the main activity but fishing, hiking, rafting and other outdoor activities may also be part of the ranch program. Some have special children’s programs for kids of all ages. Lodges tend to have al a carte meals and activities. You can count on true western hospitality when staying at a lodge or guest ranch.

 

Motorhome parked at campgroundCampgrounds/RV Parks:

Camping in Cody/Yellowstone country is a treat! You can choose to stay in a campground in or out of town. The campgrounds in town are close to area attractions and all have full hookups. You can choose from spaces for the largest motor coach to spots for setting up a tent.  A sense of community seems to be a part of staying in the full service campgrounds. Some even offer evening campfires and singers. There are also Forest Service campgrounds without hookups nestled near the Shoshone River and Buffalo Bill Reservoir. Campgrounds tend to be a very reasonable choice.

 

Yellowstone National Park:

There is nothing more exciting than staying in Yellowstone National Park! It is thrilling to be in such a majestic and wild place that people come from all over the world to experience. The Park has hotels, cabins and camping available. All areYellowstone Lake Hotel exterior. great options depending upon your preference. Most of the hotels are historic and have their own charm & modern amenities. Cabins tend to be a little more basic but full of personality. There are only a few campgrounds with full hookups so be prepared. No matter where you stay in the Park, you need to make reservations months in advance with the exception of some of the campgrounds that are on a first come, first serve basis.

 

So whether this is your first visit to the area or a regular on your getaway list, you have lots of options. As I said before, be sure to plan ahead and make reservations so you get your first choice in lodging. Until next time, I’ll be lovin’ life in Cody/Yellowstone Country!

Corrie N. CodyCartoon Cowgirl with pigtails

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