Buffalo Bill Blog


Back To School


While I normally do not preach about some of my deeply held beliefs, today I want to talk about the importance of continuing education. Whether it is taking a French class at Northwest College in Powell or participating in a seminar about roping techniques, I am always open-minded and supportive.

bull charging bull fighterOne of my bucket list items is to go to school to be a bull fighter – dressed as a rodeo clown. I know a guy who works in Yellowstone who went through this training a few years ago. I have this great video of him getting flipped by a bull. It looked scary, but fortunately, he escaped with just a few bruises which he wore as a badge of honor for several days. He still talks about that incident and the bull fighting school as a highlight of his time spent in our town.

I think he enjoyed learning how to put on the makeup a little too much.man holding fish standing in river

Even though I grew up surrounded by some of the best streams in the world for trout fishing, I never really knew how to tie a fly or cast properly. Since we have absolutely terrific fly fishing guides in this area, I tapped into their knowledge and expertise until I reached an acceptable level of competence. Today, I am comfortable in waders and proficient using both dry flies and nymphs to land trout.

There are some times, however, where it just makes sense to return to the basics for a refresher course. Sometimes changes in technology turn things completely upside down (sort of like what that bull did to my friend at rodeo bull fighting school), and it is necessary to learn new techniques.

pink hollyhocksA good example is photography. I learned to shoot and process film long before digital cameras came along. Framing a photo and using light properly have not changed much, but the cameras themselves take some new training.

I have therefore decided that I am going way back to the basics starting next week. This afternoon I am heading over to Eastside Elementary School and signing up for fifth grade.

I remember that year of school as being a turning point in my life. It was the bridge from my childhood to young adulthood. I started to notice that the world was a much bigger place than I realized. My teacher challenged me and my classmates to better ourselves.

You cannot imagine how much I look forward to going back to school.snow covered mountains with sign reading Sleeping Giant Ski Area

There’s one other thing I am anticipating. You see, Sleeping Giant Ski Area has opened for the season, and fifth graders are eligible for a free season pass.

See you on the slopes.

Future valedictorian and current snow bunny,

Corrie N. Cody.cartoon cowgirl


Veterans Day


military on horses carrying flags

Today, the day after Veterans Day, I want to thank all of the men and women who served our country in the military and were fortunate enough to return home.

As opposed to Memorial Day which is a solemn day honoring the people who served their country and paid the ultimate price, Veterans Day to me is more of a celebration and a time to remember friends and family who served.

Like most people, I can list family members who served in the military. Two of my great grandfathers fought in World War I. In fact, they were very close to each other in eastern France in the Alsace region which has flipped back and forth over the centuries between Germany and France. The only time I ever heard of the two of them talking about the war was one Christmas gathering when they figured out that they had been in several of the same villages. They did not discuss the trenches or actual battles.

My maternal grandfather was in the Army in the Philippines during World War II. His brother was also there and was able to track down my grandfather as he recovered from injuries. Both made it home in one piece and were true examples of what Tom Brokaw called the “Greatest Generation.”

Several other members of my family served in the military. Today, two nephews are officers in the Air Force and are early in their careers as pilots.

Countless friends, classmates and others I have known have served as well in the Marines, Air Force Army and Navy.

Some enlisted to carry on family traditions. Others were unsure of their futures and were looking for direction. Others joined after terrorist attacks and felt a deep desire to defend our country. All of them should know that they are appreciated.

It’s impossible to say it too often, too loudly or with too much conviction, but I just want to say it one more time.

“Thank you for your service.”

Until next time, I’m loving freedom paid for by our veterans.

Corrie N. Codycartoon cowgirl with braids


November Quiet Time


empty fields with fall leaves and mountains in background

Things are quiet right now in our little slice of heaven. Most of the roads in the park are closed as the National Park Service allows the snow to build up so that the over-the-snow vehicles will have a good base come December. It’s a bit chilly to go rafting down the Shoshone River, and the Nite Rodeo buttoned up its operations until next Memorial Day.

I still see fishermen coming through town, and the hunters like to stay in town and enjoy our restaurants and nightly entertainment. The museums are always great with many visitors taking extra time to learn about the area and its early inhabitants, natural features, art and more.

There is still some time before the ice climbing gets going. It’s also easy to imagine hitting the slopes at Sleeping Giant Ski Area.

For the most part, however, we are in that shoulder season where many of us cut back on our hours and reconnect with friends who worked many days – sometimes weeks – in a row because that is simply what we do in an area that ebbs and flows with so closely related to the patterns of tourists.

I love it this way.

I have tried the 9-to-5 life in an office, but I found myself getting antsy and manufacturing reasons to be outside. Instead of picking up the phone to call Kenny Martin about the status of the wild mustangs roaming the BLM land out past the airport, I felt the need to discuss the topic in person. While I was talking with him, it seemed like a good idea for me to hop on the bus with his tour group and see the horses for myself.

Another time I needed to pick up office supplies and decided to use some discount coupons I found online. The problem was that the supply store in question was located in Casper. Nobody believed me when I said the car seemed to have a mind of its own. They told me I had been reading too many Stephen King novels.

That job did not last long. It seems the boss expected me to stay at my desk and do the various tasks assigned to me. I take full responsibility, but it was a good experience. Sort of like that time I went and lived with my aunt in New York City. I can say I gave it an honest effort and learned that I am simply not a big-city girl.

This is not to say that I shy away from work. When I was young and scooping ice cream, I loved it when the tour bus pulled up and a group of 50 people would walk in the front door. We would work long hours for as many days in a row as necessary. Our crew would be a case study for efficiency, dedication and teamwork.

I know that this lull will not last long. The holidays are approaching quickly, and special events throughout the winter will be that much more enjoyable. Many business owners are taking the time to make sure their equipment is in good working order and figuring out marketing plans for next year.

There is still so much for visitors to do around here in the winter. Sometimes it just takes an extra layer and proper directions around town. You don’t want to end up in Casper for office supplies.

Until next time, I’m enjoying the quiet time in Cody/Yellowstone Country.

Corrie N. Codycartoon cowgirl with braids


Halloween Costume


black cats, bats and witch flying in air on broom

With Halloween quickly approaching I am frantically trying to figure out what costume I will wear as I pass out candy. I don’t want it to be too frightening, but I will want something that will work for the grownup party Friday night.

 When I was a little girl, my mother always wanted me to dress up like a cowgirl. One year she said I could be a barrel racer, and the next I could be the rodeo queen.

 “Mother,” I always responded, “This will be the most boring costume because everybody dresses that way around here every other day of the year.”

 “Well, what about being a zombie cowgirl?” she asked.

 It was only years later that I realized my mother just didn’t have the Halloween costume gene.

 Also, she was cheap.

 One thing I don’t like to do is just head down to Wal Mart and buy a prepackaged costume. I am okay buying individual components like a Lady Godiva wig or stuffed parrot to go on my shoulder as part of my parrot costume.

 Last year, I purchased a beard about two feet long, and I never used it. Because I just couldn’t decide if I wanted to be one of those Duck Dynasty guys or a member of Z.Z. Top, I threw the beard in the box and forgot about it.

 As a semi/pseudo spokesperson for the town, I decided that any costume I wear should reflect Cody and Park County.

 Therefore when I went through the box this morning and came across the beard, I tried to figure out who would let his beard grow out like that.

 That’s when it came to me.

Jeremiah Liver Eating Johnston

 This year I am going to be Liver Eating Johnston.

 The locals know who I am talking about, but those of you who have not been to Cody are probably wondering who I’m talking about.

 Jeremiah “Liver Eating” Johnston was a mountain man who lived in the West in the mid-1880s. According to legend, his American Indian wife was killed and he himself was the target of many attempts on his life by native peoples.

 Johnston made peace with the tribes and embarked on a career as a scout, trapper hunter and more in the West, mainly Wyoming and Montana. He died in 1900 and was buried in California.

 When a California highway was slated to go right through the veteran’s cemetery where Johnston was buried, a group of seventh graders in Los Angeles began a campaign to have his remains reinterred in a place that seemed to better reflect this man’s life.

 As a result, in 1974 Johnston was buried at Old Trail Town on the original downtown Cody City site. You can see his grave and read about him on the wall of one of the homesteader cabins.

 If you are thinking that this sounds a lot like the Jeremiah Johnston immortalized by Robert Redford in a movie, you are right on the money. In fact, Redford was an honorary pallbearer at the Cody ceremony.

 If you see me walking around town Thursday night, please be sure to say hello.

 And if you happen to speak to Robert Redford, tell him I have risen from the grave and am looking for him.

 Until next time, I tricking and treating in Buffalo Bill and Jeremiah Johnston country!

Corrie N. CodyCartoon cowgirl with braids


Vacationers In Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country During The Government Shutdown


Cody sign with mountains in the background

Now that the government shutdown is behind us, I am so happy things are back to normal, people are back to work and folks are coming back to Cody.

During that time when all those people who think the center of world is located on the eastern seaboard decided that they know what is best for the rest of us, something fun happened.

I met a group of people who were planning on heading to the park (we call Yellowstone “The Park” around here), but they decided to spend three extra days here in our slice of heaven.

Understandably, these folks were a little disappointed that they had driven all the way from Ohio — home of the Buckeyes, the Pro Football Hall of Fame and more nice people than there are lodgepole pine trees in the Shoshone National Forest — only to be turned away 50 miles short of the east gate.

Naturally, me being me, I felt somewhat responsible that their vacation was interrupted, and I took it upon myself to help them map out some alternatives.

We met on the porch of the Irma Hotel for coffee, and our half-hour planning session stretched to about two hours because I kept introducing some of our local characters to my new friends who all asked where they were from and made suggestions of their own about spending three extra days in Cody.

Most of the suggestions were good and were some of the same suggestions I was going to make. Included were a morning at Heart Mountain learning about Japanese Americans who spent a good portion of World War II in those barracks, a tour of the various furniture makers who take Rocky Mountain juniper and elk antlers and turn them into works of art, an afternoon at the Buffalo Bill Center of The West and its five outstanding museums and downtown checking out the various art galleries and great shops.

A couple of the suggestions were not so good. Changing the oil in one fellow’s pickup and helping another repair the fence at his ranch were not these folks’ idea of fun.

One nice lady spent the whole two hours making a list of options while her husband (I think he was a retired truck driver) got out the map and figured the most efficient way to get from one attraction to the next.

At one point a certain cowboy musician stopped by to say hello, and one of the ladies in the group introduced herself by her maiden name. Her husband was not pleased, even though she apologized profusely and claimed she did not do it on purpose.

I sent the group on its way, and for the next three days we crossed paths often. All along the way, people took it upon themselves to help this group turn their unexpected stop into a complete vacation. One local offered to show them the tepee rings where the original locals used to gather so many centuries ago while another took them on a tour of the various downtown art galleries.

I ran into the group unexpectedly on the fourth day. This was a surprise because I thought they would be making their way back to Ohio by then. Instead, the list kept getting longer and they were having such a good time they did not want leave.

In the end they did not cross everything off their list.

“Are you disappointed?” I asked.

“Not at all,” said the list maker. “This will give us something to look forward to next year when we return to head to ‘The Park.’”

Until next time, I’m living the dream in Cody Country.cartoon cowgirl with braids

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