If you live in Cody for any number of years, you’ll find out there is something going on almost every weekend.
If it’s not a fundraiser, it’s a fun-raiser of one sort or another.
What with all the worthy causes and patron parties, I’ve often wondered why Cody doesn’t have the most obvious bash of all. I’m a little surprised Cody doesn’t celebrate “Buffalo Bill Days.”
Perhaps it’s because plenty of other towns already lay claim to this annual festivity. Golden, Colo., for example, plans to reenact a Wild West Show.
Other than that, this really misses the mark as an authentic event, unless you consider golf and car shows traditional Western activities. Nothing says wild west like my golf game.
Lanesboro, Minn., claims to be the locale of the first Buffalo Bill Wild West Show. They celebrate with a street dance, parade and a bean bag tournament. Sorry. I’m not inspired by these choices.
Buffalo Bill Days in Leavenworth, Kan., at least applies a worthy degree of creativity. There’s a beard and mustache contest, yodeling competition, and outhouse races. Now there’s a sport everyone can get behind.
Except for the Wild West show reenactment, little of what I found during Buffalo Bill Days reflects authentic Western traditions. Isn’t it enough that a bordering state hijacked the eternal interment of our namesake? Now they, and others, promote feeble attempts to keep his Western spirit alive.
Cody needs to reclaim its birthright and show the world how to really celebrate the West. Sure, we do a great job each summer with the rodeo, the Irma shootout, the museums and many other tourist attractions. In an effort to extend this success, Cody should plan a spring blowout to shake off the mud season and ring in the opening of the east gate of Yellowstone.
Buffalo Bill Days.
It’s a perfect fit. It would reaffirm Cody as the epicenter of all things western. You’d have your perfunctory groups of exhibitors and food vendors, but the focus would be on the fun expression of the Western lifestyle.
Possible contests and events are endless. There’s plenty of closet Buffalo Bill lookalikes in town to put on a lively competition. You could have categories such as the buffalo hunter, military scout, entertainer, and elder statesman.
Buffalo themed events could include buffalo rides, guess the weight of a buffalo, or a Buffalo Bill trivia contest.
Why not hay stacking, or a deer carcass dragging contests (using simulated carcasses, of course)? Let’s find out who has the best elk bugle, coyote or wolf howl.
Cowboy poetry and fiddling are noble Western feats. Is there not a Rocky Mountain Oyster Eating Contest in our future?
Cody cannot pass up the one contest that, while not endorsed by PETA, would draw residents by the hundreds. It’s the deer eating plant contest. Rows of different plants would be put in an enclosed ring. Wranglers would release city deer into the enclosure. Spectators would guess which plants deer would eat and win prizes for correct guesses.
If that’s not whimsical enough, there’s any number of events you can design around Jackalopes – jackalope milking, jackalope tossing and jackalope calling.
Who doesn’t want to drive a snowplow and see how many mailboxes you can take out in one pass?
The grand event could be something I call the Wind Sock. The concept is similar to a Strong Man carnival game, where a contestant swings a wooden mallet to hit a plank which sends an indicator up a vertical pole with a bell at the top. The indicator registers the strength of the mallet blow with pithy terms such as “puny” or “Herculean.”
For the Wind Sock, we’ll rig up a huge wind machine and have contestants try to see how close they can run, walk or crawl to a spot within 10 feet of the machine. Distances along the ground would grade the contestant’s effort.
Getting to the 10-foot mark would be the equivalent of enduring an 80 mph gust of wind, otherwise known as a calm day on the South Fork. In fact, if that challenge isn’t stiff enough, we might have to bring in a jet engine, instead.
The winner of the Wind Sock game would receive his or her official Buffalo Bill Days wind sock trophy along with valuable bragging rights.
Cody Buffalo Bill Days.
Accept no cheap imitations.