When you are a Great Exalted High Poobah, elected by the people, expectations follow.
Not merely setting policy, making life-altering decisions and being the man of prominence the president is most likely to seek out if curious about Buffalo Bill’s hometown.
As mayor, Matt Hall gets invited lots of places, among them, as he completes his third year in office: to throw out the first pitch at a baseball tournament; address the gathering at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West annual Powwow; drop the first puck for a Yellowstone Quake junior hockey team game and participate in the July 4 parade.
Pitch, powwow, puck, parade. Hall does not favor appearances revolving around the letter P – coincidence.
Often, he meets visiting dignitaries in association with various Cody groups. He served ice cream at City Park and introduced bands playing there.
When elected, Hall said he consulted with previous mayors, including predecessor Nancy Brown. They warned, “‘You get a lot of requests.’ Generally, my first year my modus operandi was don’t say no to anybody.”
If an invite was issued, he said, “I’ll try to be there.”
Most of these events seem like fun ways to spend time. Some people even pay admission. Graciousness was the key. If someone was kind enough to ask, unless Hall had another legitimate commitment, he was on board. He said he did not want to make lousy excuses.
Sometimes work interferes. Recently, Hall traveled to Jackson for a meeting on municipalities. That qualifies as a good excuse.
Someone in a position like mayor is supposed to be a man for all seasons. This summer, when a major regional baseball tournament was played in Cody, Hall threw out the first pitch.
He went through with it even though he knew nobody was going to confuse him with Nolan Ryan. He knuckled his throw to the plate.
“I get a little nervous,” Hall said. “I threw a bad pitch.”
More recently, Hall was asked to perform a ceremonial puck drop at Riley Arena when the Quake began its season against the Helena Bighorns. He was not on skates and negotiated the playing surface in street shoes. The Quake lost 4-3.
“If I slipped on the ice, maybe it would have changed the mojo,” Hall said.
At 44, Hall has been around Cody a long time. He said he regularly receives public appearance requests from residents he has known half his life.
He attended two sessions of the Cody Stampede Rodeo over the July 4 holiday and was headed to the Buffalo Bill Center Patron’s Ball last Saturday.
If you are a politician, it is always good to be seen.
“I’ve got to have my mayor’s cap on wherever I go,” Hall said.
The newest Cody celebrity residents, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, have not proffered a dinner invitation to the newly renamed West Ranch.
“That would be a unique experience,” Hall said. “I would definitely find time to make it.”
Or, since he is a Great Exalted High Poobah, perhaps the hospitality outreach should be extended in the other direction.