Cody Wyoming and Buffalo Bill

After our fun visit from Sean, Kailyn and Brady, we headed over to Baker’s Hole National Forest Service campground in Montana just outside of West Yellowstone. Of course, the weather turned perfect and sunny right after the kids left! We snagged a great site and stayed for a couple of days ($14 a night, with electricity, senior rate), enjoying the hiking along the river and on the ski trails in the area. It was very relaxing.

Baker's Hole NFS Campground, West Yellowstone

Baker’s Hole NFS Campground, West Yellowstone

Hiking the Riverside Trail in West Yellowstone

Hiking the Riverside Trail in West Yellowstone

Hiking the Rendezvous Loop Ski Trail in West Yellowstone

Hiking the Rendezvous Loop Ski Trail in West Yellowstone

Next we drove the Bear through Yellowstone Park from the west entrance to the east entrance. We wanted to spend a week or so in Cody, Wyoming and the closest spot we could get was in Wapiti Campground which is another National Forest Service campground. We got an absolutely perfect campsite! We could not believe our luck. Most of the sites are first come-first serve, and fortunately for us our site had become available just before we drove up. This campground, and particularly our site, had everything we desire – electricity, total privacy, no road noise at all, a rushing river behind us, birds singing, a gentle warm breeze rustling through the trees, and no bugs! All this for only $10 a night (senior rate).

Love our campsite at Wapiti NFS Campground near Cody Wyoming

Love our campsite at Wapiti NFS Campground near Cody Wyoming

Hiking along the river behind our campsite

Hiking along the river behind our campsite

Hiking the beautiful  Elk Creek Trail from our campsite at Wapiti

Hiking the beautiful Elk Creek Trail from our campsite at Wapiti

We were about a 30 minute drive away from Cody, but we didn’t mind the distance because the drive was so scenic and pleasant.

Scenic drive into Cody

Scenic drive into Cody.  Beautiful little ranches and farms along the way.

12 Cody WY countryside 2

Huh???

Huh???  Bob?  I should have tried to get the story behind this.

The Buffalo Bill State Park surrounds the reservoir of the Buffalo Bill Dam. The Visitor Center at the Dam had a fascinating video presentation on the colorful history and building of the dam. It was the tallest dam in the world when it was completed in 1910 and is a National Civil Engineering Landmark.

Buffalo Bill State Park on the Reservoir

Buffalo Bill State Park on the Reservoir

Wood debris is cleared from the dam every year

Wood debris is cleared from the dam every year

Buffalo Bill Dam spillway

Buffalo Bill Dam spillway – I was standing on the dam looking down

We made the trip into Cody often and had a great time in this historic western cowboy town. Mike enjoyed the bison steak during our dinner at the Wyoming Rib and Chop House. One of our trips to town coincided with the Independence Day Kids Parade, and Arts and Craft Fair at the park.

A glance at downtown Cody

A glance at downtown Cody

Old Trail Town - the original town site of Cody City with authentic structures

Old Trail Town – the original town site of Cody City with 26 authentic structures

Kids Parade passing Buffalo Bill's Historic Irma Hotel

Kids Parade passing Buffalo Bill’s Historic Irma Hotel

An evening at the Cody Theatre

An evening at the Cody Theatre

Dan Miller's Cowboy Music Revue

Dan Miller’s Cowboy Music Revue

We particularly enjoyed the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. It took us a full two days to tour this amazing place which is described as the “Smithsonian of the West” and it was time and money well spent. It is actually 5 separate and distinct museums under one roof, with over 50,000 artifacts. We learned all about Bill Cody’s life in the Buffalo Bill Museum. Mike saw the largest collection of firearms in the world in the Cody Firearms Museum. The Whitney Western Art Museum was so much more than amazing art. All the exhibitions and history made each piece come to life. The first museum we toured was the Plains Indian Museum which so beautifully and movingly depicted the lives and legends of the Plains Indian people. The Draper Natural History Museum brought to life the power and beauty of the Yellowstone region. We attended several of the special presentations put on at various times throughout the day. Always a favorite of ours is seeing the live raptor show. We also attended a bear safety and survival presentation, and enjoyed the chuck wagon cooking demo. We heartily recommend visiting the Center of the West if you visit Cody. Just be sure to allow plenty of time to fully appreciate all there is to see here.

Buffalo Bill Center of the West

Buffalo Bill Center of the West

Chuck Wagon Cooking Demo

Chuck Wagon Cooking Demo

Making Biscuits and Beans

‘Cookie’ Was Making Biscuits and Beans

Plains Indian Museum

Plains Indian Museum

The Plains Indian Museum was a favorite of mine

The Plains Indian Museum was a favorite of mine

Western Art Museum

Western Art Museum – I love the wildlife art

Frederic Remington's Studio in the Western Art Museum

Frederic Remington’s Studio in the Western Art Museum

The main reason we wanted to be in Cody at this time was for the 95th Annual Cody Stampede Rodeo on July 1-4. This is not to be confused with the nightly amateur rodeo that is put on throughout the summer. The Stampede Rodeo is the real deal. With a $400,000 purse and attracting the top cowboys in the country, it is one of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys of America’s (PRCA) largest rodeos in the nation. I was motivated to get a cowboy hat for this event!

He made my hat fit perfect!!

He made my hat fit perfect!!

The night before the Rodeo starts is an annual event for only bull riders, called the Bull Stampede. In addition to the announcer providing interesting background info on each rider and bull, this professional arena has a large screen which gave instant replay and final scores after each ride. It was so much fun to get caught up in the moment and cheer like crazy for the cowboys that were from any of my favorite places. And the rodeo clown kept us all laughing throughout the evening. I’m not a big fan of clowns, but this guy was a standup comedian. So funny. The beer might have helped. (Actually, I don’t drink beer. It was Mike’s Hard Lemonade. It works on the funny bone the same way.)

Cody Extreme Bulls!

Cody Extreme Bulls!

The clown's job is dangerous!

The clown’s job is dangerous!

The cowboys autograph your program after the event.

The cowboys sit at a long table and autograph programs after the event.

The opening night of the Stampede Rodeo was even more exciting. They had lots of entertainment – from the emotional opening ceremony with the veterans, police and firefighters, to the horseback drill team and their choreography. At the mid-break we were treated to a performance by the EhCapa Bareback Riders of Idaho. This is a group of kids (looked like mostly girls) ages 8-19 whose style of riding is reminiscent of Native Americans. They ride without saddles or bridles and only control the horse with their legs, voice, and a 1-inch leather strap around the horse’s neck. They wear beautiful handmade Native American clothing. Their performance included choreographed riding and jumping over barriers with up to 16 across. It was beautiful and impressive!

Opening Night of the Cody Stampede Rodeo!

Opening Night of the Cody Stampede Rodeo!

31 Cody Stampede Rodeo

Drill Team entertainment

Drill Team entertainment – This is only a few of the riders that were on the field

EhCapa Bareback Riders (that's Apache spelled backwards)

EhCapa Bareback Riders (that’s Apache spelled backwards) – Many more riders were on the field than what is pictured here.  It was really beautiful!

So glad we scheduled 9 days near Cody.  We could have easily stayed longer. But we needed to get over to Jackson Hole for our 13-yr-old grandson Garrett’s arrival. He will be touring with us for a month, and we’ve so many things on our plan.  Much more fun to follow!

Cheers!

15 thoughts on “Cody Wyoming and Buffalo Bill

  1. Good going girl… you are an official cowgirl with that hat now….We have reservations at Red Cliff CG (Galatin NF) 8/15-19, then move over to Rainbow Point CG (Gallatin NF) 8/20-8/28, then I’m going to try to snag a spot at Bakers Hole for three days, 8/29-31, then move back to Rainbow Point from 9/1-9/7…..

  2. Great post about a place we somehow missed on our travels out west. Really enjoyed your photos, especially the rodeo pictures. Love the campsites you found. Enjoy your grandson! He will have a summer to remember.

  3. Cody is a neat place. It’s great that you were able to find a spot (and a great spot at that ) for this weekend. The rodeo sounded like a blast. You got some great shots of the bull riders:) That is one huge museum!!

  4. Wow, I wish we can have perfect timing for a perfect spot. Great cowboy action shots. This will be on the list as we have never been to Cody. Rodeo looks like fun and you must be feeling good wearing your cowgirl hat.

    • If you can, plan your visit during the annual Cody Stampede Rodeo. It brings in the best of the best and is very exciting. I believe it is always held the first week in July. I DO love my hat!

  5. Beautiful campsite and scenery. I loved the Buffalo Bill and Western Art Museum, we didn’t have much time so some of the museum was a blur. Great that you got a hat. I love hats, but never got a cowgirl hat because my head is kind of small and hard to fit – maybe will get one in Cody someday.
    Brenda

    • I’ve never had a perfectly fitted hat either! I, too, have a small head and hats just don’t fit correctly. It was such fun to have him steam and shape it perfectly for me. I love it!

  6. Linda and Mike. I could almost enjoy this rodeo with you! Aren’t you glad you have your Panasonic camera? Great rodeo pictures….Better location than where we sat for the Tucson Rodeo in order to get those shots!

    I have just returned from a week’s hiking in Glacier National Park. First time there and I was so impressed. I am certain you have that somewhere in your future plans. Enjoy Yellowstone!

  7. I stumbled upon your blog while looking for pictures of the rodeo and sure happy I did! My 10 year old daughter spent a week in Cody performing with the Eh Capa bareback riders and sadly I did not get to go along on that trip. She was so very proud to be a part of the rodeo and is still talking about it daily–she fell in love with the area so I am excited to show her your blog later, I know she will enjoy it! Thank you for sharing!

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