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Monday, October 16, 2017

OF CATTLE, THE BIGHORNS, WILD MUSTANGS AND RODEOS

Sometimes life ain't easy

Our Tauck group walked into the Sheridan, Wyoming Holiday Inn after a day crossing part of Wyoming, having a great time at the TA Ranch, and enjoying every moment of the day.  

Despite the entertainment possibilities of the hotel which was quite inviting, I think most of us called it an early night. It was not until breakfast the following morning that we had the great surprise of being able to catch a bit of a cattle auction in progress right in the hotel and attended by ranchers and others not only from Wyoming but also from all over the west.  Cowboy hats and boots and a thick, printed catalogue were the order of the day for them, and we noticed immediately.

Lots of advertising, quite unlike what any of us were accustomed to seeing
As each of us found out we were welcome in the huge room with big screens where the auction was televised, we let others know, and most of us eventually went to see what was going on.  Haha No cattle in the hotel; we saw men and women leafing through their auction books, and we heard the real life sounds of the auction bidding occurring before our eyes.  It was barely 8:00 AM. As we were all from the Eastern Seaboard, Chicago, or California,  this truly was a first for us all.

The auction was pretty exciting, and people kept drifting in and out of the room
We were definitely acting like tourists taking in everything, and the people running product sales tables outside the auction room were friendly as can be and gave us hats, pens, pot holders, and all kinds of souvenirs.  Those hats became chapeau de jour for a large part of the remainder of the trip. 

After breakfast, however, we were off to cross our first mountain range. We climbed the majestic Bighorn Mountains on our way to Cody, Wyoming.  We crossed the peaks at 9,300 ft.  What a view we had from Cutler Hill at 8,347 feet.  Then we passed through towns like Greybull, WY with a population of 1,837, and Shell, WY with a 2010 census count of 83.  Ten miles outside of Cody there were wild mustangs running on the flats.  Exciting to see them gallop across the range.

Pretty magnificent, wouldn't you say?
I wanted to share this picture of a house by the side of the road.
Somehow I don't think this would be the plot of land I'd buy for my home.

In Cody in time for lunch, we also had free time to wander downtown, and do some shopping before heading to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, a fascinating museum and a real treasure trove of information and artifacts about Buffalo Bill, the West and the tribes that live there.  The Center is really five excellent museums in one, but we did not have time to take it all in.   Most online travel sites, not surprisingly, suggest a 2-day pass to see it all.

One museum is specifically about William  F. Cody’s life, not quite what we’ve been led to believe, but fascinating nevertheless.  What a showman he was!  The museum has many of his personal items but also posters, books, and history.  

This is a representation of the kind of sets used during the shows.
Cody not only brought his Wild West Show around the United States
but also spent several years touring Europe and becoming the
toast of the continent.
The Whitney Western Art Museum highlights the scope of western-inspired art in sculpture, paintings, and prints, and it, too, is a treasure.  If you visit the museum site, you will be able to view their online collection.

We didn’t have a chance to visit the Draper Natural History Museum, but it might have been good to add to our knowledge before we entered Yellowstone National Park.

There’s the fascinating and informative Plains Indian Museum.  This is more than a collection of artifacts and art.  Rather it is a history of the people, their culture, and today a study of the movement of the Plains Indians over the course of 250 years is underway.  Additionally, the people are seen in the context of  their life today.  It is an impressive place to visit, and there is a lot to learn.

The Cody Firearms Museum is reputed to be the most comprehensive in the world. Rob liked that one.

It was at the Museum, too, where we had a private show (yes, just for the 16 of us) by the Dan Miller Trio, a band specializing in country, bluegrass, Americana, gospel.  They were terrific. 


On a personal note—Because I need hearing assistive devices, the Tauck director brought along what we’d successfully been using on the tour, but Dan had his own equipment as his sister is deaf, and he wanted to share his music with everyone.  We used his equipment; before the show began, he made sure I could hear, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!!!  Never forget how nice people can be.

Dan also played “Happy Trails to You,” and, of course, we all knew it and sang along. Our travel companion, Maurice, related a story.  As a small boy in Northern Ireland, he belonged to the Roy Rogers Riding Club.  Every Saturday morning, they met to watch the Roy Rogers Show on TV.  We loved that. On the last evening and dinner together on the tour, we all sang that song to him.  That’s the kind of group it was.

The day was not nearly over.  We checked in to the Best Western Premier Ivy Hotel, and after dinner headed to the Cody Stampede for the rodeo.  Cody, WY is no ordinary town.  It bills itself as the Rodeo Capital of the World, and, incredibly, there is a rodeo EVERY NIGHT throughout the summer.


Great time at the rodeo.  Dangerous and adrenaline producing.  I like the team calf roping and the barrel racing best.  I cannot believe the angles at which those horses round the barrels.  There was plenty of see, plenty of oohs, and plenty of pictures.

The Rodeo opens with a display of beautifully executed synchronized horsewomanship and flags
and recognition of the many sponsors.
Bull riding is as dangerous as it looks

My favorite is the barrel racing.
I am wowed at the angles at which the horses move around the barrels
running as fast as the riders can handle
and as close to the barrels as a rider can get
so she can cut time off her ride.
True team spirit and ability.



Just look at that horse's legs.
That may be close to 1,000 pounds rounding that barrel.

By the time we finished the rodeo, it was time to head back to the hotel for a good night's sleep.Yellowstone was coming up next.














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