Panguitch, Utah – Little Britches & Big Horses in the City Park

June 2022 – We’d been driving north through glorious Utah red rock landscapes for a while, and Mark suddenly said, “I’d really like to go to a nice city park with some lush green grass so Buddy can stretch his legs!”

Well, gosh. I wasn’t sure I could produce such a thing out here in this dry craggy landscape, but I did a quickie search and suddenly found just the thing. And it was only a few miles ahead to boot: Panguitch City Park.

We pulled in and parked by the lush green grass. As we looked around, we discovered the fairground behind the park was filled with horses and horse trailers!

Little Britches Rodeo in Panguitch Utah City Park


Horses were standing around tied to their trailers, resting between events. No doubt they were analyzing their performance and thinking of ways they could improve next time.

Horse waits for the Little Britches Rodeo in Panguitch Utah

A horse waits for his next event.

Cowboys and cowgirls were doing the same thing, but they weren’t tied to their trailers!

Quiet time between events at Panguitch Utah Little Britches Rodeo

Young riders discuss the day’s events.

Downtime between events at Little Britches Rodeo in Panguitch Utah


We wandered closer to the action and saw a line of horses tied up outside the arena. There were lots of trailers parked back there too. We’d arrived just in the nick of time — yet we’d stopped here just to give Buddy a break from driving!

Horses wait their turns at Little Britches Rodeo in Panguitch Utah

Horses were lined up outside the arena.

Suddenly two young women riders came out and circled around in front of us. One had a lasso in her hand and she was expertly swinging it around above her head.

Two riders in Little Britches Rodeo in Panguitch Utah warm up for their event

Two gals warm up, one swinging a lasso!

Other riders came out and took a spin around in front of us to warm up before heading into the arena to compete.

Rider warms up for Little Britches Rodeo in Panguitch Utah

Two riders in Little Britches Rodeo in Panguitch Utah warm up for their event

We found out this event was part of the National Little Britches Rodeo, and it was the tail end of the second day of events. These young riders were the very last to compete!

Horse waits behind dummy roping steer

Roping was a big part of today’s events and there were practice bullhorns by each horse and trailer.

Beyond the fairgrounds there was a dramatic view of red rocks in the distance. What a place to ride a horse!

Red rock views in Panguitch Utah

The view beyond the fairground — stunning!

Down at our feet we noticed some yellow wildflowers blooming.

Spring wildflower in Panguitch Utah

Spring was springing!

As we strolled back to the lush green grass of the city park, we admired the many types and styles of horse trailers that were here for the rodeo. It was a multi-day event and lots of people stayed in their horse trailers.

Horse trailers are really different than fifth wheel RVs, though. Besides having a gooseneck hitch and shorter overall height, the trailer axles are placed at the far back end of the trailer. This is because of the heavy weight of the horses standing in the rear end of the trailer. This axle placement is similar to a semi tractor trailer.

Horse trailer

A triple axle horse trailer has the axles way at the back of the rig.

In contrast, the axles on a fifth wheel RV are placed quite close to the midline of the trailer because there isn’t all that much weight in the far back.

Genesis Supreme 28CRT Toy Hauler

Our fifth wheel toy hauler has its tandem axles closer to the middle of the trailer

You’d think that a toy hauler might be something like a horse trailer in terms of weight distribution since the toy goes in the far back, but our RZR weighs only 1,250 lbs, and even if it were 2,000 lbs., our toy hauler can carry 15,000 lbs, so it’s not that large a percentage of the total. So, fifth wheel toy haulers are built like regular fifth wheels with the axles placed just a smidge further towards the rear end of the trailer.

When turning a fifth wheel trailer, the back end swings quite wide because so much of the trailer is located behind the axles. Whereas with a horse trailer or tractor trailer you don’t have to worry so much about smacking something out with your wildly swinging rear end since very little of the trailer extends beyond the trailer’s axles.

Back at the lush green grassy park, we noticed that a woman with two Australian shepherd dogs was letting them run free and play. Buddy couldn’t resist and he ran over to introduce himself. For a split second they all huddled face to face. After that, of course, it was all about sniffing each other…at the other end!!

Playful dogs meet at Panguitch City Park

Buddy meets some new friends!

We strolled around this pretty park enjoying the shade of the tall, full trees.

Panguitch City Park serenity

This is a lovely park

Buddy absolutely loved running and prancing in the soft, moist grass. This was quite a contrast to the red rock desert we’d just traveled through.

Playful pup prances in the grass at Panguitch City Park


Off to one side we came across a very old log cabin. A plaque explained that it was built for Kate Alexander by her son in 1890. It is a tiny structure that is around 12′ x 15′ in size, the size of many modern day bedrooms!

Kate Alexander Cabin Panguitch Utah

Kate Alexander’s son built this home for her in 1890.

There was a little knothole in the front door and we peeped in. Inside there was a small bed, a cupboard, a pot belly stove and a fireplace.

Keyhole interior view Kate Alexander Cabin Panguitch Utah

Peaking in the front door knothole, it looked like life had been simple in this house.

There were doors on three sides of the house (a door on each wall except the wall with the fireplace). There were two windows, one by the front door and one by the back door.

It is very hard to imagine living in a house like that—a space much smaller than a typical RV used for full-time living!—but the homes from that era in this area are all about that size.

A quilt had been placed over the exteriorwall with the fireplace. We were puzzled at first and then we noticed a sign advertising the Panguitch Quilt Walk festival on June 8-11, 2022. Another quilt was draped near the sign too.

Kate Alexander Cabin Panguitch Utah Quilt

A quilt hung on the outside of house.

Panguitch Quilt Walk Utah

Another quilt was hung nearby.

The original Panguitch Quilt Walk was an extraordinary event that took place in the dead of winter in 1863. The devout Mormons living in Panguitch (then called Fairview) began to run out of food and they decided to send their strongest men on foot up and over the towering mountain that was buried in snow to get some sacks of flour from the town of Parawan 45 miles away..

As they ascended the mountain and the snow deepened, the men couldn’t make any progress, so they threw down a quilt and kneeled on it to pray. Suddenly, they realized the quilt was keeping them from sinking into the snow.

So, for the entire mountain pass, the men threw down a quilt ahead of them, traversed it, and then picked it up and threw it down ahead of them. It was painfully slow going, but they made it.

I can’t even imagine a trip like that over a steep mountain simply walking on a road, nevermind crawling across quilts in deep snow. On the way back, the men were loaded down with sacks of flour for the town. And for the entire trip they had to supply themselves with food as well!

In downtown Panguitch there is a memorial that honors these intrepid men, and the town celebrates the memory with an annual Quilt Walk.

This all made for a very fulfilling stop in our travels. When we first went to Panguitch City Park, we thought we were just taking a break from driving to walk the dog for a little while. Instead, we ended up spending several very happy hours in a pretty city park that we’d blindly driven past many times before!

Happy puppy in tall lush grass

Traveling with a dog changes your travel style, but we’d never have seen any of this without our special boy.

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More info:

From our website:

A previous visit to Panguitch a while back

Rodeos and horseback riding events we’ve seen:

Other blog posts from central and southwestern Utah:

Our most recent posts:

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Ranch Sorting Competition – Cowboy Adventures in Phoenix Arizona

December 2017 – On the outskirts of Phoenix, Arizona, we’ve found not only beautiful waterways and fall color in the National Forest, but fun western cowboy ranching traditions in the outer suburbs too. Phoenix is home to lots of “horse properties” and small ranches, and our friends took us to a cool ranch sorting competition last week. This fairly new kind of cowboy ranching event is also known as “cattle sorting” or “cow sorting.”

As we walked over to the cow pens, a cute goat stuck his nose through the fence and gave us a smile!

Goat watches a cowboy cattle sorting event-min

A goat welcomes us to the ranch sorting competition.

There were about twenty competitors, both cowboys and cowgirls, sitting astride their horses and waiting for the games to begin. In the competition they paired up in teams of two in round robin fashion so every rider had a chance to team up with the others.

Cowboy cattle sorting event in Phoenix Arizona ranch-min

Riders line up before the competition begins.

There were several pens of ten calves each, and as the competition progressed, each group of calves had a few chances to get sorted. Every calf had a big number on his back, from one to ten.

The calves all turned to look at me when I stuck my camera lens between the bars of the pen to get their portrait!

Calves waiting to be sorted by cowboys-min

Calves wait to be sorted.

Numbered calves waiting to be sorted-min

Each calf has a big number on its back so they’re easy to spot and isolate from the herd.

Ranch sorting mimics the process that cowboys use to separate a single calf or cow from the herd so they can inspect it or administer medication or isolate it for some other reason.

In the cattle sorting competition, a pair of cowboys / cowgirls enters the pen with the calves and waits to hear the number of the first calf they’re assigned to isolate. For the next sixty seconds they chase after the calves in numerical order, starting with the first number they were given and then isolating each successive calf and sending it into an adjoining pen.

Calf sorting event with cowgirl on horseback-min

Our young friend Autumn rides into the herd in search of her target calf.

Cowgirl sorting calves on horseback in Arizona ranch-min

Ranch sorting is a fun way for riders to hone their horsemanship skills.

Working together, one cowboy (or cowgirl) chases the target calf towards the gate to force it into the adjoining pen while the other cowboy or girl blocks the rest of the calves from running into the pen along with it.

Calf sorting on horse in Arizona-min

First the calf is isolated from the herd…

Cowgirl sorting cattle on a horse in Arizona-min

Then it is chased through the gate…

We really enjoyed watching the action. The riders skillfully maneuvered their horses among the calves to find the one they were after and then chased it into the pen next door.

Getting the horse and calves to do what you want looks easy from the sidelines but takes a lot of focus and knowledge. The rider’s body position in the saddle and the way they hold the reins and touch the horse with their feet is the language they use to tell the horse what to do. A wrong hand position or posture in the saddle can give the wrong command to the horse!

Concentrating while riding a horse-min

Autumn concentrates and the horse sticks his tongue out too!

The cowboys and cowgirls were scored based on how many calves they managed to get into the adjoining pen in the 60 second time period. If a calf sneaked into the pen out of numerical order, then the score for that round was 0!

Cattle sorting riding a horse in Phoenix Arizona ranch-min

The distance between the pens is short. Once the calf is isolated, it’s a quick sprint from one to the other.

Sorting cattle riding a horse in Phoenix Arizona-min

Going after number 9.

The biggest challenge in each round was the first calf because cows are herd animals and they don’t like to be alone. When the first calf found itself isolated from the herd and being chased towards the empty pen next door, it would try to return to the herd rather than go into the empty pen by itself.

However, once a calf or two was in the adjoining pen, the next calves were a lot less reluctant to go in there because they saw there was company waiting for them. On rare occasions two sequentially numbered calves would be running alongside each other and would go into the pen one right after the other. A two-for-one!

Calves running in cattle sorting cowboy event on Arizona Ranch-min

Sometimes the rider got lucky and a pair of cows with sequential numbers went through the gate together.

The cowboy life, horses, barns and hay aren’t in my blood the same way sea breezes and hiking trails in nature are, but we had a wonderful time watching this classic western event.

Cowboy resting with his horse at cattle sorting on Arizona ranch-min

Cowboy culture is rich and widely celebrated across the western states. We have loved learning about it in our travels.

Of course, not everyone at the ranch sorting competition was quite as enthralled as we were. One little cowgirl was so tuckered out by the action that she suddenly dropped into the dirt next to the referee (her mom) to relax with her feet up on the fence.

Tired cowgirl lies on the ground at cattle sorting in Arizona ranch-min

All tuckered out…

When we researched the sport of ranch sorting after the event was over, we learned that these cattle sorting competitions are fairly new to the ranching scene and the first Nationals was held in 2007. But they are becoming extremely popular.

Cowboy sorting calves on a ranch in Phoenix Arizona-min

A friend of ours suggested that knowing tackle angles from football would be helpful with anticipating which direction a calf will run.

Cowboy chasing calf in cattle sorting event on Phoenix Arizona ranch-min


The folks that were at this particular ranch sorting competition were extremely enthusiastic, and they attend events all over Arizona.

Calf running away in cattle sorting event-min

Calf #3 says, “I’m outta here!” while #2 heads through the gate.

Cowboy sorting cattle on a ranch in Arizona-min

The riders told us #8 was particularly feisty!

For us there were lots of neat photo ops and we got a kick out of roaming among the spectators, spouses, parents and loyal dogs.

Cattle dog with horse and cowboy on Arizona ranch-min

Spectators were treated to a fun event.

Horse eye closeup-min

What do the animals think of all this? The horses seemed to love it and the calves got some good exercise and worked up an appetite for grazing later.

Unlike the big rodeo events like roping, ranch sorting is something newer riders can enjoy. For us watching, it was easy to understand what was going on and to root for the cowboys and cowgirls as they whooped and hollered and worked to make both their horses and the calves do what they wanted.

Cowgirl chases calf in Phoenix Arizona cattle sorting event-min


Cattle sorting event with cowgirl chasing calves in Phoenix Arizona-min


Cattle sorting event with cowgirl chasing calves-min


If you are spending the winter in Arizona and want to experience a brief immersion in some of the western traditions of horses and cowboys, look for a ranch sorting competition! We’d never heard of this kind of event until last week, but we got a huge kick out of it!

Cowboy walks horse back to horse trailer-min

What a fun few hours spent in the midst of cowboy culture!

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More info about Ranch Sorting:

Cowgirl Magazine article explaining what Ranch Sorting is

Other blog posts about our adventures with cowboys:

Central Arizona RV travel article index and more from our trips in the whole state of Arizona.

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More of our Latest Posts are in the MENU.
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Buffalo Wyoming – Cowboys, Cowgirls and Sheriff Walt Longmire!

July 2017 – Buffalo, Wyoming, and the nearby Bighorn Mountains stole our hearts during our RV travels this summer, and we ended up sticking around for a while.

Fifth wheel trailer RV camping at sunset

A Wyoming sunset.

On our first day in Buffalo, we were astonished to find the streets were lined with throngs of really excited people. As we made our way through the mob, we noticed the cops were directing traffic at every intersection.

Something really big was happening. But what?

Soon we realized a parade was about to come through town. What perfect timing!

Longmire Days Parade Buffalo Wyoming Home of Longmire

We arrived in Buffalo, Wyoming, just in time to see a parade!

We watched the parade go by and gave each other quizzical looks as we tried to figure out why there would be a parade in this small town in the middle of July. The 4th of July was over, so this must be something else!

Longmire Days Parade Occidental Hotel Buffalo Wyoming

A band plays on a flat bed trailer as it passes the Occidental Hotel. What on earth was this parade for???

Suddenly a turquoise truck came by with a guy standing in the bed of the truck. A huge roar went up from the crowd, and the man waved at everyone. It was as if he were some kind of beloved celebrity.

The woman standing next to me saw I wanted to take a photo and eagerly stepped aside. “Go on!” she said urgently. “Push on out there and get his photo!”

Walt Longmire in Longmire Days Parade Buffalo Wyoming

A roar goes up from the crowd as this cowboy goes by in the back of a Bronco!

I got my shot and then asked — still confused — “Is that the mayor?”

She threw her head back and laughed. “No! Of course not!” She said. “That’s Walt Longmire!”

Sheriff Walt Longmire in parade at Buffalo Wyoming

Of course this isn’t the mayor.
This is the famous Sheriff Walt Longmire!

I stared at her blankly.

“You don’t know who Walt Longmire is?” She was clearly shocked at my ignorance. “Longmire is a huge TV show that’s really popular around here. That guy is the lead actor! The show takes place in this town, although it’s called Durant on TV rather than Buffalo.”

It turned out that we had arrived just in time for a special weekend celebration called Longmire Days when Buffalo, Wyoming, welcomes the cast from the Longmire TV series and also welcomes thousands of out-of-town guests who come from as far as California to see their beloved stars in person.

There is a store in town devoted to memorabilia from the show, and the store owners later told us it is really fun — and a bit funny — to watch these starstruck fans come from near and far to see the heroes of their series in person.

Longmire Headquarters Buffalo Wyoming

The Longmire TV show, developed from a local author’s book, depicts life in Buffalo WY but calls the town “Durant” and is filmed in New Mexico!

I’ve been starstruck by celebrities before too, so I totally understood. But I have to say that it is really hilarious when you have never heard of a TV show to run headlong into fan hysteria and the celebrities who are at the heart of it.

To me, this famous and adored actor (that women were truly going nuts for) just looked like a regular old cowboy standing in the back of a truck!

Then again, after a decade on the road, largely in the western states, I have become a huge John Wayne fan. We watch his old movies all the time. If I were to see John Wayne in person who knows what crazy hysterics I would fall prey to!

Ironically, it turned out I wasn’t the only John Wayne fan in Buffalo, Wyoming.

John Wayne T-shirt Buffalo Wyoming

I wasn’t the only avid John Wayne fan in town!

Buffalo, Wyoming, is home to about 4,600 people, and the heart of the town is a small grassy park called “Crazy Woman Park.”

The term Crazy Woman is popular in this area. There are both a creek and a canyon named “Crazy Woman” along with various business and shops. There are several legends behind the name, and they vary a bit, but each one references a woman (either white or Indian) who witnessed or was involved in a terrible tragedy that made her crazy. She lived out her days in a canyon not far from Buffalo.

Crazy Woman Park in Buffalo is decorated with several big, colorful murals that were commissioned in 2012 to show that Buffalo isn’t just a One Horse Town.

Horse mural and cowboy Buffalo Wyoming

Buffalo isn’t a One Horse (or One Cowboy) Town.

The murals were painted by Aaron and Jenny Wuerker and Marchal Kelley. The first panel on the left depicts old black and white photos of cowboys around the turn of the century.

Old cowboys in "More than a One Horse Town' mural Buffalo Wyoming by Aaron Wuerker

Original cowboys in Buffalo way back when.

The next panel shows two cowboys chasing some horses across the prairie and bringing them into the town of Buffalo. This is definitely not a One Horse Town!

Four years after this article was published, Marchal Kelley informed us via the comments at the end that she added a very personal touch to the panel with the horses: three of those horses are hers! How fun!

Horses on a mural Buffalo Wyoming by Aaron Wuerker and Jenny Wuerker

Cowboys chase horses across the prairie…

Horse mural Aaron Wuerker and Jenny Wuerker Buffalo Wyoming

…and into town.

The love of horses and the cowboy way of life and cattle ranching runs deep in Buffalo, and every week in the summertime there is a rodeo at the Johnson County Fairgrounds.

We stopped by one afternoon and had a great time watching both kids and adults dash all over the place with their horses.

Rodeo queen Johnson County Fairgrounds Buffalo Wyoming

A Rodeo Queen flies past on her horse.

The little girls were just too cute for words. They were fearless as they galloped past, and nothing would stop them from going full speed ahead, even if their hats flew off!

Rodeo princess loses her hat Johnson Country Fairgrounds Buffalo Wyoming

Hats off to this rodeo princess!

Rodeo Princess Hats Off Johnson County Fairgrounds Buffalo Wyoming


From the pretty Rodeo Queen to the most adorable and tiniest Rodeo Princess, we loved them all!

Little Rodeo princess Johnson Country Fairgrounds Buffalo Wyoming

There’s no such thing as being too young to ride a horse.
Eventually both the helmet and horse will fit!

But there were plenty of adult cowboys putting their horses through their paces too.

Johnson County Fairgrounds Rodeo Buffalo Wyoming

There was full grown adult rodeo action too.

But this cowboy stuff isn’t just for show.

While in town one day, I had the really good fortune to meet an old cowboy named Dick and spend some time talking to him and listening to his life story. He described growing up in the area, and he painted a vivid picture of what it was like to be a rancher in the 1950s and 60s.

“It is the best life for a young man,” he said wistfully. The outdoors, the wide open spaces and fresh air — he had loved it all.

He passed his love of the ranching life to his two sons, and with great pride he told the story of putting his boys in charge of moving a hundred head of cattle from one pasture to another when they were very young. He told them he would meet them at an appointed hour and place, and he expected them to be there — with the cows — when he arrived.

I had to smile imagining two boys on horseback urging the beasts across the fields with their promise to Dad and his expectations weighing on their shoulders.

Sure enough, he told me, when he pulled up in his truck at the spot where the kids were supposed to be, they were there along with all the cows. Not one single cow was missing.

Chatting with an old cowboy Buffalo Wyoming

Longtime Buffalo area resident, Dick, shared his life story with me and painted an enchanting image of life on the ranch in Buffalo fifty years back.

There was an oil boom in Wyoming right about that time, however, and the lure of a better income in the oil fields took him away from ranching. As the years went by, he rose in the company and eventually ended up as the General Manager with a desk job in town.

But once a cowboy always a cowboy.

Dick had come to town on this sunny summer day wearing his cowboy hat and carrying his leather ranching gloves in his back pocket.

As we talked about the vibrant nature of the town, its festivals, its artwork and the bronze sculptures we’d seen around town, his eyes misted over when he told me that a locally noted bronze sculptor had created a beautiful sculpture of him with his grandson holding a calf.

There’s a romance to the ranching life, but there’s reality too. During our stay in Buffalo, we were touched by a bit of both as we paid quite a few visits to the small shops and tourist boutiques in town.

Cowboy boots Buffalo Wyoming

Cowbgirl boots are available in every style!

Several shops had fantastic arrays of cowboy boots. The pink and bling cowboy boots we’d seen on the cowgirls at the rodeo were all available in town. Just pick your favorite!

There were also lots of cowboy hats for sale, and we had fun at the hat rack trying different ones on. There were also lots of rifles for sale, many of them vintage guns from a bygone era.

Cowboy hat and rifles Buffalo Wyoming


In one particular shop called The Office, I was idly scoping out the pens and pads when I saw a notebook on the display rack titled “Beef Calving Record Book.”

Beef Calving book for sale in stationery store at The Office Buffalo Wyoming

How often do you find a Beef Calving Record Book in your local stationery store?!

I opened it up, and inside were columns marked Calf ID, Cow ID, Sire ID, Birth Date, Sex and various measurements and weights.

Was this for real?

I asked the store clerk, and she said that oh, yes, those little notebooks were very much for real and the store often ran out of them in the spring when the calves were being born!

How totally cool is that?!

In this crazy era of history when we can’t let our cell phones out of arm’s reach and laws are being passed in Hawaii to remind pedestrians to look up from their phones as they cross the street, ranchers in the small towns of Wyoming are still recording the vital stats of their newborn calves with pen and paper in specialty “rain proof” notebooks!

Beef Calving book in Buffalo Wyoming at The Office stationery store

These little “weather proof” notebooks are hot sellers during calving season!

It is this very simplicity — not that calving is in the least bit simple — but it is this very straight-forwardness and closeness to nature and life itself that makes the cowboy lifestyle so romantic and appealling.

Lots of folks come to Wyoming to spend some time on a dude ranch, riding windswept trails past picturesque snowcapped mountains so they can savor a whiff of a the cowboy life.

We were photographing the mountains one afternoon when a group of horseback riders appeared out of nowhere.

As we got chatting with them, we discovered the ranch owner was a native of the area, but his wife was German. Decades ago she had made a career in the tourism industry in Austria selling western American vacations to Austrians who wanted to get a taste of our Wild West.

She ended up getting a taste of the Wild West herself one year when she took a short term job on a ranch, and she fell in love not only with Wyoming but with a Wyoming rancher too. In no time she was married, had started a family, and was hosting German and Austrian visitors herself!

Horseback riders in Bighorn National Forest Bighorn Mountains

German speaking tourists from Austria and Germany enjoy a tour with local guide Claudia.

We heard a lively exchange of English mixed with German as she talked with her guests on their horses, and the huge grins on their faces said it all. They were loving their week in Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountains!

Back in 1879, just five years after the Custer Expedition into the nearby Black Hills, a fellow named Charles Buell pitched a tent alongside Clear Creek where the town of Buffalo stands today. Some miners coming out of the Black Hills who were loaded down with gold asked if they could bunk in his tent for a few nights and store their gold with him too.

Buell instantly realized that opportunity was knocking, and he decided that these miners would be his first customers at his brand new hotel, restaurant and bank! Within the year he had built a wooden hotel building.

Ten years later he was charging $2.50 a night to regular visitors from all over, and in the ensuing decades he hosted celebrities like Buffalo Bill Cody, Teddy Roosevent, General Crook and Calamity Jane.

Occidental Hotel Interior Buffalo Wyoming

When you dream, dream big!
The Occidental Hotel started as a tent by the creek!

By the early 1900’s the current brick building filled a full city block, and now, over a century later, people still stay in the rooms upstairs and enjoy live bluegrass music jams every week in the classic old western bar downstairs.

The hotel still stands right next to Clear Creek where Charles Buell pitched his tent nearly 140 years ago, and there’s a little dispenser on the bridge where you can get a handful of fish food to throw over to the fish swimming below.

Occidental Hotel Buffalo Wyoming home of Longmire

Kids throw fish food down to the fish below the bridge by the elegant Occidental Hotel.

Folks of all ages love to cast a fishing line off the bridge in downtown Buffalo, and one day as we walked by a young boy reeled in a really big fish. Wow!!

Proud kid with trophy fish Buffalo Wyoming

Nice catch!!!

Part of the Longmire Days celebration was an antique car show, and after the parade ended everyone wandered over to a nearby park where the cars were lined up on the grass and glistening in the sun.

1948 Chevrolet truck Buffalo Wyoming

A late 1940s era Chevrolet pickup truck — Sweet!

Since this is ranching country, a large number of the old vehicles were vintage pickup trucks.

We chatted with the owners, and in more cases than not we discovered that the truck we were admiring had been owned by Dad or Grandpa and had had a productive life on the family ranch before being lovingly restored and brought out to show off.

Antique truck at a car show in Buffalo Wyoming

An antique Ford pickup. Many of the trucks at the show had done decades of duty on nearby ranches.

Of course every ranch has dogs as well as trucks, and we spotted a particularly pretty dog in attendance.

Beautiful dog portrait

Sweet pooch.

We had loved our RV trip through eastern Wyoming where we visited the towns of Chugwater, Douglas, Newcastle and Sundance, but the town of Buffalo and the nearby Bighorn Mountains enchanted us.

Crepuscular rays of sunset Bighorn National Forest Wyoming

Sunset in the Bighorns.

Little did we know that first weekend that Longmire Days and the antique car show would be just the first of several delightful celebrations we’d enjoy on our RV trip to Buffalo, Wyoming!!

Sunset over an RV Bighorn National Forest Wyoming


Buffalo Wyoming River Runs Through It mural seen on an RV trip to town

Allow a few days when you take your RV to Buffalo, Wyoming!

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Helmville Rodeo, MT – RV Camping with Horses

Livestock / rodeo horses

The rodeo horses run in from a distant pasture.

Some rodeo kids stop by our rig.

Ladies barrel racing Helmville Montana Rodeo

Ladies' Barrel racing.

Ladies barrel racing Helmville Montana Rodeo

What a thrill!

Ladies barrel racing Helmville Montana Rodeo

Sharp turns and quick starts and stops.

Mom and daughter watch the races.

Juniors barrel racing Helmville Montana Rodeo

The 10-and-under riders took their time.

Future rodeo star.

Mutton busters Helmville Montana Rodeo

Kids clamp onto sheep's wool for the

Mutton Busters race.

Mutton busters Helmville Montana Rodeo

They all fell off eventually.

Mutton busters Helmville Montana Rodeo

Some get plucked off when the going gets too rough.

Mutton busters Helmville Montana Rodeo

One tried to ride upright.

Mutton busters Helmville Montana Rodeo

He was a crowd pleaser.

Kids love rodeos

The kids loved every bit of the rodeo scene.

Kids love rodeos

Can I pet you?


Professional rodeo riders

The pros.

Professional rodeo riders

Resting between events.

Professional rodeo riders Professional rodeo riders

2009 Finals

Elite Professional Bullriders, Inc.

Bull riding Helmville Rodeo

And that's what this profession is all about.

Bullriding at the Rodeo

Youngsters learning to take the kicks...

Professional Bullriding at the Rodeo

Face plant.

Steer wrestling at the rodeo

Steer wrestling.

Tie down roping at the rodeo

Tie down roping - first rope the calf.

Tie down roping at the rodeo

Then tie it down as your horse keeps tension on the line.

Tie down roping at the rodeo Tie down roping at the rodeo

Tie the knots well so the calf can't wriggle free later!

Team cow roping and milking at the Helmville Rodeo

Team cow roping and milking.

Team cow roping and milking at the Helmville Rodeo

Getting a cup of milk for the referee.

Horseback riding

Helmville, Montana Rodeo (2)

Labor Day Weekend, 2009 - The Helmville Rodeo

in Montana had so much going on that we took

1,000 photos between us and had a hard time

choosing just 50 for the website.  First thing in the

morning the rodeo horses were all driven from a

distant pasture over to the arena, right past our

campsite.  What a magnificent sight as they

thundered effortlessly past us, manes and tails

flying, nostrils flaring and snorting.

A group of kids stopped by our trailer to sell us some bead

jewelry they had made.  Their freckles and happy faces

were irresistible.  Mark bought a bracelet so he could

engage them in conversation for a little while before they

ran off.  "Hey, can you girls stand over there so I can get a

photo?"  He asked.  A little voice piped up from the back.

"I'm not a girl!"  Oops.  But so cute!!  Several were siblings,

and all of them turned up later in the the 10-and-under

barrel race.

Over at the

rodeo that

afternoon the

young cowgirls

showed us

what barrel

racing is all

about.  These

gals flew past

in a blaze of


The distance

wasn't far, but

getting around the barrels

required perfect timing and

impeccable human-equine

communication to slow down

enough to get around in a tight

turn without knocking over the

barrel and then accelerate to

the next barrel.

The joy of riding at such

speeds lit every girls face, and

was by far my favorite event.

The fastest time was an

electrifying 27 seconds or so.

The kids were up next, and we

rooted for each of our young

friends from around our

campsite.  The little boy whom

Mark had accidentally lumped

into the group of "you girls" did a

stately walk on his horse around

the course.  The littlest girl went

at such a leisurely stroll that she

finished with a noble time of

some 1 minute 52 seconds or so.

"Don't worry," the announcer said as her horse walked down the back stretch,

"We've rented this rodeo space for the whole afternoon."  The kids store our


Scanning the stands, our hearts

were stolen again.  Donna Lea

snapped a photo of a little boy

sitting on a toy steer wearing a

large cowboy hat.

Out in the rodeo arena the

announcer got us all chuckling as

we watched the "Mutton

Busters."  Here the under-7 set

clung onto the backs of sheep as

they raced across the field, trying

like heck not to slip off.

Eventually each kid wound up on

the ground and the sheep

scampered away, some of them

leaping as they went.

Some kids got plucked off the backs of the sheep by their

beltloops when it looked like they might get trampled

under the sheep's hooves.

One little boy tried riding his sheep like a horse.

It didn't last long, but he sure knew how to ham it up after he fell off.

The kids were the true delight of this rodeo.  They were

everywhere, and they seemed to love every bit of it.

Even the cattle pens looked like so much fun the kids climbed

in with them to pet them.

I don't know if I'd want to get that close.  Saying hello through

the bars of the pen was good enough for me.

But there is a professional

side to the rodeo business,

and we enjoyed watching

the cowboys preparing and

resting between events.

It was a world apart for us.  For

them it's a profession and involves a

lot of hard work, big kicks and pride.

Seeing them getting tossed from the

bulls seemed like a rough way to

make a living.

There was a category of bull riding

for kids too.

Next up was the steer wrestling.  In

this event the cowboy chases after

the calf on his horse and

then slides off onto the

ground, grasping the

steer's head in his

arms.  Once on

the ground, the

cowboy uses all

his might to twist

the steer's strong

neck to thrust it

onto it's back.

This was followed by the tie down

roping.  Here the cowboy roped the calf

by the neck and then relied on his

horse to hold the line to the calf taught

while he tied up the calf's legs.  The

horse would slowly back up if the line


Then, to prove that the calf was

properly tied, the horse

would walk forward to

release the tension on

the line slightly.  At that

point several calves

wriggled free, showing

that the cowboy needed

to go home and work on

his knots.

The last event was a crazy free-for-all.  Pairs of people ran across the

field swinging ropes while a herd of mother cows was released at the

other end.  The goal was to rope a cow and get her to stand still while

you got a cup of milk from her.  Right!  Sure enough, one pair of guys

in front of us pulled it off.  As they rushed to the referee with their cup

of milk we saw another pair of guys at the opposite end running to the

referee at the same time, cup of milk held high.  It was a tie.

We left the rodeo still chuckling.  What a fun celebration of

the ranching lifestyle.  Each event represented a ranching

technique that is (or was) used in the daily process of

managing cattle in far flung ranges.

We spent days trying to trim our gazillion pictures down to a manageable number.  The air was getting chilly too, so

we turned the trailer south on I-15 through Utah to head to the annual Interbike bicycle trade show in Las Vegas,




















































































Helmville Rodeo, MT – Bull-riders, Bucking Broncos and Cute Kids

Helmville Montana

We select a campsite in the pasture.

Helmville Montana horseback riding

Families exercisied their horses all around us.

Helmville Montana horseback riding

9-year-old Szeplyn was on her horse all afternoon.

Helmville Montana horseback riding

She stopped by for a visit.

Helmville Montana Labor Day Rodeo

Szeplyn shows us how her horse can smile.

Helmville Montana Labor Day Rodeo

The steer dashes across the field with the ropers in pursuit.

Roping at the Helmville Rodeo

Ropes fly as the "header" tries to snag the horns.

Roping at the Helmville Rodeo

Success - the steer's horns are caught.

Roping at the Helmville Rodeo

Tied head and foot, the steer rolls his eyes.

Roping at the Helmville Rodeo

Header and Heeler pause for a split second then release the steer.

Roping at the Helmville Rodeo

Catching a steer this way is no easy task.

The round-robin ropers wait their turn and laugh at the

antics of a buddy in the ring.

The steer are herded from the landing pen back to the

starting pen for another round.

Cattle at the Helmville Rodeo

Standing room only in the starting pen.

Family fun

No kid is too young for a rodeo.

Montana flag

Montana !!

bucking bronco riding

The bucking broncos do their best to

fling their riders into the air.

bareback riding Helmville Rodeo

Hang on!!

Bareback riding bronco riding Helmville Rodeo

This is not for the faint hearted.

Bareback riding bronco riding Helmville Rodeo

This horse came out kicking.

Bareback riding bronco riding Helmville Montana Rodeo Bareback riding bronco riding Helmville Montana Rodeo Bareback riding bronco riding Helmville Montana Rodeo Bareback riding bronco riding Helmville Montana Rodeo

Mark does Annie Oakley.

Helmville, Montana Rodeo (1)

Labor Day Weekend, 2009 - Our Stevensville, Montana friends, Bob

and Donna Lea, wanted us to get a taste of the real western cowboy

experience, so they took us to the Helmville Rodeo.  This is an annual

three-day event over Labor Day weekend that attracts rodeo stars and

ranch hands from all over the west.  Spectators and entrants alike find a

spot in the pasture to park their campers and horse trailers, and

everyone sets up for a fun-filled weekend.

We soon found

ourselves surrounded

by kids and their

parents exercising

their horses.  The

thick grasses and

expansive lands that

spread out against

the rolling brown

Montana hills seemed

perfect for taking your

horse out for a spin.

One little girl in

particular caught our

eye.  Nine-year-old

Szeplyn had a

magical way with her

horse.  She pranced past us repeatedly,

hair flying in the wind, as free and happy

as any girl her age could be.  At other

times she would wander by in a more

contemplative mood, scanning the

distant horizon.  She seemed to drift by

us on silent feet, at one with her horse,

the breeze and her world.

She stopped by our campsite to pay us a

visit and introduced herself.  She was

going to be in the barrel race the next

day.  There was a special category for

kids 10-and-under from the local area.

She was excited and we watched her

practicing with her dad.

During our visit she showed us how she

could make her horse smile.  Funny thing, he didn't seem to mind much as she pulled his lips into a

big toothy grin.  There was a real affection in this relationship that went both ways.

Next morning, down at the rodeo fairgrounds, the round-robin team

roping event was already underway when we got there.  In this event

a steer would be released to run across the field.  Two ropers would

the follow in hot pursuit.

One roper, the "header," would attempt to rope the steer's

horns.  Only one in five ropers managed to snare those horns.

Most steer got across the field in record time, untouched.

If the steer's horns were caught, the other roper, the "heeler," would

attempt to rope the steer's feet.  The was very tricky, as the feet are

running darned quickly and the rope has to slip under them mid-stride.

Of the steer whose heads were caught only a few got their feet caught


Once the steer was strung out between the two ropers, a

huge cheer would go up.  Then, as fast as you could click

the shutter on your camera, the steer would be released.

Of the forty or so round-robin ropers waiting their turn, every header in the

bunch would pair up with every heeler, giving every possible pairing of

ropers a chance.

There was a

large herd of

cattle that


and once they

each had run across the field in a

scrambling effort to evade getting

caught, they would all be herded back

to the starting line so they could run

another time.

The holding pen of steer waiting to

run across the field was very tight.

We learned later that these cattle are

rented to rodeos for performance purposes, so

they have a pretty good handle on what's

ahead of them.  I'm sure some of all that

mooing in the pen was a lively discussion about

how to outwit the ropers.  There might have

even been a bit of story telling among them about their

escapades in the rodeo.

The rodeo was a family event, and we saw kids of all ages

enjoying the fun.  No youngster was too small to be a part.

After the round-robin event was over, the professional show

started, kicked off by a circling of the Montana flag, then the

US flag, and finally everyone stood for the national anthem.

The bucking broncos were a real eye opener.  These horses get

their privates cinched up in a way that makes men cringe.  The

gate is flung open and the horse leaps into the air while the

cowboy hangs on for dear life.

Some horses really let their riders have it.  But

some riders manage to stay on for a miraculously

long time too.

One horse came out clawing the air.  His rider

somehow stayed on his back, even though the

horse reared a second time before giving him a rip-

roaring ride.

The facial expressions of the riders were priceless.

The event is timed in seconds, and rarely lasted

more than a few, but time must have been standing

still for those dare-devil men as they got

flung about like rag dolls.

The rodeo was a place where testosterone

was in very good supply.  Getting a burger,

we stood behind a fellow whose thoughts

about gun ownership were proudly

emblazoned on the back of his shirt.

There was a raffle for a gun Mark thought

was especially cool, and he did his best

Annie Oakley after he bought a ticket.  I

don't know what his plans were for the gun

if he'd won it, but his ticket didn't turn out to

be a winner in the end.

Neither of us has

spent much time

around horses or

farm animals, so we

loved every minute of

this action packed

weekend.  In the

evening we retreated

to our campsite,

watching the kids

trotting around on their horses.  We fell asleep to the sounds of horses

whinnying and snorting all around us as they stood outside tied to their

trailers.  Next morning we were up bright and early to catch more of the

Helmville Rodeo.