Wander logo

A Hidden Mountain Gem

A Small Wild Western Town

By Kim StambaughPublished 3 years ago 4 min read
"The Scout" by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney

Cody, Wyoming is hometown to about 10,000 people at most in city proper. It is known for its "western hospitality" and of course, Buffalo Bill (William F. Cody d. 1846-1917)

It is a place that captivates you, and your camera! Nestled right at the canyon's opening created by Cedar and Rattlesnake mountains we are only 60 miles from a national gem, Yellowstone National Park.

There are so many reasons to fall in love with this small Rocky Mountain western town. It is hard to put into words sometimes the expanse and the absolute isolation you can feel. Then, there are times you feel so safe and secure because of community. There is so much embodied in Cody as a hometown that photos are the only object to do it justice. This compellation below is to help you "feel" like you are home in Cody!

1. Cody's Found and Namesake

Buffalo Bill FFA Annual Tribute

Yes, we are so "hometown" we still celebrate its founder's birthday every year, no matter the weather, next to "The Scout". Our local Buffalo Bill FFA chapter recites historical fact and legend alike of who William F. Cody was, and who he is to our town today! With scripts, actors, flag presentation, and a gun salute we celebrate him in western fashion.

2. The Heart of our town and Crow (Apsáalooke) Country

Heart Mountain, the center of the Wyoming West.

Heart Mountain is an iconic landscape feature here in the Big Horn Basin. Sitting right outside of Cody's city limits it can be seen for miles around. It is a landmark for us present inhabitants, whereas it was a spiritual meeting ground for the Crow Tribe in the historic west. It is also home to amazing vegetation and wildlife. If you ever make it to Cody the trail to the top to experience are small hometown from above is a must!

3. Where the Cowboys Live On (a series)

Cody Nite Rodeo / Cody Stampede Rodeo
Cowboys & Rodeo (Dusty Moore, PRCA Pickup man)
Cody Nite Rodeo Bareback Rider, Behind the Chutes (Heath Ford)
Bull Rider Boots & Spurs

We love rodeo here! I do not mean like, I mean love. In June, July, and August, my hometown is worldwide known for having a rodeo performance all 90+ nights of the summer. There is no way you miss knowing that we are rodeoing each night. This is our version of "Friday Night Lights" every night. Wyoming is known as the Cowboy State, so what better way to celebrate this rich heritage then with a rodeo!

4. We Love our Outdoors & Wildlife (series)

Bison of Yellowstone National Park
Grizzly Mom & Cubs on hillside of the N. Fork of Shoshone River
Glassing the Mountainsides of the S. Fork of Shoshone River

All within 60 miles of your front door in Cody you can experience the most well-known views of wildlife from the West. We enjoy huge sky views. Mountains reaching up thousands of feet from the valley floor. We are outdoor enthusiast that love to see for miles with NO ONE, and I mean no one around, Cody is our kind of hometown.

5. We are American (series)

Veteran's Memorial Park in Cody, Wyoming.
Old Time Flag Bearers @ Annual Stampede Parade July 4th, 2014.
Army National Guard solider (Zac "Spud" Baker), 2019.
Veteran's State Park in Cody, WY.
Target Practice Prep

Here in Cody we celebrate being all that being an American is to this country. So many have served. We thank them and their families in so many ways here in small hometown life. When you are a tight community, we all feel it when there are losses of those who have served and given the ultimate sacrifice. Form parades, to honorary flag fields, to our veteran's memorial park; we want to say thank you!

6. We are back country dirt roads

Sunlight Road outside of Cody, WY

Minutes from town, or should I say even in town, we still have dirt roads. We live in an area that embraces the environment without always paving it. We love to go for walks in the evening or morning jogs, and YES, dirt is the preference!

7. We Are History & Discovery

Mammoth Discovery 2019 @ the Buffalo Bill Reservoir Cody, WY.
Whitney Western Art Gallery @ the BBCW Cody, WY.

We cherish all the history we can here in Cody. From prehistoric discoveries that go to the state vault for scientific study to the amazing Smithsonian affiliate museum "Buffalo Bill Center of the West" we like to tell people about who we are by what we were once.

8. We Are the Arts

Sacagawea Garden Sculpture @ the BBCW
Poker Church (Katherine Kappelmann, harpist) Cody, WY
Young Photo Enthusiast out & about in Cody, WY

We love live music. We love art. We love to connect in a creative way. Here in Cody we are a haven for so many buddying musicians, fine artists, and photographers. This is a place where our creativity comes alive from the stimulation of an amazing small-town community surrounded by what is coined, "God's country".

9. We are "The Nation" (series)

Annual Plains Indian Museum Powwow, 2019.
Jingle Dress Dancer Annual Plains Indian Powwow, 2017.
Men's Traditional Dancer Annual Plains Indian Powwow, 2019.

Here in Cody we live cowboys and Indians, together and we embrace that amazing cultural aspect. A highlight in our small town is our annual museum powwow that draws native vendors and dancers alike to share their culture with us through the art of dance and craftsmanship. Oh, and did I mention Indian tacos! Fry bread is the manna from "the nation," or should I be more specific the first nation's peoples.

10. We are culture, we are family, we ARE small town America (series)

And with these final photos I leave you with one last look at what makes an American hometown...home.

Biker Chix Annual Mountain Bike Clinic, Lion's Park, 2019
Red Lake Muddin' Pit Cody, WY
Water Chopper Fighting Summer Fires, 2018
Shiki Sushi Restaurant & Bar in Cody, WY.
Beck Lake Recreational Bike & Boat Area in Cody, WY
Top Notch Horse Sale outside the historic "Irma Hotel" in Cody, WY
Annual Peaks to Conga 70-mile bike ride to raise money in the fight against cancer
2019 Centennial Rodeo Fireworks on 4th of July

All photography is courtesy of Kim Zierlein author & owner of Frontier Fortitude.


About the Creator

Kim Stambaugh

The Frontier is how you challenge your boundaries. There is nothing simple, normal, or wrote in life. We each have a path, and it's unique. Struggles and passions alike, how you live your life dictates the legacy that you will leave.

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.