2008 Old Timer's Celebration
Hyattville, Wyoming by Echo Renner – The old west cow town of Hyattville celebrated the National Day of the American Cowboy (NDAC) and the 99th Annual Old Timer’s Day in true cowboy style on Saturday, July 26th. An estimated 200 people attended the celebration.
Residents of the Big Horn Basin and beyond enjoyed a day of free family fun with a picnic, cowboy parade, street fair, critter rides, lil’ buckaroo dummy roping, worn-out cowboy boot contest, and a live street dance. Horse races and miniature chuck wagon races added some excitement, in conjunction with a kid’s western coloring contest, silent auction and raffle, and a log branding. Hub Whitt provided cowboy music throughout the afternoon, and Danny Many Horses thrilled the crowds with his storytelling.
Hollywood actor, Wilford Brimley, a resident of the nearby community of Shell, enjoyed the day with his wife, even entering a buggy in the cowboy parade. Rodeo royalty, Greybull Days of ’49 Rodeo Junior Princess, Anna Flitner, was on hand through the merriment, and rode in the parade.
Emma Karhu won the silver belt buckle in the lil’ buckaroo dummy roping competition. Linda Hamilton and Dan Rice won the worn-out cowboy boot contest men’s and women’s divisions, respectively, each receiving a $50 gift certificate for new boots.
The Greer Brothers, Herman Ranch, and the Old Timer’s provided the roast beef for the picnic at the Medicine Lodge State Archaeological Site, and the Paintrock Punchers 4-H Club served food and beverages downtown through the afternoon and evening.
Copies of the book Paintrock Tales and Bonanza Trails, compiled by the Hyattville History Committee from oral and written histories of Hyattville and Bonanza folks, was available during the street fair.
The Guardians of the Range, Hyattville Old Timer’s Association, and the Ten Sleep - Hyattville Lion’s Club sponsored the revelry. The Guardians are a non-profit organization dedicated to sound science and community partnership in public land management. They address grazing issues on behalf of permittees on the Shoshone and Bighorn National Forests, the Cody /Worland / Lander BLM Resource Management areas, and their surrounding communities. Guardians Executive Director, Kathleen Jachowski says she is thrilled the Guardians could combine their Cowboy Day celebration with the Old Timer’s.
American Cowboy magazine launched the National Day of the American Cowboy campaign in 2004, to acknowledge and preserve the heritage, history, and culture of America’s cowboys and cowgirls. The late U.S. Senator Craig Thomas (R-Wyoming) sponsored the first NDAC resolution, and the first NDAC celebration occurred July 23, 2005. President George W. Bush issued a statement of support for the resolution that same year. After Senator Thomas’ death in 2007, U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) took over as the Senate sponsor in 2008. The resolution will have to be reintroduced each year until it is officially designated a national day of observance by the President. The official National Day of the American Cowboy is always the fourth Saturday in July.
“The Old Timer’s Association is almost 100 years old, and Hyattville is one of the last small ranching communities that is still a ranching community. The spirit of the West is still alive in Hyattville,” says Bill Greer, long-time Hyattville rancher. Greer also serves as Vice President of the Guardians of the Range and is a member of the Hyattville Old Timer’s Association.
Hyattville, a western cow town at the base of the Big Horn Mountains, was founded in the 1880’s and known originally as Paintrock until 1886, when Sam W. Hyatt became its first postmaster. Asa Mercer, author of the highly controversial – and now highly sought after – book, The Banditti of the Plains, also made Hyattville his home.