5 Places to Spot Cowboys in Wyoming by Joanne Kennedy
There are plenty of places to spot a cowboy right down the road from my place on the wild edge of Wyoming. There’s the Belvoir Ranch, where my friend Karl Zunker is right this moment waging a noble battle against larkspur, a poisonous plant that’s the bane of cowboys everywhere. There’s the King Ranch, where I “helped” the latest generation of this ranching family brand calves last year. And there’s the Bunkhouse Bar, which I featured in my first book, Cowboy Trouble.
But I thought we’d get a little deeper into small-town Wyoming and find some different kinds of cowboys.
1. Cody, WY: The Buffalo Bill Center of the West
This Wyoming town was founded by Buffalo Bill Cody, who popularized the concept of cowboys as romantic heroes in dime novels and his spectacular Wild West shows. At his namesake museum, you’ll learn he was a complex character, ultimately both tragic and heroic. Once you’ve covered the museum, you can belly up to the bar at the historic Irma Hotel, where Bill and his buddies were known to hoist a few.
If you’re looking for a cowboy who’s not over a hundred years old, check out the Cody Nite Rodeo. I promise you won’t be disappointed!
2. Sheridan, WY: The Mint Bar
Sheridan is one of my favorite Wyoming towns. It’s not too big, not too small; not as swanky as Jackson, but still filled with quirky cafes and a really good bookstore. Best of all, it’s got the Mint Bar. From the neon bronc rider out front to the historic rodeo and roundup photos that line the walls, the place is as cowboy as it gets. Many cowboys have hoisted a drink here, and many horses, too, since the phrase “a horse walked into a bar” hasn’t always been a joke at the Mint. Local ranch hands mingle with tourists, and thousands of authentic ranch brands are burnt into the cedar shingles.
3. Cheyenne, WY: Cheyenne Frontier Days
My all-time favorite place to find a cowboy is at the Daddy of ‘em All: Cheyenne Frontier Days. On the last full week in July, the world’s largest outdoor rodeo takes over Wyoming’s capitol city. Daily rodeos feature top competitors from all over the world. You can book a seat in the arena or hang out under the stands near the Cowboy Ready area—or hit the Buckin’ A Saloon after the show and find a cowboy of your own! Once the sun goes down, you can find country crooning cowboys at the night shows. Keith Urban and Tim McGraw are just two of this year’s stellar performers.
4. Meeteetse, WY: Meeteetse Chocolatier
Meeteetse is a dusty little town with a population of 327 souls. I’m betting half that population is made up of cowboys, but one in particular, Tim Kellogg, would make the perfect hero for a romance novel. A former rodeo cowboy, he learned candy-making from his grandmother, and he sold his first chocolates to raise money for a custom saddle. Chocolate was a side-hustle until injuries ended his rodeo career and he converted Meeteetse’s former Blue Ribbon Bar into a fragrant Mecca for chocolate lovers. His chocolates have a Wild West touch, offering ingredients from Coor’s beer to cactus. He goes to Europe every year to study his craft, but he makes sure he’s back in town in time for the Valentine’s Day rush. So you see, he hits all the high notes: cowboy, chocolates, and Valentine’s Day. Told you he was perfect! (Sorry, Tim!)
5. Laramie, WY: The University of Wyoming
The truth is, everybody in Wyoming is a Cowboy, especially on game day. The University of Wyoming football team inspires intense loyalty, and you’ll find the school colors, brown and gold, on everything from road signs to cowboy boots. The school mascot, Pistol Pete, does a little jig to “Ragtime Cowboy Joe,” at every halftime. (To be honest, I find Pistol Pete terrifying, but I do love the “Cowboy Joe” symbol that defines the university.) If you don’t think a school can truly capture the cowboy spirit, how about this: the mall at the heart of the campus is known as “Prexy’s Pasture” because it was once a rule that only the college president could graze his cattle there!
And of course, you can find my cowboys at the local bookstores. Cade and Jess should be appearing on the shelves at Barnes & Noble, WalMart, any day now!
Cowboy Summer - Blue Sky Cowboys Book 1
Jess Bailey broke Cade Walker's heart when she left for the city—but she was just trying to find her own way in the world. When Jess's dad calls her home and tells her he's selling the ranch, she realizes she's about to lose the life she was born to live. And when she sees Cade again, she knows how much she's lost already.
As their nearest neighbor, Cade is always trying to help. But he's got his own ranch and his horse training business to think about. Even though his heart fills with hope for a second chance when he sees Jess, she left him once when things got tough. And she knows he moved on without her.
As the sale of the Bailey ranch looms over them, Jess and Cade start looking to the future. But can they ever trust one another again?
This giveaway is now over. The lucky winner is: Denise Schenk
Joanne Kennedy is the RITA-nominated author of ten contemporary Western romance novels. The first book in her Decker Ranch Trilogy, How to Handle a Cowboy, was named one of Booklist’s “Best Romances of the Decade.” She lives near Cheyenne, Wyoming. Joanne loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website, www.joannekennedybooks.com.