Best of the Wild West
PAWNEE — Sharpshooters, trick riders and horsedrawn stagecoaches were on display recently as the Old West came alive during Pawnee Bill’s Wild West Show.
This year marked the 30th anniversary of the show held at the Pawnee Bill Ranch and Museum, 1141 Pawnee Bill Road.
This year’s production is based on shows produced by Gordon W. “Pawnee Bill” Lillie, a former cowboy and trapper who started his life-long relationship with the Pawnee Tribe after moving with his family to Kansas in the late 1800s. He served as a teacher at the Pawnee agency and worked as an interpreter for a U.S. Indian agent, where he became known as “Pawnee Bill.”
Lillie was recruited for the first Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West show in 1883, and in 1888 began touring the country with his own Wild West show.
In the current show, Lillie was portrayed by Kevin Webb, a long-time Wild West Show cast member and ranch employee. The show also featured actors portraying Annie Oakley and Buffalo Bill. Visitors to the ranch can tour Lillie’s 14-room mansion, fully furnished with original belongings. The property also houses a museum featuring a number of exhibits on Lillie, the Wild West Shows and the Pawnee Tribe. Visitors also can view bison, longhorn cattle and several draft horses at the ranch.
The ranch is open from 1 to 4 p.m. on Mondays and Sundays, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday until October. For more information, go to www.okhistory.org/ sites/pawneebill.
The Pawnee Bill Ranch recreates Pawnee Bill’s Original Wild West Show in June every year.
Trick rider Wendy Ratchford Lattin performs during Pawnee Bill’s Wild West Show.
A child hangs his feet over the back of the bleachers before Pawnee Bill’s Wild West Show.
Trick roper Kowboy Kal performs during Pawnee Bill’s Wild West Show.
A cast member rides into the arena during Pawnee Bill’s Wild West Show at the Pawnee Bill Ranch.
A 5-week-old buffalo named Pawnee greets visitors during Pawnee Bill’s Wild West Show.