Best of the Wild West

The Oklahoman - - FRONT PAGE - FROM STAFF RE­PORTS

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.

[PHO­TOS BY BRYAN TERRY, THE OK­LA­HOMAN]

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.

[PHO­TOS BY BRYAN TERRY, THE OK­LA­HOMAN]

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.

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