Why I Support the Center of the West…
Arnold A. Brown of Poulsbo, Washington
For the past hundred years, the Buffalo Bill Memorial Association has benefited from the support of thousands of individuals across the nation and around the world. We’re honored that so many of our members choose to remain loyal supporters long after joining, in many cases for the rest of their lives. Such is the case of Arnold A. Brown of Poulsbo, Washington, who shares his story below:
I was 7 years old in 1953, when our family vacationed from our home in Minnesota through the Black Hills of South Dakota, and across to Sheridan, Wyoming, for the rodeo there. After that, we went to Cody where we stopped to view the statue of Buffalo Bill before continuing to Yellowstone’s east entrance to visit my grandmother who was working there as a camp cook and baker for the park employees.
In 1957, after moving to Washington state, we vacationed with my uncle’s family in the opposite direction. Once again, we saw the sights of Yellowstone, and then spent a night at Blackwater Creek Lodge just outside the Park where we had a wonderful meal and rode horses into the primitive back country at dusk. After that, we visited Cody and marveled once more at the statue of The Scout before continuing “home” to visit relatives in Minnesota.
In the succeeding years, I made many more trips back and forth along that route and others throughout the western states. There, I loved the beauty of the land, the openness, the wildlife, and the unspoiled nature of the land. To my eye, the Rocky Mountain states of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado were, without a doubt, the most beautiful I had ever seen.
In 1990, my wife and I set off once again on a vacation that covered visits to Glacier National Park, Great Falls [Montana], Yellowstone, and Cody. While staying in Cody, we took the opportunity to visit the Buffalo Bill Center of the West for the first time together, walking through all the different museums, taking in the enormity of the exhibits. I was so awestruck by what I saw that I was moved to visit the membership office and become a member on the spot; I have been a sustaining member ever since.
In the years following, I returned many times, once with a cousin visiting from Denmark and twice accompanied by my father for the Cowboy Songs & Range Ballads music festival. We both enjoyed the event immensely, and there I met my now longtime friend, the symposium host and recording artist Skip Gorman. Then in 2004, with two daughters, ages 13 and 11, we took a three-week vacation to Glacier National Park, Calgary and Edmonton, Canada, South Dakota, and then back through Cody. We attended the Cody Nite Rodeo and wandered the museums over a three-day period, after which we visited Yellowstone on our way back home.
I have made two solo visits to Cody and the Center since that time and never tire of what I encounter on each visit. My affinity for the attractions of the West never wanes, and I cannot wait for my next sojourn to my favorite spots on the map. The Buffalo Bill Center of the West is without a doubt the largest and best museum of any kind I have ever seen, and I am proud to be a decades-long member. I share my passion for the place with everyone I know who may be considering a western state vacation, and I enthusiastically encourage them to make time to see ALL the different museums housed in the Center.
With a little luck, I will get to visit many more times before I become too old to travel. There is always something new and exciting to see—both at the Center and on the road—taking in the scenery of western life and nature unspoiled!