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Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, 1883

The first public performance of William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody’s Wild West show was May 19, 1883, in Omaha. A dress rehearsal had taken place May 10 in Columbus. Several residents of Sidney, however, enjoyed an even earlier preview of a few of the show’s attractions. Sidney Plaindealer-Telegraph editor J. C. Bush reported in the May 3, 1883, issue on an excursion to North Platte, which included a May 1 visit to Buffalo Bill’s ranch:

“In the afternoon in company with Mr. [James] McNulty and Hon. W. F. Cody we visited the germ of the great show which is to spring into existence the latter part of this month at Omaha and which will sweep all before it when once fairly started. . . . On a piece of level meadow land was pitched the tents for the men while the buffalo and a large number of horses were grazing in an adjoining pasture. A number of elk were expected in a day or two and men were engaged purchasing the most famous bucking horses that Nebraska afforded. ‘Buck’ Taylor, who is to be one of the star riders of the combination, gave an exhibition on a wall-eyed calico horse that would astonish the effeminate easterners, and if he lives long enough the performance will be repeated for their benefit during the summer. Another wing of the show is getting under way at Omaha, where the Indians will join it, and about the 17th of the present month the western Nebraska wonder will give its opening exhibition at the state’s metropolis.”

Of course, the Omaha performance of Cody’s show was a resounding success, and The Wild West went on to become renowned around the world as Nebraska’s unique contribution to entertainment. 

 

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