Wyoming July 06, 2017
This Legend Is So Epic, A Wyoming Town Celebrates It Every Year
Wyoming’s history is full of legends, yarns, and tales of mythical proportion.
One legend has taken on a life of its own, and has become the central theme of an annual ritual celebrated in the town of Lusk. The Legend of Rawhide is a reenactment of an incident that is said to have taken place just south of town as settlers were coming to the territory. Probably as much tall-tale as fact, the action-packed production is something everyone should experience.
Every summer the city of Lusk, Wyoming hosts a weekend of events centered around the Legend of Rawhide.
The tradition started in 1946 to raise money to improve the fairgrounds. The money the Legend of Rawhide brings in always benefits the community. Over the years, the celebration has provided funds for the ambulance and EMTs, the Stage Coach Museum, the library, and local baseball teams. It's even allowed the city to create a scholarship fund for local youth.
Every year, the performance of the Legend of Rawhide adheres to a script penned by Eva Lou Bonsell.
The story had been floating around for years, but in the 1940s, Ms. Bonsell collaborated with another local, Dr. Walter Reckling, to create a formal script for a play. They probably didn't think their little show would become so successful. Today, over 400 volunteers from the town participate in the events associated with the Legend of Rawhide, with about 200 of them playing parts in the production.
The events are said to have taken place a bit south of Lusk in the Rawhide Buttes area...
...during the time when pioneers were coming out West.
The play tells the story of Clyde Pickett, an avid Indian-hater. When Clyde falls in love with Kate Farley, another pioneer on the wagon train, he tries to impress her by boasting that he will kill the first Indian he sees.
Unfortunately, that turns out to be an innocent girl who happens to be an Indian chief's daughter.
Naturally, the Native Americans must retaliate for the unprovoked death, so they descend on the settlers.
The play has everything a modern-day action film has, including high-speed chases, gunfire, bullet-dodging...
...a wagon is set on fire and a man is skinned alive!
The reenactment only takes up a couple hours time, however. The rest of the two-day event includes a parade...
...in which many locals enjoy getting into the pioneer spirit.
There are also wagon-pulls, live music, dancing, raffles, a fun run...
...and a choreographed flag ceremony rounds out the weekend's events.
Have you been to Lusk for the Legend of Rawhide? What was your favorite part of the weekend?