We used to enjoy an occasional afternoon at a greyhound racetrack. Over a nice lunch in the climate-controlled clubhouse, we’d place our two-dollar bets on the races. We each used our own “scientific method” of determining the winning dogs. Our methods rarely worked, but we had fun. So, when we saw that Abilene, Kansas, is home to the Greyhound Hall of Fame museum, we had to visit. The Hall of Fame highlights the history of the greyhound racing industry and pays tribute to both humans and dogs who impacted the industry.
Last summer we visited Old Abilene Town in Abilene, Kansas, as part of a media event. That evening, our hosts treated us to a cattle drive featuring Texas Longhorn cattle, a ride on the Abilene and Smoky Valley Railroad, and a museum tour. In the museum we learned about Wild Bill Hickok’s time in Abilene. So, we were excited when we were also invited to attend the Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo, where we could see real cowboys and cowgirls in competitive action.
The Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo is an annual event, named multiple times as one of the top five professional outdoor rodeos in America. What was the rodeo like?
More often than not, we travel the back roads on our road trips. It beats dealing with heavy traffic on interstate highways, saves on gas mileage since we drive slower, and we see more of real America, passing through small towns.
Before this summer, I knew little about Wild Bill Hickok. Then, within just a few weeks, we visited three places within Kansas and Illinois that all shared Hickok stories—quite a coincidence. I learned several fascinating facts about him and included some in this slideshow:
Abilene, Kansas, was the first of the cow towns in the Wild West. Today, Old Abilene Town recreates those days with buildings that simulate the 1870s Abilene and museums that tell the history of the Chisholm trail, cattle drives, and Abilene life in the days of Wild Bill Hickok.
When I was growing up, Wizard of Oz was broadcast on television once every year. I, and every kid I knew, looked forward to the day that Dorothy would end up in the land of Munchkins and journey to Emerald City. Along her journey, Dorothy worked her way into our hearts as she faced fearful obstacles and made new friends. So, today, when I find that our travels are taking us near a Wizard of Oz attraction, it immediately goes on our itinerary. Here are three that we’ve enjoy over the past few years: