.Don't miss two great events coming up this summer in West Yellowstone, Montana. The painted buffalo return home to West Yellowstone with a special reunion & unveiling that kicks off on August 24, 2013 on the lawn of the Yellowstone Historic Center Museum. Then, join in the 25th Anniversary of the 1988 Yellowstone Fires and learn the story of how Idaho potato farmers saved West Yellowstone on September 2nd, 2013. "Remembering the Fires of '88" will include free movies, food, and fun! Coming for the events? West Yellowstone offers a full range of lodging options from cabins to family-style motels to hotel rooms with all the amenities. More information is available at www.yellowstonedestination.com/sleep.

The Painted Buffalo Re-Union & Re-Unveiling!
The initial Painted Buffalo project was conceptualized by the West Yellowstone Economic Development organization (WYED). It involved near life-sized buffalo cow statues made from fiberglass, and one year later life-sized buffalo calf statues, painted by local and regional artists. The artistic theme of the project was to depict Yellowstone National Park, Historic West Yellowstone, or the Native Americans of the region using the bare fiberglass buffalo statue as the artistic canvas. 
The late Joe Halko, a Montana artist and sculptor from Chouteau, was contracted to create the buffalo cow model from which a mold was developed by Fiberstock Inc. of Buffalo, Minnesota. A public call out to artists resulted in artists from four neighboring states submitting bids to compete for right to paint one of the 27 buffalo and one year later one of the 10 calves. This project could not have happened without community support. Numerous sponsors donated $3,000 per buffalo to cover project costs which included artist fees. Some sponsors donated $10,000 to the project.

The grand unveiling for the buffalo cows was on June 2nd and 3rd in 2007. The grand unveiling for the calves was one year later in June of 2008. For more than two years, millions of visitors looked at, touched, walked under, walked around, probably climbed on (though they were not supposed to) and otherwise marveled at these incredibly beautiful buffalo sculptures. The project was written up by media across the Western United States. Literally millions of photos were taken of the 27 cows and 10 calves that graced the streets of West Yellowstone since the summer of 2007. 

This three-year project culminated on the beautiful summer night of August 29, 2009. With more than 200 people in attendance, every single cow and calf was auctioned off to an enthusiastic crowd of art lovers, community supporters, and those who greatly appreciate the beauty of the Greater Yellowstone Region. Phone bids into the live auction were received from as far away as Georgia, California, and Nevada. It was a magical night and the auction raised $161,500 for WYED and its community projects including funding a local grants program. 

In 2013, the painted buffalo are reuniting in West Yellowstone during the third week of August. The buffalo are coming from owners in Montana, Idaho, Utah, and other locations. The initial unveiling will be re-enacted in combination with a full day of fun and free activities. Throughout the day, the Yellowstone Historic Museum will feature an inaugural showing of a short 10-minute video about the Buffalo Roam project, called "Where the Painted Buffalo Roam: Story of the Painted Buffalo in West Yellowstone." Everyone is invited to participate. Bring your camera for a very unique photographic opportunity!

August 24th, 2013 Schedule   

  • 9:00 AM                   Painted Buffalo Corralled on he lawn of the Yellowstone Historic Museum Center
  • 10:30-11:00 AM        Buffalo Chip Throwing Practice (all ages!)
  • 11:00-11:15 AM        Opening Ceremonies
  • 11:15 AM                  Buffalo Unveiling
  • 11:30 AM -3:00 PM    Painted Buffalo Video
  • 11:30 AM -3:00  PM   Kid's Games including Buffalo Chip Throwing Conte, Coloring        Contest, Pin Tail on Buffalo
  • 11:30 AM -1:00  PM    Free "Buffalo Chip" Ice Cream Cones - the signature ice cream created by Wilcoxson’s for the first Buffalo Roam event and still available today  
  • 11:30 AM -12:15 PM   Guided Walking Tour      
  • 12:30  PM -1:00 PM    Mountain Man Presentation: Join Old Blind Bill Bennett "Buffalar"  Hunter, Injun Fighter, Mountain Man and the biggest darn liar in the Rocky Mountains as he takes a look at some of the mountain man stereotypes. He'll talk about who these people really were, what they were like, and the contributions they made not only to West Yellowstone but to our country.
  • 1:00 PM - 1:45  PM     Guided Walking Tour
  • 2:00 PM - 2:30 PM      Mountain Man Presentation
  • 2:30 PM -3:15  PM      Guided Walking Tour
  • 3:00 PM -9:00   PM     Painted Buffalo Video, "Where the Painted Buffalo Roam: Story of the Painted Buffalo in West Yellowstone"  at the Yellowstone Historic Center Museum

The Painted Buffalo will remain on the lawn at the Yellowstone Historic Center from August 24th through September 2nd, 2013.

"Remembering the Fires of '88" - September 2nd, 2013

The last day of the Painted Buffalo Reunion corresponds to another important reunion and commemoration here in West Yellowstone. On September 2nd 1988, sprinkler pipe from the farmers in Idaho came rolling into town to defend West Yellowstone from the rapidly approaching Yellowstone Park fires.

Local citizens, fire fighting personnel, and farmers all worked together to lay the sprinkler lines, setup the pumps, and build a perimeter of defense that saved the town.

Twenty-five years later, WYED along with the Hebgen Basin Fire District is sponsoring a special celebration to honor those who helped defend West Yellowstone from the impending fires. Everyone is invited to learn more including the premiere of a new fire video featuring the North Fork Fire and sprinkler efforts to save the town.

September 2, 2013 Schedule    

Afternoon displays from Fire Department and Painted Buffalo in the corral on the lawn of the Yellowstone Historic Center Museum.

Continuous showing of the premiere film at the Yellowstone Historic Center Museum

3:00 PM: Free showing of IMAX film “Wild Fires." Pick up tickets (9 AM - 2:50 PM from the Yellowstone Historic Center Museum, 104 Yellowstone Avenue) 

5:00 PM-6:30 PM:  Free hamburgers or hot dogs for all who are attending the program at the Union Pacific Historic Dining Lodge

6:30 PM: "Remembering The Fires of '88" Program and displays at the Union Pacific Dining Lodge Hall
Photo of West Yellowstone and helicopter bucket pulling from the Madison River are used with permission from Yellowstone National Park, Jeff Hearney, photographer.

The Yellowstone Historic Center Museum will be open daily in August and September. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for Seniors and Military, $3 for students 13yrs through college, $2 for 4yrs through 12yrs, and free under 4yrs. It is located in the historic Union Pacific Railroad Depot, on the southwest corner of Canyon Street and Yellowstone Avenue in West Yellowstone, Montana, just two blocks west of the west entrance to Yellowstone Park.  To find the Museum, look for the Bronze bear statue on the front lawn, the stagecoaches on the front porch, the bright yellow water wagon near the front entrance, and the large sign on the corner.

West Yellowstone offers a full range of lodging options from cabins to family-style motels to hotel rooms with all the amenities. More information is available at www.yellowstonedestination.com/sleep.