I’m not the best when it comes to vacation planning. Sure, I like to look at places to go. I like to daydream about being on vacation. But when it comes down to it, I’m not great about going on vacation. Some mind blowing encounters at Longmire Days may have me rethinking that.
I don’t remember how I learned of Longmire Days. I want to say I was tweeting about the show and a Longmire Posse member started tweeting at me. This is the power of social media. It’s ability to connect people. I tend to forget this as I post pics of my dogs or statuses of me being a general weirdo. Social media can connect people that share a common interest from anywhere in the world.
Who/What is Longmire?
Longmire is a tv show that debuted on A&E in 2012. It is based off the books by Craig Johnson. The title character, Walt Longmire, is a sheriff in fictional Absaroka County. Walt is old school. He doesn’t have a cell phone nor see a need for one. Although sometimes he will use one of his colleagues’ phones.
I had been hearing how great Longmire was for years so we finally checked it out a year or so ago. Carter started watching it before me but then stopped as he thought we should watch it together. I was reluctant as his description of it didn’t sell me on it. I didn’t think I was going to like it.
The show can be slow. Some friends have complained that it’s too slow for them. I don’t mind it being slow. I’ve never read the books so I’m not sure if they’re also slow.
Carter and I will both tell you that we’re not the kind of people to plan a vacation around a festival. And definitely not a festival based around a tv show. You’d think that with as much tv as I watch I would have at least entertained the idea of planning a vacation around a tv show.
Sure, I like Longmire. But Walt Longmire isn’t my favorite character in the show. For one he exists in a black and white universe. Things are either right or wrong. Good or evil. I live in the gray area. I always think there are a billion possible scenarios of why something is the way it is between that black and white area. I love playing devil’s advocate. I like to argue for arguments sake. I will take the opposite viewpoint of someone even if I agree with them just because I like to challenge myself to see things differently. So I don’t typical side with Walt Longmire. Fortunately the show has a lot of great characters for me to love.
The sixth annual Longmire Days was announced in January 2017. I immediately booked a room. But we had to stay in Sheridan, Wyoming, which is about 30 minutes from Buffalo, Wyoming. With a hotel room booked it made it easier for us to make this trip a reality. Although I did half expect us to come to our senses and realize that planning a vacation around a tv show festival was crazy. Fortunately, we didn’t over think it.
Some Longmire Days events required tickets. I logged on to Eventbrite the day tickets were released and I was too late to buy tickets to any events. I underestimated the Longmire Posse because all of the events were sold out. I got waitlisted for everything. And I never got unwaitlisted. It made me question whether we should even attend Longmire Days. Fortunately Carter was still game.
Here’s the tentative schedule of activities taken from the Buffalo Wyoming Chamber of Commerce website. As you can see there was lots to see and do.
TENTATIVE SCHEDULE OF ACTIVITIES
(subject to change)
6:45 p.m. Longmire Days Rodeo, Johnson County Fair grounds, 18 Fairgrounds Rd., Buffalo: pre-rodeo entertainment by Fort Phil Kearny, rodeo action starts at 7 p.m.; tickets are $10 each, and children 12 and under are free; tickets can be purchased at the Chamber or at the gate. Concessions on-site and following the rodeo, dance to Tris Munsick & The Innocents.
7 p.m. Big Horn Mountain Festival preview concert with opening act Prairie Wildflower; headliner will be Horseshoes & Hand Grenades at the Occidental Hotel, 10 N. Main St. Tickets are $10 each and are available at the Occidental front desk, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
9am-11am 5K Run/3K walk – Prosinski Park (registration required)
10am-1pm Autograph Session at Bomber Mountain Civic Center (ticket required) 10am-1pm Nataani Red Thunder – Native American Hoop Dancer at Crazy Woman Square
11am-3pm Poker School at Occidental Saloon (ticket required)
11am-2pm “What Was Ours” Wind River Reservation Documentary Screening & Panel at Cowboy Carousel Center
3pm-5pm Become a Best Seller, Craig Johnson & Penguin (Gail Hochman) at the Occidental Hotel
3pm-5pm A Conversation with (celebrities)…@ Buffalo High School (ticket required)
6pm Ruby Tea @ TA Guest Ranch
6pm Home Run Derby – Prosinski Park
7pm-9pm Cowboys vs Indians Softball Game– Prosinski Park
7pm Bob Barnes Pub Crawl – Registration begins at 7 p.m. at the Cowboy Carousel Center, 59 N. Lobban Ave.; pub crawl begins at 8 p.m.
9pm-10:30pm Occidental Jam with Actors/Wyoming Whiskey Auction
7am-10am Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast – Adams street, behind court house
9-10am Longmire Parade – Main Street
10am-1pm Autograph Session at Bomber Mountain Civic Center (ticket required)
10am-3pm Antique Car Show in Prosinski Park
10am-2pm Native American Performances @ Crazy Woman Square
11am-1pm Short Film and Discussion with Marcus Red Thunder @ Cowboy Carousel Center
2pm-5pm Longmire Fan Talent Show Auditions at Buffalo High School
2pm-6pm The Ferg’s Motorcycle Poker Run
3pm Poker Tournament at Cowboy Carousel Center (registration required through CCC)
3pm-5pm “Spiritual Gangsta: The Search For Truth” with Bailey Chase (TBD)
3pm-5pm A Conversation with (celebrities)…@ Buffalo High School (ticket required)
4pm-8pm Inflatables & Face Painting for the kids near Crazy Woman Square
6pm-11pm Street Dance – downtown Main street/Crazy Woman Square
10am-2pm Horseback Ride at Paradise Ranch – includes lunch (ticket required)
10am-2pm Native American Performances in CWS
11am-1pm A Conversation with (celebrities)…at Occidental Hotel (ticket required)
2pm-3pm Talent Show at Buffalo High School
3pm-5pm Book Talk/Autograph Session at Johnson County Library (ticket required)
4pm-9pm Closing Concert at Prosinski Park with Jason D Williams . Chili provided by Chugwater Chili for the first 600 visitors to the Chugwater Chili booth at the closing concert.
We left for Longmire Days at 11 PM. We like to get through the boring parts of the country at night. We had planned to get in a nap before we left. Between taking Caesar to the vet then getting both dogs over to Wags where we board them, a nap didn’t work out.
Carter set up a sleeping area in the back of the Explorer. It was this air mattress he got from Costco and a sleeping bag. It was so comfortable! We stopped at a rest stop for about an hour so he could try it out. I couldn’t sleep because the sun was coming up and there was too much to see at this truck stop. A lot of random people walking around that had my attention. I love the craziness of truck stops.
At 8 AM we were in the Badlands. Both of us were feeling pretty good so we decided to ride that wave, take a detour and check it out. We didn’t have dogs with us and we had no formal agenda so why not?!
The minute we got through the gates we saw a Bighorn Sheep. Jackpot! I love seeing wild animals, especially from the safety of my car. I was able to snap a few photos before Carter decided we better move along because the sheep looked like it was going to ram the car. Ram, get it?!
We made a few more stops before arriving at our hotel in Sheridan, Wyoming, at 3 PM. We were both exhausted, having each only slept an hour over past 33 hours that we’d been up. As much as we wanted to see what was going on at Longmire Days we just needed a nap and food. We took a quick nap then found a place to eat. After getting dinner we were asleep by 9 PM.
We woke up at 6 AM on Saturday ready to take on the day, mostly. We were still a little groggy from being up so long. We headed into Buffalo, Wyoming, where the event took place.
We found a good parking spot and took our chairs down to the parade route to save some spots. I’m always blown away by this concept. I guess I think there is going to be some chair and blanket thieves who will steal them. Guess what? No one took our chairs. Although, they did move them to edge their way into our spot. Plan ahead, people!
Next, we went to the pancake breakfast. The line to get in was long but it moved fast. While in line, we started talking with a couple in their 70’s from Buffalo. They had lived all over the country but had been in Buffalo for the last five years or so. It was wonderful to see people from the town getting behind Longmire days.
The population of Buffalo is just under 5,000. This couple said they read that 15,000 fans descend on Buffalo for Longmire Days. So the town quadruples. That could get annoying if you lived there. But it’s also a fabulous way to introduce people to this town, which is how this couple looked at it.
The couple in front of us was from Cheyenne, Wyoming. It was fun to talk to them because they had been to past Longmire Days so they were pretty seasoned at attending this event. They had been at the Friday events so they gave us a rundown of everything we missed.
After breakfast we headed down to the parade. It was hot out. The parade was small but fun. Some of the actors were in the parade which kind of surprised me. It was cool to see how accessible the actors were. And of course everyone lost their minds when the actors went by. The parade lasted maybe 30 minutes which was the perfect length. I love parades but I don’t love sitting in the hot sun for long periods of time. My migraines don’t do well in the 90+ degree heat.
Next we had a choice to make. Do we leave and come back for the street dance or do we hang around Buffalo. We chose to check out Buffalo. We wandered the town. I wanted to see the Native American performances at Crazy Woman Square but either we missed it or it wasn’t what we thought it was going to be because there wasn’t much going on when we got there. We checked out a brewery and a restaurant. More about those in an upcoming post.
We wandered through some stores. Then we headed to the Occidental Hotel. We sat at the bar. Carter ordered a Rainier beer, which is what Walt Longmire drinks. He was rewarded by being given a Rainier beer coozie. I ordered at Moscow Mule, which they do really well. I was rewarded with getting a really well made drink.
We sat there for a couple hours. Carter kept talking about how there were so few people in the bar. He thought it should be more packed.
Then this really drunk girl and her friend wandered in and sat next to us at the bar. She asked if Katee Sackhoff or Cassidy Freeman were at the festival. Only she didn’t know their names. The bartender explained that they had other commitments and weren’t there this year. Drunk girl said that she was out back listening to one of the actors. Wait, what?!!
I sent Carter back there to see who she was talking about. He sent me a text that said, “It’s Branch”, I responded with, “I’m on my way.”
Now we know why there were so few people in the bar. They were all out back listening to Bailey Chase! How did we miss this?!
He was talking about his book Spiritual Gangsta which sold out. I ordered it from Amazon when I got home. We grabbed a seat and listened to his talk. Honestly, I couldn’t focus on most of it because I was so blown away that we had stumbled upon this.
After the talk he took pictures with this fans. Of course I hopped in line! I talked Carter into getting his picture taken, too!
Bailey was so nice. He spent time talking which each of his fans and asking questions. One girl’s mom told him to kiss her on the cheek. I would think this could get old as an actor, having people that daydream about being your wife even though you’re already married. But Bailey gave her a kiss on the cheek. The woman and her mom were so happy. It was so sweet. It made their day.
The woman in front of us had a huge crush on Bailey. Her husband came over to check in with her. She told him there was a good chance she was going home with Bailey. He said that was fine because Bailey was the only one that could afford her. Oh boy.
When it was our turn, Carter and I took individual pictures with him. Probably because when we had our picture taken with Fortune Feimster at Acme a few years ago, I photoshopped him out for our Christmas card photo. Don’t worry, he got to put a pic with him and his Jeep in the Christmas card.
Bailey asked where we were from. Carter told him Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Then Bailey mentioned that his co-star Adam Bartley was from there. Which we knew. Carter’s co-worker is high school friends with Adam. They were in drama and acting together.
Bailey makes you feel like you’re the only person around. He seems like he’d talk to you all day. But I wasn’t having it. He had other fans to greet so I shut it down and moved on. I’m sure he was thinking, ‘Wow, that broad is rude” but I wanted to make sure he had time to talk to everyone. I’d be sad if I waited in line a long time and didn’t get to meet him. Besides there were so many fans who spent a lot of time chatting with him so it all evens out.
We were only about an hour from the street dance starting so we wandered around some more. We checked out the food trucks and grabbed some dinner.
The dance got off to a slow start. Not sure if it was because it was light outside or if this is always how it goes. There were definitely a lot more teenage kids wandering around. It was like being at the MN State Fair. We hung out at the street dance for a few hours. We wandered into some stores. We stopped at a brewery.
As we were getting ready to leave for the night we saw a bunch of people outside the Occidental. Only then did I remember the bartender telling the drunk girl that a bunch of the actors were there last night and would be there tonight.
We walked over to investigate what was going on. Carter said, “That’s Adam” as in Adam Bartley. He was being escorted by some festival volunteers. Then Carter did something he doesn’t like doing. He said, “Do you have time for an Eden Prairie guy?” Adam stopped to hear what Carter had to say, that he worked with one of Adam’s high school friends.
That was all it took. Adam introduced us to his family. Then he and Carter made a video for their friend talking about how they met each other. After, Carter asked Adam if I could take a pic with him. Then Adam and I became best friends.
We left blown away. Meeting Bailey Chase and Adam Bartley was totally unexpected and made our day. They were so gracious.
As a comedian I’ve had the opportunity to meet people I look up to. Sadly, meeting people you admire can sometimes leave a bad impression. You expect them to be nice and excited to meet their fans then when you meet them they’re a pain in the butt. They can be way more high maintenance that you’d ever expect them to be. That was not the case with Bailey and Adam. These guys are stellar people. I’m so glad I got to meet them.
After meeting Bailey and Adam, I could now go back to Minnesota. The vacation was already more awesome than I thought it would be. But our trip was just getting started. And it was off to one incredible start. Stay tuned for more posts about our vacation including food & drink and Yellowstone.
Have you ever traveled to see a festival? Met anyone famous? Share your experience in the comments.