Thursday, September 23, 2010

Author Laura Bell speaker at next Buffalo Gal luncheon in Cody Oct. 5

From the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody:

"As a child I'd hidden within the pages of books, crafting my own particular fantasy of a life lived out, with mountains, horses, a cabin, animals that I alone could befriend," writes author Laura Bell. " me it seemed idyllic," she remembers. "I longed for it."

In 1977, when she was just 22 years old and at loose ends after graduating from college, Bell got the chance to live that childhood dream. Visiting Wyoming with a sister, Bell got a glimpse of sheep herding in the Big Horn Basin and the life seemed to fit her idyllic fantasy. Drawn to the life of solitude and physical work, she left her family home in Kentucky for what turned out to be a wild and unexpected adventure.

Bell wrote a memoir of her experiences herding sheep, titled Claiming Ground, published by Alfred A. Knopf in March 2010. She became a member of the sheep herding community-perhaps the strangest member as a young woman in a man's world. At the next Buffalo Gals Luncheon at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Bell shares background experiences from that time in her life.

The luncheon, open exclusively to patrons of the Historical Center, takes place Tuesday, October 5, noon - 1:30 p.m. in the Center's John Bunker Sands Photography Gallery. Seating is limited and advance reservations are required for the $20 luncheon and program. The presentation is followed by a book signing at the Center's Museum Store.

Bell currently lives in Wyoming, where, in addition to her writing, she has worked for the Nature Conservancy. She has received two literature fellowships from the Wyoming Arts Council, and has won the Neltje Blanchan Memorial Award and the Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her work has been published in several collections.

Only a few seats remain for the Buffalo Gals Luncheon; to register, contact Membership Manager Jan Jones 307.578.4032. More information on the Historical Center's other membership benefits can be found by exploring the "Get Involved" section of the Web site,

Committed to connecting people with the Spirit of the American West, the Buffalo Bill Historical Center weaves the varied threads of the western experience-history and myth, art and Native culture, firearms technology and the nature of Yellowstone-into the rich panorama that is the American West. The Center, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is currently operating its fall, schedule, open daily 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr. For general information, visit the new or call 307.587.4771.

Photo credit: Sheep wagon and flock, Pitchfork Ranch, ca. 1920s - 1930s. Gift to BBHC of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Belden.