Finding Cowboys In Oklahoma City

I heard there were cowboys in Oklahoma City, but it took a while to find them. Some were real, and some were just in paintings. Nontheless, you can get a good education about the lifestyle of the cowboy while visiting this city.

Oklahoma National Stockyards

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by hersplash on September 6, 2004

This is a fascinating and educational experience. It is the home of the largest cattle auction in the world. I attended on a Monday, the day the auction starts each week. Cattle is sold continuously until all cattle is sold and goes on through the night, usually lasting through Tuesday.

Throughout the stockyards, there is a cat walk which allows you to walk above the cattle to the stadium where the actual product is sold. Below you are thousands of cattle in pens, and you can watch as the workers sort the cattle by type. Further on down, you can watch as the cattle is identified and weighed for the actual auction. While I was there, they were selling 7,500 cattle. I was told that in the spring they usually have about 20,000 cattle there.

Inside the stadium, you can watch the actual auctioning. They move and sell these cattle so quickly, it was hard to identify who was actually bidding. (I guess these guys don't raise their hands.) And, of course, you have no idea what the auctioneer is saying!

If you go into the adjacent office building, you can get a book on the history of the Stockyards and a brochure on Stockyards City. This city has many neat shops which offer apparel, equipment, supplies, and dining.

The Stockyards are free of charge, and, although some say that tours are available, I couldn't find them. But it's quite easy to get around on your own. Boots are not necessary as you walk above the cattle. Just be prepared for a distinct smell and an overwhelming roar of the "moo" sound.

Oklahoma City National Memorial
620 North Harvey Ave
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 73101
(405) 235-3313

National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by hersplash on September 6, 2004

To begin with, I was amazed at the size of this museum at 220,000 sq feet. It houses more than 28,000 Western art works and artifacts that celebrate the Western Pioneers. There are numerous galleries and exhibits that give you a glimpse into and appreciation for the Western lifestyle.

Some of these galleries include: Native American--featuring clothing and tools and explaining different tribes' motifs. American Cowboy--a tribute to the working cowboy and ranching life showing saddles, an extensive barbed wire selection, and other equipment. There is a Rodeo Gallery, Western Performers Gallery, American Firearms and other Art Galleries.

Besides the prized permanent art collection of paintings and sculptures, they had the Prix de West Art Exhibition and Sale on display (around June thru Sept. every year). This showcases paintings, bronzes and works in stone by the country's finest contemporary Western artists. The art is amazing and overwhelming, and almost brought me to tears. I was even tempted to spend a few thousand dollars to purchase one, but settled on a $65 book that shows them all.

The museum is for all ages, and even has a Children's Cowboy Corral and reproduction of a 1900's town. The restaurant was terrific and moderately priced. Because the museum is so large (I didn't include everything), the museum suggests itineraries for the amount of time you have.

This is a fabulous museum--very informative, beautiful, and fun. I'm saving up for next year's Prix de West!

National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center
1700 Northeast 63rd St
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 73111
(405) 478 2250

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