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Bryan Baldasaro

Free For All

Looking for a Western brand to mark your Christmas season? Then hoof it to the Buffalo Bill Museum's annual Christmas With Cody celebration. "Buffalo Bill loved Christmastime, and he loved kids," says Steve Friesen, director of the museum. "He would dress up as Santa Claus and give toys away. We're just following up on that tradition."

In true Old West style, on Sunday, December 8 -- at high noon, no less -- a Buffalo Bill impersonator will pass out free presents to all museum-going youngsters. "He'll ride up with a big bag strapped to his horse's saddle," promises Friesen. "Everyone gets a free gift; it's our Christmas present to the community."

Born in 1846, the real William F. Cody was a buffalo hunter who earned his "Buffalo Bill" nickname. He made his living herding cattle, riding with the Pony Express, working as an Army scout and overseeing his traveling Wild West shows, all of which is chronicled in the museum's ongoing exhibits (those are free on Sunday, too). Visitors can also check out Memorabillia: Treasures From Buffalo Bill's Attic, a show that features historic trinkets such as a lock of Bill's hair and a chain he made out of boar tusks.

Last but not least is Cody's stone-covered grave. Before he died in 1917, he requested that the site on Lookout Mountain, which overlooks both the mountains and the plains, be his final resting place. "It's a little slice of heaven up here," says Friesen. "I think this celebration would make him smile."

Christmas With Cody runs from noon to 3 p.m. The Buffalo Bill Museum is located at 987 1/2 Lookout Mountain Road in Golden; for information, call 303-526-0744 or visit


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