BUFFALO, W.Y. — A&E’s No. 1 original hit drama series “Longmire” has launched into its second season with more than 4.3 million viewers, the series is one of A&E’s most successful shows to debut. To celebrate the series – and the fact that “Longmire” best-selling author Craig Johnson hangs his cowboy hat here in Johnson County Wyoming – the Buffalo, Wyoming, Chamber of Commerce will host its second-annual “Longmire Days” on Aug. 16-18.
“Longmire” is based on Johnson’s New York Times best-selling Walt Longmire Mystery novel series (“A Serpent’s Tooth,” Johnson’s 9th Longmire novel, was released in June.) The series weaves the story of a dedicated, charismatic yet emotionally troubled small-town sheriff who seeks out the truth as secrets, betrayal and murder swirl in fictional Absaroka County, Wyoming. Johnson, who lives in the tiny community of Ucross, Wyoming (population hosting a grand total of 25 residents), uses Buffalo and Johnson County characters and locations to breath life into Longmire’s hometown of Durant, Wyoming, and Absaroka County.
Johnson will again be a huge part of the celebration, with book signings and participation in many of the planned events. But new this year will be guest appearances by many of the actors from the hit show, including Adam Bartley (The Ferg); Cassidy Freeman (Cady Longmire); Bailey Chase (Branch Connally); Katee Sackhoff (Victoria ‘Vic’ Moretti); and Robert Taylor (Sheriff Walt Longmire). A tight-knit cast, all have all agreed to attend “Longmire Days” to help celebrate the success of the show – and be a part of the community of Buffalo and Johnson County, the “real life” setting for the series. Actor Lou Diamond Phillips (Henry Standing Bear) will also attempt an appearance, if his schedule allows.
“Longmire Days” certainly will spur some attention to Buffalo – where there are only three stop lights and everyone is a handshake away from being an old friend. Friday evening events include several local establishments hosting live music, Longmire-themed dinner specials and small events. And the brewers at the award-winning Clear Creek Brewery on Main Street have concocted a special batch of “Absaroka Ale” for the “Longmire” weekend.
Saturday’s events begin with a pancake breakfast in downtown Buffalo’s recently revitalized Crazy Woman Square. The Buffalo Kiwanis will donate their time and equipment to help serve breakfast for just $5 per person. During this time, Johnson and the actors will be present for autographs and book signings. Following the breakfast, Johnson and the cast will be made available for a press conference to discuss the show and questions.
At noon Saturday, a co-ed softball game will commence at the Prosinski Park baseball fields, with a Cowboys vs. Indians theme and the actors competing. Admission will be a minimum $5 donation, with all proceeds going to the casts’ charity of choice, the Wounded Warrior Project (www.woundedwarriorproject.org), which provides programs and services to severely injured U.S. service members during the time between active duty and transition to civilian life.
A motorcycle poker run will follow the softball game Saturday with Sackhoff, Connally, and Johnson riding. Registration will take place in Prosinski Park, behind the Clear Creek Cantina restaurant off Main Street in Buffalo at 12:30 pm. All proceeds also will go to the Wounded Warrior Project. The Poker run starts at Clear Creek Brewery, heads to the Ranch at Ucross, then to The Eagles Club in Sheridan, Wyoming, The Mint Bar in Sheridan, then to the Wagon Box Inn & Cabins in Story, Wyoming, and back to the Clear Creek Brewery in Buffalo. Poker run entry is $15.00 with options to buy more hands and exchange cards.
Following the poker run, Johnson will host a book signing at the Occidental Hotel’s Busy Bee restaurant. There will be an opportunity to enjoy live music from 7-11 p.m. Saturday at the FREE “Longmire Days” street dance, which will feature Gary Small and the Coyote Brothers (www.coyotebros.net). The roots rock group recently received the “Best World Music” award at the Native American Music Awards in 2013.
On Sunday, the actors will participate in charitable events over the course of the day. Paradise Guest Ranch, located in the beautiful Big Horn Mountains (www.paradiseranch.com), will host a horseback ride from 10 a.m. to noon for a donation of $200. Options include bringing your own horse, or one will be provided. Space is limited for this unique event, only 20 horses will be available.
Skeet Shooting will be offered from 9 a.m.-noon at the Buffalo Gun Club Shooting Range. Cost to participate will be $100 per person. The four-star Buffalo Golf Course will host an 18-hole golf tournament, where the “Longmire” actors will participate. The tournament begins at 2 p.m. Sunday. Cost is $200 per person and includes prizes for the winners.
A Cowboy Action Shoot demonstration, which features a target range utilizing Old West firearms, settings and costumes, is set for noon-3 p.m. Sunday at the local SASS club range near the Buffalo Airport. Johnson and the Cast will host a book signing and autograph session at the Johnson County Library (www.jclwyo.org), 171 N. Adams Ave., starting at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
And to finish off the action-packed weekend, Bartley (“The Ferg”) will host a live comedy/karaoke event at the Occidental Saloon starting at 6 p.m. There will be a $10 cover charge at the door.
Thank you to our major sponsors enabling us to host this amazing event; Rainier-Pabst Brewing, Kings Saddlery, Paradise Guest Ranch, Buffalo Golf Club, Foe 186 – Fraternal Order Of Eagles, Big Horn Mountain Radio, HF Bar Guest Ranch, Metz Beverage, Hampton Inn, Buffalo Bulletin, Clear Creek Brewing Company, Oldies 105.9, and the Wyoming Office of Travel and Tourism. Don’t miss out on this must-see event. For more information, registrations, and lodging options, contact the Buffalo Chamber of Commerce at (307) 684-5544, visit the chamber website at www.buffalowyo.com, or visit the Wyoming Travel and Tourism Office website at www.wyomingtourism.org.