The Wild West returns to Oklahoma this weekend. Less than a year after a 5.8 magnitude earthquake damaged several buildings at Pawnee Bill's Ranch, it’s hosting its biggest event of the year.
The buildings haven't been repaired due to budget cuts, but the show must go on.
The Pawnee Bill Ranch is one of Oklahoma’s largest historical sites.
“The mansion is 107 years old,” ranch director Ronny Brown said. “The big barn was built in 1926.”
Pawnee Bill was a world-renowned showman. In the late 1800s into the turn of the 20th Century he owned and produced one the world's largest Wild West shows.
“It was preserving the west the way it was. It was telling America's history,” Brown said.
Pawnee Bill's family wanted to continue sharing that history, which is why they donated his property to the state.
It takes work and money to keep up with all the buildings and museum.
“They all need a lot of TLC,” Brown said.
He said a few years ago the state appropriated about $1 dollars to repair wear and tear to the century-old ranch, but they haven’t seen any funding, and now they need more money.
“Budget cuts have hit us hard,” Brown said. “We had the huge earthquake that compounded and exaggerated the situation.
Brown said he's not sure when the earthquake damage will be repaired but said all the buildings are safe for visitors.
This weekend, several thousand people will visit the ranch as Pawnee Bill’s Show comes back to life.
The arena will be filled with about 50 actors, 30 horses, stage coaches and chariots for one of the only original Wild West Shows in the country.
“They're all part of what he had in the wild west show,” said show director Mona Denney.
That's what the show and the ranch are all about - preserving Pawnee Bill's vision of past so it can be shared for centuries to come.
The non-profit, 'Friends of Pawnee Bill Ranch Association' pays much of the ranch operation and the wild west show.
You can find more information on schedules and prices here.