YEE HA! Head honcho Mike Spriggs’ research into Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show hit the bull’s-eye when he discovered that the spectacular pitched up in a north Derbyshire town.
Trawling the internet revealed that the sharp-shooting spectacular camped in Chesterfield for two days, on October 16-17, 1903.
And legend has it that one of the Indian braves who travelled with the show died in town and was buried in Boythorpe.
Mike, who is directing Annie Get Your Gun at Chesterfield’s Pomegranate Theatre next month, said: “When we first decided to do the show, we had no idea that anything like that happened in Chesterfield. I think the Wild West show must have been staged on an open field near Queen’s Park.”
A poster relating to the Wild West show’s visit to Chesterfield has been carefully preserved in the archive department at the town’s Pomegranate Theatre.
According to internet sources, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show started out in America and later toured Europe.
The show would begin with a parade on horseback, with performers from all over the world dressed in colourful costumes.
Many authentic Western personalities were part of the show including Sitting Bull and a band of 20 braves as well as sharp-shooting spouses Annie Oakley and her husband Frank Butler.
Buffalo Bill and his performers would re-enact the riding of the Pony Express, Indian attacks on wagon trains and stagecoach robberies.
The shows would end with the recreation of an attack on a settlers cabin in which Buffalo Bill would ride in with a posse of cowboys to defend the settler and his family from a band of Indians on horseback.
* For the full feature, read the Derbyshire Times, publication date May 26, 2011.