King of the Plains / by Lee Bruno

"Buffalo Bill" Cody was born two years before the California Gold Rush in the age of the Wild West in the frontier of Le Claire in what became the state of Iowa. It was there where he launched his adventurous life. At the age of ten, he became the head of his family after his father was killed in a dispute over a slave. A few years later, Cody worked as a freight company messenger, wrangler, wagon master and trapper before trying his hand at prospecting in the Pikes Peak gold rush. Then at the age of 14, he joined the Pony Express, fitting the bill for the advertised position: "skinny, expert riders willing to risk death daily." Years later after the Civil War, Cody was given his nickname “Buffalo Bill” after winning a contract to supply Kansas Pacific Railroad workers with buffalo meat. He was skilled in every facet of frontier life.

The rugged performer had championed San Francisco as the city to host the World’s Fair. During the heat of competition between San Francisco and New Orleans in early 1910, Cody said that "the west is the biggest part and the most important part of America, and yet people are woefully ignorant of the many charms and advantages that exist here…It is logical that the celebration of the opening of the canal should be held here at the western end of the canal which is to develop the west and far east.”