Cowboys and Indians and the Wild, Wild West – exemplified on the blog this week with a Pow Wow and a Rodeo – the Maverick Club Rodeo in Cimarron, which happens to be the oldest, ongoing Rodeo in the West.
Founded in 1922, the Maverick Club was the brainchild of fifty prominent citizens of Cimarron. They used the term “Maverick” because they felt they couldn’t abide by conventional (club) rules. There were no membership dues, and once a man joined, he was a Maverick for life.
On July 4, 1923, the newly formed club sponsored its first rodeo for the community. It has become an annual event ever since.
In Spanish, Cimarron means “wild and unruly,” referring to the historic unrest of this community. Rich in Native American history, the area later became part of the controversial Maxwell Land Grant, which eventually caused the Colfax County War in the late 1800s.
During its hey- day, the St. James was visited by many notorious outlaws and was the scene of hundreds of shoot outs. A favorite saying in the area became “It appears Lambert had himself another man for breakfast,” and the usual question around Cimarron was “Who was killed at Lambert’s last night?”
Wyatt Earp, his brother Morgan, and their wives stayed at the Inn on their way to Tombstone, Arizona. Jesse James always stayed in Room 14. Buffalo Bill Cody stayed at the Inn, and took an entire village of Native Americans living nearby on the road with his show. The outlaw Davy Crockett, (a descendant of the original Davy Crockett), killed three Buffalo Soldiers inside the hotel’s bar. Annie Oakley too, frequented the St. James Hotel.
Others who have stayed at the hotel include Bat Masterson, train robber Black Jack Tom Ketchum, General Sheridan, Doc Holliday, Billy the Kid, Clay Allison, Pat Garret, artist Fredrick Remington, Governor Lew Wallace, and writer Zane Grey.
In 1901, when Henri Lambert’s sons replaced the roof of the St. James, they found hundreds of bullet holes. A double layer of hard wood stopped anyone sleeping upstairs from being killed. Today, the dining room ceiling still has many visible bullet holes.
These days Cimarron is a pretty peaceful community, but the Maverick Club’s July 4th Rodeo brings the Old and New West together in a celebration of authentic Americana. For more information about both the Rodeo and the St.James Hotel, please visit their websites linked below this post.
These incredible shots were taken by Bill Curry on July 4th at the Maverick Club Rodeo in Cimarron.