Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

“Official Home of the Jackalope” – Douglas, Wyoming

Leaving Colorado Springs was hard, but we were excited about heading to South Dakota to see Mount Rushmore.  We stopped in Douglas, Wyoming along the way for a couple of nights to break up the drive and check out the town’s claim of being the “Official Home of the Jackalope.”  They lived up to their reputation because there are jackalopes everywhere – they may even outnumber the 5,200 residents.

Just one of many over sized jackalopes adorning the town.  Douglas celebrates the jackalope on the first weekend in June with the annual Jackalope Days Celebration.
The town’s history is not all that exciting.  It grew up around the railroad and served as a supply point for the military and cattle industry. There was a WWII POW Internment Camp that housed Italian and German prisoners and the town is the final resting place of Sir Barton (the first thoroughbred colt to win the Triple Crown).  Douglas is home to the Wyoming State Fairgrounds, has a Pioneer Museum, a racetrack and that is about it!  So let’s go back to the jackalope.

Did I mention there was a saloon?
For you non-animal types, this horned rabbit does not exist.  But, pranksters do a really good job of making you think they exist and they will even tell you so.  They will tell you that they are rarely seen because they are endangered – a result of them only breeding during lightning strikes.  You will be warned not to approach them because they fight back with their horns which is why they are called the “warrior rabbit.”  But if you dare try to catch one the best way is to lure it with whiskey, as they have an affinity for this drink. Once intoxicated, the animal becomes slower and easier to hunt. Why might you want to catch one?  Their milk is prized for their aphrodisiac quality which is also why they are nicknamed the “horny rabbit.”  One well-known fact about jackalopes is their uncanny ability to mimic human sounds.  When cowboys would sing around their campfires at night, jackalopes would frequently be heard singing back, mimicking the voices of the cowboys.

Douglas, Wyoming was voted one of the Best 100 small towns in the U.S.

You too can buy a jackalope - this one will set you back
The jackalope is a fictional cross between a jack rabbit and antelope.  According to legend, the idea for the jackalope was born by the Herrick brothers (of Douglas, Wyoming) that just completed a hunting trip for jackrabbits.  The two brothers had studied taxidermy by mail order as teenagers and concocted the crazy animal when they tossed a jackrabbit carcass next to a pair of deer antlers in the taxidermy store.  A new species was born!  The first jackalope was sold for $10 to a man who displayed it proudly in the La Bonte Hotel still operating in Douglas.  The jackalope was stolen in 1977 and shortly thereafter the Douglas Chamber of Commerce started issuing Jackalope Hunting Permits to tourists.  The permit is only good for one day: June 31st from midnight to 2 a.m. and the hunter may not have an IQ greater than 72.  (Remember June only has 30 days.).  The state of Wyoming trademarked the jackalope name in 1965. 

Or, you opt for a head mount at a mere $150.

1 comment:

  1. Great stuff. I think it's a lot of fun when an entire community rallies behind a fictional character/creature.


We love hearing from you, so please drop us a comment