Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Medora Car Show

This is the weekend when the employee parking lot (which is really just a grassy area) is suddenly transformed into a bustling hub of classic car activity. The weekend wasn't the perfect one for such an event. The thunderstorms lasted a little too long into the morning, and after a few hours of beautiful sun, a brief but powerful storm brought hail to the cringing car owners.

All in all, though, it was a good weekend, Most of the hotels were booked up and the streets were a more interesting place with the sweet cars cruising through town.

Here are a few photos of my quick stroll in the few moments of sunshine.

Friday, June 18, 2010

celebrity catastrophe

The Flag Day all horse parade started out innocently enough.

(some patriotic spectators)

This event showcasing the iconic american cowboy culture covered the distance of about 2 blocks, with each horse and rider announced by the slightly unprepared announcers. Being such a small parade, the audience didn't really know what to do, and the timid applause didn't begin until about 7 horses in. Such is the charm of events in such a small town.

(various rodeo princesses carrying the Medora flag and the Rough Rider flag)

(some cowboys, check out the mini one)

Near the end of the parade, the famous Burning Hills Singers, the cast of the Medora Musical, and the closest thing to celebrity that this town has, came riding down the street in a horse drawn buggy. Things were going just fine until they reached the announcers stand, and one of the horses (who had a broken bridle to begin with) spooked. Buffalo Dale, who was riding a horse next to the buggy, and the driver of the buggy tried to keep the horses under control, but they bolted down the street, making for a much quicker parade than anticipated. At that point a loud noise was heard and the spectators raced to the street to see what happened. The announcers urged everyone back to the curb, reminding us that horses are temperamental and everything was under control. Everything was not, in fact, under control. The horse and buggy crashed into a parked car, and all the burning hills singers jumped ship. The car was damaged and an ambulance was called as 16 year old cast member, Macy Jo, was having a panic attack. Thankfully the cast and and horses came through unharmed, and the show could go on. As you can imagine, this was the talk of the town for days to come.

(Buffalo Dale and some frightened Burning Hills Singers, as the horses begin to make a dash for it)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

photo of today.

Spotted on the corner of third street and third ave.:

There are several things to note in this photo.

1. The event that is occurring is the lowering of the flags which occurs every evening, and they are raised every morning. This is narrated by a loudspeaker which can be heard all through town, and is performed by "troops" weather they be girl scouts or anonymous horse riders, as seen in today's photo.

2. The man in the black jacket and hat is Cowboy Lyle Glass, Medora's resident cowboy. Due to health issues, he isn't riding this year but he oversees the raising and lowering of flags every day. He also has a candy shop named after him.

3. There is a man wearing a nice combination of colors in the foreground.

4. To the right of that man's head is General Custer. He drives a PT Cruiser.

5. You will also notice some horses on the right of the photo, a common sight in the streets of Medora.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Feathers of the West

Nestled in the Western Edge bookstore and art gallery, we stumbled upon what appears to be quite the movement in western art: paint on feathers. The detailed paintings of badlands wildlife were created on feathers of an unidentified bird and mounted with tracks of the painted animal as a border. It seems to be a recent trend, as well, as all paintings were signed and dated by artist F L Knudson from this year or last.
Feathers, who knew?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Cattle brands can be found all over the town of Medora, and being the typography nerds that we are, they immediately caught our attention.

They are used as a way to distinguish one rancher’s cattle from another, and need to be registered in the state’s brand book. They function as a kind of logo for the rancher and we have seen them on headstones in the cemetery, in the pizza parlor as a way to mark that the cowboy had been in town, in the cowboy hall of fame as another means of identification, as well as being used for simple decoration.

Although the brands are unique to each rancher, they all follow an organizational system so that they can be read by others. A brand is read from left to right, then top to bottom and finally from outside to inside when the brand has one character that encloses another. Special terms are used when a letter is used in a nontraditional way: crazy for reversed, lazy for turned 90 degrees, flying for a symbol that starts and ends with a long serif or horizontal lines, rocking is a symbol set on top of a quarter circle, bar is a line preceding or following a symbol, box is a symbol with a square or rectangle, etc. There can be combinations of many of these terms within one brand.

branding iron:

We found these brands so fascinating because they are using letters and common symbols in a manner that creates their own language. This system of organization recognizes the visual quality of letters in a way that our written language doesn’t always acknowledge. These symbols become the identity of the rancher in a way that a logo becomes the identity of a company. However, unlike logos, there is a system in place that allows someone in the know to be able to read a brand they have never seen before because it's not just an image, it is a language.

Typography. On cattle. Bam.

And here's a little bonus: Two of Abby's uncles and her Grandpa branding:
We've seen their brands around town, so here's a photo of them in action.