Wild Bill Hickok’s Last Ride Testimonials
Words fail to satisfactorily describe our great experience on Wild Bill’s Last Ride! We had a ball! The camaraderie was second to none and we made some fantastic new friends, hopefully for life! Of course, it is always fun to be in historic areas and try to live in the past, dressing the part, etc. Custer State Park is one of God’s most beautiful creations! Wow! What fantastic scenery enhanced by the magnificent buffalo and other animals! I still wish that I had known you earlier when I was younger so I could have participated in more rides! God willing, I hope this will not be my last ride! You and Marcie are the ultimate, professional planners and guides! Karen and I cherish our friendship and look forward to our next meeting. Happy trails and God bless!
Jack & Karen Smith, aka “Cactus Jack and Madame Sunshine,” San Angelo, TX
This was another great ride (my 10th) with great people hosted by Steve and Marcie Shaw’s Great American Adventures. Steve and Marcie are the very best at what they do. I can’t thank them enough for offering their historic horseback rides. They explore, develop the concept of each historic ride, obtain the permits to allow the rides to occur, arrange for excellent wranglers to take care of us as well as the horses, arrange lodging, and arrange for our meals at several different restaurants and lodges. In addition, they have Plans A, B, C, D, and E for each day of each event, just in case something changes at the last minute. They are absolute professionals. While I am usually all about the history, with the ride being a great secondary benefit, this time it was just the opposite. The history of the region was wonderful, and was a great secondary benefit. For me, though, the ride itself was the primary event with several scenic vistas, crossing streams, and riding with the bison/buffalo. I know that I am nowhere near a 10 on the 0-10 horse riding ability scale, but this ride made me feel like a 10. Riding with the bison/buffalo is an experience that will be hard to top in my lifetime. In addition to Steve and Marcie, I have to thank our wranglers, Bob, Hayden, and Biscuit, and the many fine people who attended the ride. If you are interested in history, horses, and hospitality, then I highly recommend Steve and Marcie Shaw’s Great American Adventures.
David Curtis, aka “Doc Curtis,” Newburgh, IN
Wild Bill’s Last Ride was my third ride with Great American Adventures and it is no surprise that Steve and Marcie outdid themselves again! This new ride provides a wonderful mix of real history in Deadwood and the Black Hills and fiction in Spearfish Canyon. We followed Wild Bill Hickok’s adventures and were told of his misfortune. We sat at the exact spot where the coward Jack McCall shot the Prince of Pistoleers and were witness of his trial. We were mistreated by a lovely Calamity Jane in the streets of Deadwood, we followed the trail of Kevin Costner as Lieutenant John Dunbar in Spearfish Canyon and we looked up the ridge where Wind In His Hair shouted out his eternal friendship to Dunbar in the final scenes of Dances with Wolves. And then the ride: in my childhood dreams I saw myself ride the plains besides Gil Favor and Rowdy Yates, I wanted to cross rivers on horseback, hunt bison. Steve and Marcie made that all happen: we rode the plains of Custer State Park, we looked down at Fort Meade and rode where Custer rode, we climbed steep, slippery, wooded hills, crossed French Creek a zillion times and yes, we hunted bison. We could smell the bulls, hear them snort, our horses alert, but all under the safe direction of our wranglers Bob, Hayden and Biscuit. It doesn’t get any better than this!
But it’s the people that make the ride. This edition of the ever growing GAA Family was a wonderful group full of humorous, wise and friendly, caring people. I haven’t had so much fun in a long time! Heck, in the Old West dime novels would be written about some of these characters like Cactus Jack, Buffalo Jake, Chocktaw Sessums and Desert Gator! A ride of a life time!
Too much praise, Steve! But honestly, I did not exaggerate, these rides are so much fun and always full of surprises and so well organized by you guys. Even a little thing as the car pooling I did with Richard & Kass Walsh (Tumbleweed Kid and One-eye Jack), Doc Curtis and Gator was so much fun, it really felt like family and all that in just one week! Somehow, your rides attract the best of people and I’m happy to be able to be part of that every now and then. And now, I’ll spend most of the coming winter to sort out pictures, build a slide show and have them printed in an album! Thanks again,
Hans Brouwers, aka “Dutch”, Zevenaar, The Netherlands
From riding good horses across incredible landscapes to fascinating history and warm fellowship, “The Last Ride of Wild Bill Hickok” lived up to the hype. As usual, Steve and Marcie organized an impeccable experience. Walking down the main street in Deadwood in 1880’s cowboy attire, surrounded by your fellow cowboys, may sound ridiculous but, darn, it’s fun! The Great American Adventures concept leads to easy friendships and happy memories. You can’t organize a trip like this on your own. The logistics, the permitting, the connections would be impossible. And even if you could, you’d miss out on the camaraderie of your fellow history buffs and horsemen. Riding among the bison in Custer State Park was a dream come true. And while we didn’t ride at a fast pace and it’s safe for someone without riding experience, don’t think that it isn’t challenging. I wasn’t used to mountain trails and river crossings but I am now! So, for now, I’ll lean back and reflect on a wonderful trip and start dreaming of my next GAA adventure.
Jeff Cline, aka “the Mayor,” Hickory, NC
The BEST!! That’s what I say about our Deadwood ride. It has been the best so far (and looking forward to more) because of you and Marcie, historical areas, great food and an epic ride. In addition the pre-trips were exceptional. Thank you for all your hard work in making these rides fun and go so smoothly. You two are so thorough and so professional. I learned a lot of history and regional facts of our destinations. If there was an Olympic Medal for GAA, you’d have one for each ride. Thank you for all you do to smooth the way for us. A big thank you and congratulations on such a fine Great American Adventure!
Kass Walsh, aka “One-Eye,” Hillsboro, OR
This was my sixth ride with the Great American Adventures family, and they only get better. Steve and Marcie are such wonderful hosts who give it their all. Each event is unique and promises memories to last a lifetime. You can book a trail ride anywhere, but no one provides the historical experience you will find with GAA.
Kevin Hogge, aka “Lucky Gunn,” Chesapeake, VA
Wild Bill’s Last Ride was my 10th ride with Great American Adventures and it was almost beyond words. My son Matt and I first joined the Vendetta Ride in 2011 and we keep coming back. I am delighted and amazed to see how Steve and Marcie ALWAYS find ways to make theses adventures so very special.
As usual, the adventure is based on history and was awesome from beginning to end. On the pre-trip Saturday, we traveled to Devil’s Tower, long on my bucket list, to see this amazing monument of nature and most sacred ground to the Plains tribes. The rest of Saturday and Sunday morning we toured some of the finest, most interesting museums around including the Old Number 10 Saloon where Wild Bill was shot and we were regaled by a very interesting historian. The trip to the Tatanka was especially interesting as I have always loved Buffalo and the Plains Indian culture. The Meet and Greet and Dinner was excellent as was the food and comaraderie. What a great group of people – seeing old friends and meeting new ones was great. It’s the family that Steve, Marcie via GAA have created.
The riding was spectacular. The two days we spent riding around the Deadwood area was wonderful. The ride through Spearfish Canyon and subsequent visit to the river and spectacular falls was breathtaking. I’m thinking, this is going to be hard to beat.
Then we moved to Custer State Park on Wednesday and it only got better (hard to imagine). The trails were beautiful and the rides were great. Thursday, our trail took us through beautiful canyons and forest along and over an absolutely beautiful stream, which we crossed 42 times – how cool is that? We also road to the location where the final scene of Dances with Wolves was filmed. This was some of the most beautiful, picturesque riding I have ever experienced. We had bad weather hit on Wednesday afternoon which kept us from going to Mt. Rushmore Wednesday evening. But as usual, Steve and Marcie had a great Plan B and we all had a wonderful time – they never miss a beat. Thursday night’s dinner was very nice as it was in the new “Barn” at the State Game Lodge. As always, the food was wonderful and the program was too. To make the evening even more special, a big bull buffalo came wandering into the lower parking lot – how did Steve and Marcie arrange that?
Friday, we rode in the buffalo herd. How incredible. Not many people can say they have ridden in a wild buffalo herd in the last 150 years. It was both humbling and thrilling and touched me on a deep spiritual level. I can almost feel the connection the Plains Indians had with their brother the buffalo. It is something I will always cherish and never forget the rest of my life. Only GAA makes these things happen. No one else in the world even thinks of the amazing things and adventures – only Steve and Marcie Shaw.
Steve and Marcie work very hard to make these adventures unforgettable life experiences. Their passion, dedication and fantastic imagination and creativity have made something so special and unique. These wonderful people go far beyond anything one would expect to ensure we all have the best possible time and more than our money’s worth. They continue to surprise us with very nice gifts and keepsakes, which no one I know of even does. The planning is meticulous and everything they do is first class. What we don’t see is the hard work, time, energy, expense, frustrations and perseverance required to make these adventures happen and then execute them so well. And they do all of this for us. On top of it all, these are two of the best, finest people I know. They are very special and my wife, Bonnie, and I are proud to call them friends.
Where else could you ride the Vendetta Posse trails with Wyatt, ride the trails of John Wayne and see the magnificent, other-worldly Monument Valley, rob a train with Jesse James, make a Western movie and ride in some of the most beautiful country God has created and in a buffalo herd? Only with Great American Adventures.
This was truly a GREAT, GREAT AMERICAN ADVENTURE.
Don May, aka “Chocktaw Sessums,” Katy, Texas
This was our second ride with Steve and Marcie, and it was fabulous! We had such a good time. The food was good, the company was great, and the rides were thrilling. We are certainly looking forward to our next ride.
Larry & Shirley Bryant, aka “Ethan Edwards & Kathleen Yorke,” Cordova, TN
Bill Eshenbaugh, aka “The Dirt Dog,” Thonotosaasa, FL
If you have any inclination to step off the merry-go-round and saddle-up to the old west in stunning surroundings then I recommend that you sign up for one of the many different adventures that Steve and Marcie have put together.
Paul Glum, aka “Chisholm T.”, Leander, TX
After seeing GAA’s “Hickok Ride” in 2018 on its website, and seeing a picture of Bayou Belle (a friend and past rider) on a horse with real buffalo in the background, I knew from that moment I had to get a picture of me on a horse with buffalo in the background. Some folks have told me I needed to “get a life”; to get out and do something. Well, what could be more exciting and make one feel “alive” than to ride a horse through a herd of wild buffalo? Steve and Marcie Shaw via Great American Adventures really came through on this dream and life experience. I had a great horse, terrific head wrangler, excellent assistant wranglers, beautiful wide-open space surroundings, superb daily cuisine, flexibility in each day’s activities, all of which provided me another check off of a bucket list item in my life. Thanks GAA for another great historic western ride! Accolades to Steve & Marcie Shaw for another great life experience in our beautiful American west.
Alan Moore, aka “John Chisum,” Lake City, CO
Thank you for a wonderful week. Best company and beautiful rides in a landscape so breathtaking. Steve and Marcie, you both are doing a great job and these two Danes loved every minute of it.
We will be back ! ?
Jens Vuust Christiansan & Morten Christensen, aka “Lawman & Dusty Dane,” Denmark
Had so much fun I’ve been dreaming about the ride for a whole week now!!!
Marcia Goldin, aka “Loco Lulu,” Conifer, CO
What a rush! The view of the Black Hills was different every day. What a way to see it, off the back of a well trained horse. The entire area scream’s of history and ones imagination easily takes you back in time. For anyone who has never been on one of your rides they are missing a chance to relive history. Nancy and I have been on five rides and we have been surprised and pleased with everyone. But this one will always be special to us. The ride with the buffalo was a once in a life time experience, not just one buffalo but hundreds of buffalo. Your wranglers as always did a great job as well as keeping us entertained with tall tells and jokes. Again thanks for another great time and see you in November in Monument Valley.
Shelby & Nancy Morris, aka “Coot & Dancin’ Nancy,” Bellville, TX
This was my second time on Wild Bill Hickok’s Last Ride. The ride just gets better. Our stay at the Custer State Park Lodge was a wonderful new experience. The rides out of the French Creek Horse Camp were really so scenic, following the streams and crossing them so many times. Had lots of fun having the opportunity to wear my cavalry uniform going to Fort Meade. It was also an opportunity to wear a Mountain Man outfit while riding near the Buffalo. I have to say dressing for the Adventure adds a lot of fun and enjoyment to the ride. The dinners were all excellent. The wranglers Hayden, Biscuit and Bob did an excellent job and I really liked my horse! Thank you Steve and Marcie for the recognition of my 15th ride, all wonderful adventures.
Al Hader, aka “Desert Gator,” Phoenix, AZ
Well, GAA (Steve & Marci) hit another homer. My third ride with them. All have been enjoyable and informative. Steve even controlled the weather-NO RAIN for a week. Now that is talent! Great seeing ole friends and making new ones. Hope to ride with GAA again in the future. Cowboy UP!
Harlan Hanneman, aka “Colorado,” Colorado Springs, CO
I wanted to let you know what a wonderful time I had last week with you and the group. The whole trip was great but riding with the Buffalo was really the icing on the cake. Especially the way you surprised us with it in the morning. We’re sitting in the car enjoying being in the middle of the herd and then dang if the horse trailers don’t show up and start unloading in the middle of it all. We started out thinking we couldn’t get out of the car and ended up riding in the middle of the herd. Holy wow ? it was great!
Helen King, aka “Cattle Kate,” Rocky Point, NY
Imagine: It’s 1880’s and you’re horseback riding through the grasslands of the Black Hills of South Dakota. You crest a rise and you see a herd of bison. Your horse smells the air and he snorts a little. On you ride towards the herd excited; in wonder, spiritual just like the native Americans would feel. The majestic beasts get bigger as you approach. They watch in curiosity and protection of the herd. They allow you to pass within 30 feet of them; your heart is pounding with excitement and you realize what just happened… that less than 1% of the population would ride with the bison. I personally took this ride along with 20+ riders with Steve Shaw’s Great American Adventures. From September 3 to the 7th we rode the Black Hills, Crazy Horse, spent time and dined at Mount Rushmore, strolled Deadwood and walked to Saloon #10. This is my 9th ride with Great American Adventures.. which I believe was the most majestic and spiritual ride of all.
Charlene Houston, aka “Winchester Annie,” Poolsville, TX
In the past seven years I have had the pleasure of participating in nine rides that Steve and Marcie Shaw have organized. All of them have been expertly planned down to the last detail. They provide each rider and non-rider with the experience of a lifetime, both on horseback and in our interactions with the communities where the rides are conducted. Having said that, Wild Bill Hickok’s Last Ride in Deadwood, South Dakota has to be the pinnacle of the Great American Adventure! The history and culture of the area were brought to life through visiting museums and hearing lectures from local authorities, and by riding with knowledgeable guides through buffalo country. If a person were to have the opportunity for only one ride, this would be the ride to select.
Lauren Phillips, aka “Bayou Belle,” St. Petersburg, FL
On our travel home, we talked and reminisced about the latest ride, of course. One of us always states, “I think this was our funnest Great American Adventure yet!” Wild Bill’s ride with the Pistoleers was our last and best…..or was it the Great Train Robbery….or the movie ride….Monument Valley….etc., etc.? Each ride is hard to top, but Steve and Marcie keep shooting for the stars. We are very much looking forward to Tombstone and the Vendetta Ride, our eighth and counting. What does that tell you? Thanks, Steve and Marcie – our last always seems to be the best!
Candy and Larry McDermott, aka “Sweetie and Blondie,” Omaha, NE
Now that I have returned to the trenches of my “real life”, I find my mind wandering back to the joys of my recent participation in Great American Adventures’ Deadwood tour.
Just as there are no words to describe the incredible vistas we enjoyed of 360 degrees of clear blue-blue skies, stands of silvery aspens, forests of pine, water falls, beaver dams, prairie dog towns, and wildlife sightings of deer, antelope, and coyotes, there are no words to describe the sheer pleasure being on horseback in South Dakota’s Black Hills—days punctuated by such activities as a visit to Mount Rushmore, a whiskey toast at Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane’s gravesites, and world-class speakers who stimulated our thinking on such issues as Native American cultures. Certainly, the icing on this multi-tiered cake of new experiences was the afternoon that we rode upon a herd of buffalo.
I would be derelict if I didn’t mention how sharing this experience with a reasonably sized group of riders turned us into a caring community of warm friends.
The “Wild Bill Hickok Ride” was one of the most memorable experiences of my life and I thank Steve and Marcie Shaw for hosting an event that most people only dream about!
Eve Young, aka “Bo Peep,” Alexandria, VA
Well I didn’t think Marcie and Steve could out do the many previous rides I had been on, but they certainly did it. Wild Bill Hickok’s Last Ride was over the top, just amazing! The pre-trip was amazing from Devil’s Tower to the Tatanka Museum to all the historical spots in the Deadwood area. The horses and wranglers Troy, Biscuit, Bob, and Alan were great. The trails were so scenic and historically interesting. All the historians on the ride were so knowledgeable on their subject, you loved listening. The restaurants and food was 5 star! Enjoyed the comradery of the riders, wonderful people. I would do this ride again (and have already signed up for next year!).
Al Hader, aka “Desert Gator,” Phoenix, AZ
This ride was the ride of a lifetime. Great American Adventure brought the Wild West to life. From the historical town of Deadwood to rides in the Black Hills, Spearfish Canyon to finding the Bison herd in Custer State Park. Awesome!
Jean & Mike Spires, aka “Lyin’ Lil & Pickle Bill,” Edinboro, PA