Huffman, Al

Written by Linda Kirkpatrick on .



Al Huffman

"Buffalo Bill"

1932 - 2016

Grew up in Grand Isle, Nebraska; moved to Evergreen in 1959, commuting via Bear Creek Canyon for more that 25 years to work at Gates Rubber Company.  Married to Sherrie.  In the late 1950s he joined Evergreen's Buffalo Bill Saddle Club and was inspired to be an authentic-looking impersonator of Buffalo Bill, an avocation that would earn him international recognition over a period of more than 30 years.

Besides being a local hit in Evergreen's Rodeo Parade each year, he greeted The Summit of the Eight when leaders of the greatest world powers (US, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, France, and Italy) met in Denver in 1997 at The Fort restaurant in Morrison.  He rode in the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, CA, for Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, performed at the National Western Stock Show many times, received six first-place awards in the St. Patrick's Day parades in Denver, dedicated the Bufflo Bill 15-cent postge stamp, was a feature entertainer on the Wyoming Centennial Ride in 1990, rode in the Great Circus Parade in Milwaukee, WI, for 11 consecutive years; took part in the groundbreaking and grand opening ceremonies of the Denver Convention Center in 2002 as well as the Cherry Creek Mall and Colorado Mills Shopping Center in 2000.

He was a three-times winner, and then judge, of the Buffalo Bill look-alike contest at the Buckhorn Exchange in Denver.  He made several commercials and had numerous radio and TV interviews.  He told stories of Buffalo Bill and the Old West at numerous schools, nursing homes, and private parties in the US as well as Europe.

He entertained regularly at the Buffalo Bill Museum on Lookout Mountain as well as for the Golden Chamber of Commerce.  He led parades for Buffalo Bill Days in Golden and served as Grand Marshall in numerous other parades.  He unveiled the Buffalo Bill statue in Golden in 2000 and cut the cake for the 100th anniversary of The Denver Post.

He's been an official greeter for the inaugural airline flights into Denver International Airport from Germany, England, and Alaska.  He was hired by Buffalo Bill Tortilla Chips to do promotions in London, Paris, Ireland, and Germany over a period of 6 years.  Portraying the famous vaudeville showman and bison hunter would help further Cody's ambition to romanticize and preserve the legendary Old West.

In preparation for Colorado's Centennial in 1976, he worked with a 4-H club to build a covered wagon, which was drawn by a team of horses with little kids in it.  That wagon is now on display at and used by the Chatfield Botanical Gardens.

Al remembers the early rodeo parades in Evergreen.  There used to be three different rodeo grounds -- one where Safeway is now.  To make the parade seem larger, he would ride through town multiple times, changing hats and horses to look like a different character, and going in the opposite direction.

In the 1970s he helped start the Evergreen Elks Lodge when the bowling alley closed in the same building where the Elks met; the lodge started with about 60-80 members and currently has an active membership close to 125.  He is a lifetime member.

As a resident of Evergreen Park Estates (near the high school), Al would meet others on horseback where the library is currently.  They'd ride up to the Brook Forest Inn for lunch.  Sometimes he'd ride from Mt. Evans to close to Fairplay on a week-long horse trip, packing in for days.

As "Colonel Al Huffman" portraying Col. William F. Cody (aka Buffalo Bill), he was known for wearing clothing that looked as authentic as it could be (he'd killed an elk and had the hide tanned to make a jacket and had beadwork applied for his first costume) so much so that it's been borrowed to be reproduced for the wax museum in New York City.  His coats, gloves, and outfits will become part of the museum in Oakley, Kansas, where a bronze statue of Buffalo Bill killing a buffalo is part of the visitors' center.

He cut his whiskers off and retired from his career of doing impersonations in 2005.