If you’re taking Highway 287 coming from Dallas toward Colorado, you pass a little stop in the road about forty miles before Amarillo called Goodnight, Tx. The only reason you would know you were there is the Herd Wear Retail Store and Goodnight Country Inn.
Goodnight, Texas is an unincorporated “community” in Armstrong County. As of 2000, the population was 18. The address is actually Clarendon, Tx. The town is named for Charles Goodnight and his wife who settled there and had a bison ranch. (We don’t have buffalo in the United States, we have bison, cousins to the buffalo on the other side of the planet.)
Charles Goodnight was one of the biggest cattle ranchers in the Texas Panhandle in the late1800s, having already created the Goodnight-Loving trail to move the cattle to market. He made and lost a fortune in Pueblo, Colorado, before moving to the Texas Panhandle and recreating his success with cattle ranching. While buying land with partners and enlarging the ranch, they had to push the bison back about fifteen miles. Which didn’t help relations with the Indians. Charles made a deal with Quanah Parker to give her followers two beeves (cows) every other day to keep peace.
It was about that time that Charles began raising bison as well as antelope and elk. He tried creating a cattalo, crossing cattle and bison, but it wasn’t a huge success. When he quit working with the cattle ranch, Charles concentrated on bison, beginning with 250 head. Charles and his wife – who had encouraged him to raise bison and oversaw the younger bison – shipped bison to Yellowstone, Europe, and other places.
Which brings us back to Cecil Miskin and Darlene Wright at Herd Wear Store/Goodnight Country Inn. The store is smack on 287. If you’re paying attention, you can’t miss it. Back down the road from the highway you can see the Goodnight House. The Country Inn is a one unit bed and breakfast back of the store. Cyndy and I plan to go one weekend when we can see the museums we want to see in the area.
The Herd Wear Store has everything bison, plus more. Check them out on Facebook and the website. A lot of wonderful things. We’re getting stuff for Christmas from them. Best of all though, is bison meat. The kippered bison beef makes great tender steak sticks for snacking. We’ve also tried the bison bratwurst, the jalapeno cheese bratwurst, and the ribs. We still have summer sausage to try. The bison products are a little pricey, but oh, so freaking tasty. And Cecil and Darlene will work with you.
I’ve spent time talking with Cecil on two different occasions now – once with Cyndy and once this last trip on my mini tour. Cecil can tell you all things bison/buffalo and he’ll happily talk about Charles Goodnight and the ranch. They had to get rid of some of the bison in the past fifteen years, but they kept just enough to be able to call it a herd.
So the next time you’re going through, be sure to stop by and see Cecil and Darlene. They’d love to have you and answer any and all questions. They’ve got enough stuff to warrant a day trip just to go there. I know Cecil has enough stories to keep you entertained while you shop. Not to mention the many museums in the area.
Tell them I sent you and I’ll see them next time through!
Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.
Peace be with you.