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Behrens to present show on Buffalo Bill

Published: Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012 11:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Nov. 16, 2012 11:14 a.m. CDT

Yipee-ki-yay! Roy R. Behrens will be giving a presentation focusing on Buffalo Bill at the SWCC Performing Arts Center Nov. 16.

Behrens, professor of art and distinguished scholar at the University of Northern Iowa, has a background in graphic design and design history spanning 40 years and across the U.S. He has appeared in interviews on "NOVA" (PBS), National Public Radio, "Talk of Iowa" on Iowa Public Radio, BBC Radio and Iowa Public Television. As well as an art professor, Behrens has published several books, the most recent being "Ship Shape: A Dazzle Camouflage Sourcebook" (2012). In 2003, Behrens was a nominee for the Smithsonian Institution's National Design Award.

Behrens was chosen from the Humanities Iowa website.

"They have an extensive listing of speakers and people and subject matter," explained Kay Raymond, president of the Friends of the Library. "We had a list of all the Humanities Iowa speakers that have come to Creston before so we wanted to expand on that."

The presentation, titled "Remembering Iowa's Buffalo Bill: Never Missed and He Never Will," is the result of Behrens's interest in the local legend.

"Since childhood, I've always had an interest in the American West and the plight of the Native Americans," said Behrens, in Creston News Advertiser interview. "I read biographies of Buffalo Bill when I was a child. I think my interest partly comes from his having been born in Iowa and also because when my father was young he attended a Wild West performance, probably in Decorah, and he actually saw Buffalo Bill."

William Cody (1846-1917), best known as "Buffalo Bill," was born near Le Claire in Scott County. Several of his occupations were as a Pony Express rider, Army scout, buffalo hunter for the railroad and the founder and central attraction of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, which lasted for 30 years traveling across the U.S. and Europe.

What made Cody different was that he realized his role in the near extinction of the American bison and the subjugation of Native Americans, and because of that he fought for the rights of Native Americans. Some of his widely known friendships were with Sitting Bull, Annie Oakley and Wild Bill Hickok.

"In certain ways, Buffalo Bill Cody was an admirable, heroic figure who continues to be a role model for young people," said Behrens. "His support of the human rights of Native Americans was one of his major virtues. In other ways, he was all too human, and he gave in to the same excesses and indiscretions of which today's heroes continue to be guilty of."

"Remembering Iowa's Buffalo Bill: Never Missed and He Never Will" will take place at 1 p.m. Friday at the SWCC Performing Arts Center. The show will consist of a fast-paced and entertaining 45-minute talk, illustrated by projected vintage photographs, film clips, and animated graphics.

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