There was a slight drizzle in the air on Monday as Bruce Richman, iconic Buffalo Bill Cody impersonator, was surprised with statewide recognition as a Heritage Hero.

Dusty Barner, owner of Dusty Trails, rode in on a black horse firing blanks into the air, announcing the arrival of Buffalo Bill Cody.

Then Kim Elder of History Nebraska gave a brief explanation of the organization and its accomplishments. History Nebraska is an independent Nebraska state agency governed by a 15-member board of trustees appointed by the governor.

The award was organized as a surprise for Richman. When Elder made the announcement and Richman was directed to the front porch of the mansion, all he managed to say was that it was “quite the pleasant surprise.”

Richman’s friends and family felt accomplished because they had left him at a loss for words.

Richman is the first of 43 volunteers from historical organizations across the state to win the award. He has been impersonating Buffalo Bill Cody for 20 years. He never says no to a request for an appearance, a photo or an autograph. He travels to schools, delighting children with his appearance, personality and knowledge. He rides in parades and leads tours of Scout’s Rest Ranch, which the real Buffalo Bill Cody established in 1886.

After Richman received the presentation, cake and coffee was provided in the barn by the Coldwell Banker real estate company, and served by the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Friends, family, and community members gathered to enjoy the great showman’s company.