30 Years at the Hitch in Cheyenne, Wyoming!
by Michael DeGreve

Man, I can't believe it! What a ride! 30 years, 6 nights a week, on a 2 week contract!

It was June, 1977. I was still living in Los Angeles. My agent, Edna Whiting, called and asked me what I thought about Cheyenne. I said, "I don't. Where is it?" She told me about The Hitching Post Inn. She told me the owner, Paul Smith, was looking for someone just like me to develop his new lobby lounge. She told me what a great person Paul was, and that I might want to do a couple weeks and see what I thought.

I was in between gigs, and I thought, why not? I loaded up my VW bus and thought I'd do a couple weeks and go visit my best friend, David ( the Bear ) in Colorado.

From the first night there, something special happened. I had no idea if my set list, heavy on Eagles, CSN, Neil Young, Cat Stevens, Dylan, Jim Croce, Elton John, Simon and Garfunkel, etc. would work there. I really didn't do any country at all. But people were coming in and giving me great energy right from the start.

Sometime during that first two weeks, Paul asked me what I was doing next, and if I would be interested in sticking around and building something there. Paul and I hit it off right from the start. He was a great person, and I miss him. Something inside told me it might be worth trying. Paul and I agreed we'd leave it open and if either of us wanted to make a change, we'd give the other one some notice. We never signed another piece of paper. 30 years on a hand shake!

Well, the weeks turned into months, years and decades!

As I'm writing this, I'm remembering all the great people and times in that room. Thousands of faces! Frontier Days, Legislative sessions, conventions. 6 nights a week for all those years. We had some great times, didn't we? I can see so many of your faces as I'm writing this. I played at hundreds of weddings, benefits, the Governor's Mansion, the floor of the Wyoming Legislature, the Cheyene Civic Center, and on and on.

What sticks in my mind is how welcome I felt there. How wonderful people came in night after night, week after week, year after year and supported my music and me. There's no way I can thank you all enough. I hope you know how special you made me feel, and how much I loved playing for all of you. We shared great times and a lot of love. We laughed, we cried, we partied ( oh, yea, we did a lot of that ) and it was really a family. Kids I would play "Puff The Magic Dragon" for, would grow up and bring their kids in to hear that song. How special those things were to me. It was an amazing time. The time of my life!

I met people from all over the country and around the world. I would get to work some days, and someone at the front desk would let me know people called from different places around the country or even overseas, to make sure I was still there. They wanted to see me again on their vacations. It was my home. I was excited to show up every night ( even though some nights I might still be a little rough from the night before, thank you ) and do my show again.

Matt McClintock, Kenny Bradbury, Chris Cary, The Unholy Choir, Kathleen Urban, George Ball, Brian Leneschmidt, Rob Tenorio, Gary Lord, Kris Reitinger, John Ayala, Mountain Mike, Bob Pollock and all the other musicians who came by and sat in and I got to play with, thank you!

When Cheyenne lost Paul Smith, and now the Hitching Post, something special was taken away from a lot of people. I know I would still be there playing for you. And as excited about the future as I am, I look back to that time in my life, and all of you that were there with me and for me, with tremendous nostalgia, deep feelings of love and incredible gratitude for being given the chance to know you and perform for you all those years.

Thanks for all the memories! May our lives always go in a cosmic, magical, musical, spiritual direction! God bless all of you!

Love, Michael

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