2017 Summer Games Yellowstone National Park

Billy Lightpaw Middle weight contender for the Broad-jump – Summer Games Yellowstone National Park.


As long time readers of the BigShotsNow blog you know that every 4 years Yellowstone National Park holds the Summer Games in preparation for the Wildlife Olympics with entrants from around the globe. This year the games are being held in Yellowstone once again with venues at Gibbons Meadows, the Madison river, Hayden Valley, the LeHardy Rapids, the Lamar valley and the Blacktail Flats area.

This is always an incredible experience with visitors attending from all over the world. As usual most of the events are standing room only as tickets have been sold out for many of the big events for the last two years. However most events have roadside observation areas set up to accommodate the overflow crowds. Be prepared for Bear Jams, Wolf Jams, Buffalo Jams, Otter Jams and every other jam you can think of as the various animal contestants make their way to the different events, while those humans attending Yellowstone for the first time slam on their brakes, throw open all four of the cars doors where  applicable, and race out to greet and get their first up-close view of the different contestants, leaving their vehicles unattended and blocking the roadway. This impacts traffic bringing it to a standstill for hours. As this also usually results in the arrival of the First Responders stationed throughout the park to take care of the maimed and wounded that occur from way too close encounters with animals that are wild and have never heard of Disney, it takes awhile before the visitors cars can be impounded and hauled off to be shredded. Prepare for long waits depending on the popularity of the contestant being viewed.

This years games are truly spectacular with many new participants such as one of the real contenders in the light heavy-weight broad jump, Mr. Billy Lightpaw, a fantastic looking black bear here shown settling into his patented “Squat and Jump” starting position. Mr. Lightpaw also known as Billy the Bumper to his friends, currently holds the amateur broad jumping record of 32′ 8″ set last fall at the pre-hibernation games outside of Ottawa and is considered to be a gold medal frontrunner. Notice the coiled spring like action of tucking his head in and rolling back on his powerful haunches prior to his launch. Simply incredible. This is why he’s a crowd favorite. This event has plenty of accessibility due to the wide open Hayden valley floor. Binoculars are highly recommended.

The Madison river will have a new event this year, in fact it’s the first time this event has been offered in the summer games and it is likely to be a huge crowd pleaser. It is the “Calf Drop” and it’s a doozy. There are no front-runners in this event due to the fact that only first time Buffalo mothers can enter. Those due to drop their calves during  the week of August 11th through August 22nd are automatically entered. As mentioned before there are no front-runners yet but the likelihood of twins and even in the rarest of circumstances triggering an automatic Gold medal, triplets, might be expected. There is a lot of interest in this event by the press and Mothers for Public Breastfeeding or the MBP as it’s known, around the world.

Another fun event for the whole family is being held at LeHardy Rapids this year. It’s the “Otter Fish Off'” and this event is one that ESPN has scheduled for prime time coverage. As you know from previous games this one is fast paced and exciting. Upstream at the top of the rapids, barrels of trout averaging 26″ to 41″ inches long and weighing up to 96 lbs. each are released to streak down the rapids where the contestants wait at the bottom. The Otter that gets the biggest fish with the least amount of personal  injury is scored on tenacity, conviviality, ferocity and good manners. This is a high interest event for the entire family and you may want to arrive a few days early to get a good seat.

The “Wolf Run” or “Elk Calf Take Down” is an event that is best watched on TV or the various Jumbo-trons set up along the highway as much of the action is out of sight due to the rugged terrain through the ponds and small streams in the heavily brushed area that is Blacktail Flats. This year we’ll have extra coverage as the various networks are employing their new “Wolf Drone” cameras which are able to follow the wolves as they run down the elk calves and drag them out of the buck brush where they like to hide. Odds on favorite this year is of course the Blacktail Flats Pack for their intimate knowledge of the area.

Gibbon meadows will again be the site of the contestants housing area, media outlets, Torch lighting, and the entrance and closing parades. A Special “I Paid A Lot Because I’m Special” Pass is needed to access this area. If you don’t already have one you might as well forget about it. There’s none left. Sorry. Seems like everybody is Special.

The Lamar valley is again host to one of the all time favorite events, “Buffalo Herding”. This event has been a staple of the Summer Games for as long as I have been making them up. It is not someone herding the Buffalo but instead the Buffalo proudly showing off their skill at being a herd member, their ability to ‘herd’ as it  were. There are synchronized marching exhibitions, where the different herds show off their ability to walk together with all four legs synchronized, which if you’ve never seen it before is mesmerizing. There is a herd bull “Bellowing” event where the different herd bulls get on opposite sides of the valley and bellow at each other until one runs away in shame. There is a new event this year where the herds travel along the valley floor with the newborns running alongside ( the little orange ones ) to see how long they can run with their tongues out. And last but not least the contest that pits the different herds against each other to show who can make the trip up the Gibbons Narrows to the meadows above the slowest. The resulting length of the traffic tie up from the buffalo jam decides the winner. Last years numbers to beat are eleven and a half miles of stalled traffic and five hours to make the six-mile trek up from the bottom of the falls to the summer grazing. Everyone travels at Buffalo speed for this one.

These are just the highlights of the summer games, there’s plenty more so start packing and head on up to Yellowstone for another amazing year of the Summer Games at Yellowstone National Park. We’ll look for you there.

Itchy, OMG Yes


Many of you know by now that the Rut is coming up fast. We’ve got about 6-8 weeks before all hell breaks loose. For those of you new to the sport, the rut is when the bull elk go forth and begin to collect cow elk for the purpose of passing on their genetic fluids with the idea being that they will be improving the herd and the species in general. Think of it as being like Fight Game with elk sex involved. This may not be for the squeamish. But it is Nature so you’ll just have to deal with it. That or stay out of elk country for the next 2½ – 3 months, because it’ll be happening where ever elk congregate.

What you may not know is that The Institute backs several of these young bulls in the upcoming events. We stable them at our Spring training camp at Rocky Mountain National Park so it’s easy for us to keep an eye on them. We sponsor them, provide them with equipment and training, meds (but not steroid’s, none of our bulls have ever tested positive for steroids) bandages and wraps, unguents that help with velvet removal, antler polishing supplies, promote them both locally and nationally and try and position them so they move up through the ranks. Several of our better known fighters have been featured in the preliminaries at various MMA events and we hope to get one of our up and comers featured in an early ESPN covered fight mid-September. We need to cross our antlers on that one but it looks possible.

We stopped by the bull pen the other day to see how everyone was faring and found them in the usual state they’re in this time of year. Everyone is grazing like crazy trying to put on weight. They’re doing the calisthenics necessary for rapid antler growth, and they’re checking out their competition daily. Some of these guys have known each other since grade school but this will be their first real fight and the stakes are high. Not only do you get bragging rights for being the bull of the hour but the chicks, man, the chicks. They are foxes, stone cold foxes. These are the choice cows of the herd and they know it, they only join harems where the bull is Numero Uno. So the incentive is very high.

Right now though everyone is in a heightened state of awareness, full of self-doubt and insecurities and worried about how they’re going to perform.  Besides that those velvet covered antlers are itchy, like really itchy, like drive you bat-crap crazy itchy. That’s where we can help by providing that special proprietary, patent applied for, unguent developed in our labs here at The Institute. It takes the itch right out of those antlers and lets these guys get some sleep and yet enhances their strength and vitality through the proper use of chemicals. it helps them put on weight and develop incredible muscle tone and gives them that little extra edge of madness they need to really go out there and kick elk butt. It’s our job to buck them up, give them the support they need, convince them that they’re the best, and we take that very seriously.

The young bull pictured above, Twitchy, was very glad to see us. Nearly in tears in fact. He needed the unguent bad and could barely stop himself from scratching his antlers down to a nub. Of course we provided it to him, for a slight increase over our normal cut of the gate but then unguent doesn’t grow on trees you know. We’ve got expenses too.

Otherwise the prospects look pretty good for this season. There’s some big bulls out there and a lot of them got their cans kicked last year so they didn’t get a chance to spend any quality time with the ladies so they’re pumped. It won’t be long before the preliminaries start with the bulls matching up, shoving and pushing, seeing who looks weak and who they have to watch out for. This looks like a promising Rut. Now if we can just get some of those heavy-duty agents in here so we can sign some of these guys we’ll be set.