James Butler Hickok. Wild Bill. A man fit for a dime store novel may have met his demise in a Deadwood saloon, but his image, and legend, live on.

Especially during Wild Bill Days.

June 18-20 brings all things Wild Bill to Deadwood. And even some things not quite Wild Bill. Regardless, the weekend certainly has something for everyone. After all, where else can you take in the Wild West atmosphere, all the while enjoying free world-class entertainment? Wild Bill’s stay in Deadwood may have been short-lived, but the folks in Deadwood put on a celebration that, if he were alive today, even Wild Bill would be pleased to partake.

I mean who can’t resist trying to sing along to John Michael Montgomery’s SOLD song, you know the one: “… and I said hey pretty lady won’t you give me a sign, I’d do anything to make you mine all mine, I’ll do your bidding and be at your beckon call…” Wild Bill was surely a toe-tapper, so if he were to be in Deadwood on June 19, 2010, he’d be in the front row on the Main Street stage struttin’ his stuff. And it’s free. Bring a chair and stake your claim on the street. Did I mention the concerts are free?

You say music ain’t your thing? How about some Cowboy Fast Draw Championships? Wild Bill was quite the quick draw, and these modern-day gunslingers certainly would give him a run for his money. Want to try your luck at drawing a pistol from a holster and shooting a target as fast as imaginable? Can do – First Gold in Deadwood puts on a fundraiser shoot on Friday, June 19 that’s open to all comers, be them smooth and quick as lightning or slow and fumbl-y. All you have to do is get a team together and show up. Guns, holsters and the like provided. But if you’re shooting leaves a little to be desired, at least dress the part. Call (605) 717-7001 for more information or to register your posse.

Ryan Shupe and the RubberBand will be back to Deadwood too for Wild Bill Days 2010. They’ll play on Friday, June 18 (did I mention the concerts are FREE?). The song “Dream Big” is a big hit, and the band’s banjo-plucking, fiddle-playing style is a can’t miss. Music on both Friday and Saturday starts at 5 p.m. with Shantel Bolks, a fine singer, songwriter, pianist from South Dakota, and good ‘ol Brock Finn with some fine Brock ‘N Roll. If you haven’t heard Brock, you really haven’t experienced a musical experience. Brock Finn and his band will take the stage both nights.

I’m likely to run out of room, but Wild Bill Days will also feature some high-flying dogs during the DockDogs competition. Not that the dogs want to compete, really, as they just want to play fetch in a huge pool of water. And fetch they do. This event will be in front of the Silverado-Franklin complex on Main Street throughout the weekend. Pretty sure you won’t miss it! Registration for you and your pup is now open at www.dockdogs.com. Deadwood will also host a pole vaulting exhibition in front of the Holiday Inn Express at high noon on Saturday, and a city-wide BBQ cook-off (with free food!) will be held starting at 2 p.m. And you can’t miss the Firearms and Old West Auction and Show taking place throughout the weekend at The Lodge at Deadwood. Some fine firearms – well at Wild Bill’s standards – and Old West gear will be on sale and on the auction block.

Song, dance, food, libations and shooting. Yep, sounds like a party Wild Bill would host. Oh, and ample gambling opportunities too. Makes it even better. And it’s free. Not sure if I mentioned that. Check out www.deadwood.org or call 1-800-999-1876. See you in Deadwood!

OH, and we are giving away a FREE night’s stay for Wild Bill Days – keep track of the contest (will launch next week!) at www.facebook.com/historicdeadwood!