Long, Strange Trip: Cheyenne Man Returns To City After Forty Years

George Jay Wienbarg, a Cheyenne native, recently returned to his hometown to connect with his roots and legacy as a relative of Buffalo Bill.

Ellen Fike

August 04, 20223 min read

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It’s easier to ask George Jay Wienbarg what jobs he hasn’t done in his life than which he has done.

In just over seven decades of life, Wienbarg has been an undercover narcotics agent, a fashion mogul, a marketer, newsman and actor. Oh, and he’s the great-grand nephew of Buffalo Bill. Yes, that Buffalo Bill.

As a reporter, he has worked for CNN, ABC, NBC and around 30 different radio stations. He’s also acted in films alongside Eric Roberts and Sandra Bernhardt.

“I’ve never been a waiter. I’d like to try that sometime,” he told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday.

He can remember the day he left Cheyenne: July 4, 1981. He was headed for New York City. He thought he’d never come back.

While he was gone, he trademarked the Hollywood sign, partied with Hugh Hefner and Jack Nicholson and even managed nearly two dozen opera singers’ careers. That’s just a condensed version of his life, which would likely read more like “Ulysses” by James Joyce if he were to write his memoirs.

On July 4, 2022, Wienbarg set out from New York to come back to Cheyenne. It was time to reconnect with his hometown and state.

“At my apartment, there was an L-shaped parking lot surrounding it and last March, they started to develop that area,” Wienbarg said. “It was going to be a 33-story building going up around me. My kitchen windows were going to be blocked off, so I’d have no light whatsoever. And I thought, ‘I could live in a box in New York or under blue, open skies in Wyoming.'”

After returning to Cheyenne in mid-July, Wienbarg has been stunned by the development he has seen. It’s almost like a completely different city than the one he drove away from 41 years ago.

“It’s progressed so far in terms of foresight and the vision of the people of the city,” he said. “I mean, if Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are wanting to get into Wyoming right now, that’s big.”

Now that he is back in Cheyenne, Wienbarg intends to get to work on several projects, including books and documentaries about his family legacy.

One of these works includes a film about the late Alice Reneau, Buffalo Bill’s niece who died in 2008 and a fish-out-of-water book that only a Wyoming boy living in New York City could write.

His film about Reneau is akin to “Little Big Man,” in which Wienbarg interviews his relative about her life and growing up around Buffalo Bill.

At 71, Wienbarg has no intention of slowing down in any way. While he loves cold brew coffee, he doesn’t need it. The actor, writer and former newsman radiates with energy.

Wienbarg wants to share with the world his renewed love for the city he spent so long running away from.

“I’ve fallen in love again with Cheyenne,” Wienbarg said. “We’re at the nexus of Interstate 25 and I-80 and it’s really the center of the country, which is the center of the universe, in my opinion.”

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Ellen Fike