Happy Pappy, the jingling cowboy, is known for his unique style of entertainment throughout the western tourism industry especially in and around Billings, MT. Dennis McNiven
, who many also call Pappy, has been providing western entertainment from acting in movies to strumming his guitar around campfires. Pappy, who has been involved and in movies like Far & Away, Lonesome Dove, and River Runs Through It (to name a few), has settled down in his ways and now provides entertainment to the masses in Montana.
- Pappy and his horses for horseback rides,
Pappy, who was raised in and around the Afton, Jackson Hole Wyoming area grew up around livestock like horses and mules since his father was an outfitter. Pappy’s father Fondell Scott McNiven, who was born in Burlington Wyoming, ran an outfitting company that provided big game hunting for elk, deer, moose and bear in the Snake River Canyon on East Table Creek South of Jackson Hole Wyoming. Fondell operated out of the Afton/Star Valley Wyoming area and Dennis at a young age of 6 years old became the point man for spotting wildlife in his dad’s huntling camp. Dennis, known today as Pappy or Happy Pappy, became experienced at a young age with the outdoors. Since then, he’s been a mountain man learning the in and outs of horses and mules. From his younger days of riding horses and exploring the Rocky Mountains, Dennis now brings with him experience of a lifetime to his own adventure company in Billings MT.
Now for those looking to get lost in western cuture and experience the old days of the pioneers and Pony Express, might I recommend an adventure that Pappy and his son jonathan put together some years ago that provides an authentic western adventure starting with a covered wagon ride to the camp, then a real cowboy steak meal that is sure to massage your taste buds if it doesn’t blow your boots off. It’s that good, from marenated steaks, cowboy beans to pappy’s special fry bread; don’t be surprised if you hear others ask the cook for the recipe as that is usually the case. During and after your meal, pappy will provide old country music accompanied by Jonathan on the harmonica (if the harmonica is there).
This outdoor adventure is wholesome to the whole family or couple. You’ll never guess the name of it, called Pappy’s Cowboy Cookout. Now the best part about the location for the activity is that it’s minutes from downtown Billings Montana and located off Interstate 90. The remoteness is unforgetable, especially if you plan a whole day of adventure with Western Romance Company (Pappy’s own company) and include horseback rides either for two hours or the whole day. The trail rides are sure to get the “AWH!” affect from the mountain top views to the meandering streams below.
Dennis, who has 7 children, is married to his most supportive wife Norma of 42 years. As all the children have now flown the nest to pursue bigger fish in life, Dennis and Norma enjoy the country settings and big sky county that Montana provides. Dennis has enjoyed starting his western adventure company that provides family centered, wholesome fun for the grandchildren when they come to visit and to those on vacation to Montana. Dennis enjoys workng with his son Jonathan as Jonathan manages the business now. Other family members come together and participate when needed and available in thier group events and activities. So, its a family centered business that has depth.
Pappy has always been in the western world with his adventurous western ideas. As he comes from the West, he has been able to garner respect in his knowledge of the West as an actor, outrider, stunt man and cowboy. Dennis McNiven, who is known around as Pappy, was born and raised in Afton Wyoming with his 2 brothers and one Sister. His father was widely respected for his horemanship and ethics with respect to handling horses and livestock to starting dude ranches in Wyoming with a restaurant. Pappy always participated with his father in handling the mules, horses, and cattle. Then pappy went out on his own and got married. Dennis has 7 children who has thier own families scattered through the United States. mov02352