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Where the buffalo roam

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Visitors who go to Soldier Hollow for Nordic events will get a feel for the Wild West, and get a glimpse of one of its most majestic animals.

When foreign visitors come to the American West... they expect to see cowboys and horses...and have probably conjured up images of wide-open spaces and buffalo roaming the range as well.

Visitors who go to Soldier Hollow for Nordic events will get that feel for the Wild West, and get a glimpse of one of its most majestic animals.

News Specialist Jed Boal has the story.

A dozen American Bison bolted into their new home this morning at Soldier Hollow...a charge from the gate to make any skier envious.

During the Games, the bison will roam this range about a quarter-mile from the starting line for the Biathlon and Cross-country races.

They were born into the Antelope Island herd...and range in age from calves to three. They were rounded up in July so they could get used to fences.

"They're a magnificent animal," said Steve Bate, Antelope Island wildlife manager. "They've got strong front quarters. They're beautiful animals and you don't see them anywhere else in the world but North America."

Here's the idea, every day, tens of thousands of spectators will come in on that road in buses and cars. Each morning, they will be able to see the bison, feeding along the edge of the pen.

The Probst family farmed this land for years until they sold it to the state for Wasatch Mountain State Park.

Asked if it was quite a sight to see the buffalo unloaded on the property, Midway farmer Wayne Probst said, "Yes it was. Especially the one that hit the fence. I was afraid the fence was gone. That's something I never expected to see, buffalo here in Midway."

"This time of year, they have their full fur and they're shaggy...they've got the pantaloons on their front quarters. They're just a real impressive, beautiful and strong animal," Bates said.

Probst is glad so many people will get to enjoy the beauty of the land once farmed by his father.

"It's a hard place to beat," Probst said. "That's why I've lived here all my life, and plan to finish it out here."

The farmer fears the real Wild West is gone...but, the bison help create a lasting image for Soldier Hollow.

The state is taking -bids on the bison during the Games. So, who knows...maybe some lucky visitor will shuffle off with a buffalo.