When the arm jerker broke from the chute the crowd was seeing daylight.
That’s when I knew that things were back to normal here in the “Rodeo Capital of the World.”
You see, we don’t just throw a rodeo during our county fair. We do it every night June 1 – Aug. 31 with our Cody Nite Rodeo. Actually, that’s not completely true. On Tuesday, June 30 at 7 p.m. the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) Cody/Yellowstone Xtreme Bulls event will take place, and from July 1-4 the biggest names in rodeo come to town for the Cody Stampede.
First, let’s talk about the Nite Rodeo which has been happening since 1938. Every night our rodeo grounds open the gates at 7 p.m., and the action begins at 8 p.m. Performances are typically around two hours long with events such as bronc riding, bull riding, bareback riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, team roping and barrel racing. I always get a kick out of the kids in the audience who are invited to participate in the calf scramble.
The audience is also entertained by the rodeo clowns whose outfits and humor sometimes mask the serious and highly important job of keeping the rodeo performers safe by distracting the horses and bulls. That’s why people in the know often refer to them as “bullfighters” instead of clowns.
For the competitors, the Cody Nite Rodeo is serious business as they are competing for prize money every night. The rodeo is also a stepping stone with the better ropers and riders moving on to try to make it on the circuit throughout the country.
Which brings us to the Cody Stampede. For 95 – yes, 95 – years we have been hosting this event. This year it will be held July 1-4 with events taking place at 8 p.m. (gates open at 6 p.m.) the first three nights with the final performances starting at 5 p.m. July 4. In addition, the event kicks off Tuesday, June 30 at 7 p.m. with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) Cody/Yellowstone Xtreme Bulls event. This event features 40 of the world’s top bull riders competing for a purse of $15,000 and the coveted Cody-Yellowstone Xtreme Bulls title.
The Cody Stampede Rodeo is one of nine stops on the Million Dollar Gold Tour Series insuring that the top cowboys in the country come to Cody.
The Stampede Parade on the morning of July 4 features at least three marching bands from around the country. And every year, we Cody residents look forward to the announcement of the parade grand marshal. Past grand marshals have included NASCAR’s Bobby Allison in 2014 and John Wayne, Steven Seagal and Chuck Yeager in past years. This year’s grand marshal will be Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow who is 101 years old and the only living person to receive the oral history from the Custer Battlefield. His grandfather was a scout for General Custer.
If you’ve never seen a rodeo, you know where to come.
Until next week, I am lovin’ life in the Rodeo Capital of the World.