Organizers of the Cody Stampede are working to hold the July rodeo as scheduled despite an announcement earlier this week it would be canceled.
The Stampede’s organizing board said its members never agreed to the cancellation announced Wednesday by Gov. Mark Gordon and officials from rodeos across the state.
“The Rodeo Task Force that worked with the Governor made a decision as a group to cancel major rodeos this summer,” the organizing board said in an announcement posted to Facebook on Friday. “However, our Board operates independently from that special task force and their decisions are not reflective of our position.”
Gordon said after six weeks of discussions with rodeo officials from across the state, the officials agreed it would be impossible to maintain social distancing while holding their various events.
But the organizing board said it will seek an exemption from statewide health rules to allow the 101st annual Stampede to be held as scheduled July 1-4. The board also said it will try to operate the Cody Nite Rodeo as scheduled through the summer.
The board stated it never approved or even voted on any positions the task force has taken and that it never made any official decision to cancel any of the rodeos.
An announcement on the Cody Stampede’s website alerts visitors to check its Facebook page for up to date information.
The board submitted a variance request to the Wyoming Department of Health to hold the Cody Nite Rodeo, but it was denied on Wednesday, the same day as the cancellation announcements.
The board was surprised by this denial, since Gordon announced small rodeos would be allowed this summer, capping the number of people allowed at outdoor gatherings to 250 people at most.
“Even though the Governor announced on May 27, 2020 that there would be small rodeos in Wyoming, our variance request for the Cody Nite Rodeo was denied on the very same day,” the Facebook posting said. “We are submitting another variance request, and we hope the Governor will stand by his word and approve it.
“It remains our goal to host our Cody Nite Rodeo and the Cody Stampede in 2020,” the statement continued. “We have been extremely excited to showcase another top-notch professional rodeo, the first Stampede that we are scheduled to host after being inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in August of 2019.”