By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily
Just three weeks ago, representatives from the six major rodeos in Wyoming — including the Cody Stampede — stood together and announced plans to cancel their events due to coronavirus concerns.
But the Cody Stampede Board, acting with the approval of the state Department of Health, is planning to hold the 101st annual rodeo as originally scheduled July 1-4.
Mike Darby is co-president of the Cody Stampede Board. He said the board decided to go ahead with the event despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19.
“We’re allowed 600 people in the stands total right now, plus the contestants,” he explains. “We are applying for a variance — we’re writing that as we speak. We capped our entries off for our timed events at 150.”
In fact, Darby said the rodeo has even added an event this year.
“We’re looking at having all our normal events, plus we’re adding breakaway roping for the women,” he said. “We’re going to have all the top talent that’s available, all the top contestants.”
Additionally, the Cody Stampede Parade Committee announced that the parades on July 2, 3 and 4, along ith entertainment in Cody City Park on July 3 and 4, will take place as originally planned, thanks to the continued easing of health restrictions by the Health Department.
Darby pointed out that because of Cody’s decision, other rodeos around the state may be following suit.
“There are some rodeos that have asked how we did this for our Cody Nite Rodeo,” he said. “I have forwarded the exception that we wrote and that was accepted by the state so that we can have people in our stands, and I haven’t heard whether (other rodeos have) been given the OK to go ahead or not.”
Darby said moving forward with the annual celebration is something the community needed after the struggles that 2020 has presented so far.
“It’s gonna be a landmark year, given everything that’s going on in COVID 2020, so to speak, and we’re doing our best to bring the best show that we can to the public,” he said.