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Cody Stampede Rodeo

Cody Stampede Rodeo Nominated For PRCA Awards

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Cody Stampede Rodeo

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By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

One of the big draws for tourists to Wyoming each summer is the region’s wild west history – and nothing says the wild west like rodeo.

The Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association this month announced the nominees for the nation’s top awards in rodeoing – and Marc Thompson, co-president of the Cody Stampede Board, said the Cody Stampede Rodeo and several cowboys who got their start in Cody have been nominated for national awards.

“Frontier Rodeo is (nominated for) stock contractor of the year; all three of our bullfighters are nominated, including (Cody’s) own Dusty Tuckness; Justin Rumford, he is up for clown of the year; Haley Proctor; Amanda Sanders, secretary; so, those are all people who were part of our team this year.”

Matt Tarr is a rodeo clown who for the first time has been nominated for best comedy act of the year. A Cody native, Tarr said he spent his summers at the Cody Nite Rodeo.

“I grew up watching my granddad and grandma, they were the medics at the Nite Rodeo when we were little bitty kids,” he recalls. “They took us all the time, and we grew up watching the Stampede. I just grew up wanting to do it.”

Thompson noted that despite the public health regulations that restricted – and in some cases, even canceled – rodeo events across the country, including Cheyenne Frontier Days and four other major rodeos in Wyoming, the Cody Stampede went on as planned – which qualified it to be nominated for the best large outdoor rodeo of the year. 

“We followed safety procedures and protocols under the guidance of the health officers to make sure that we could do it safely,” Thompson said. “Fortunately, everything went off without any problems, there weren’t any COVID-related transmissions associated with the rodeo all summer long.”

And the Cody Stampede board of directors is proud of the fact that the event has been nominated for this particular award in the past – and won.

“We’ve been nominated before – in fact, we won that award back to back in 1998 and 99,” said Thompson.

The winners of this year’s awards will be announced Dec. 2 at the PRCA annual conference, which this year will be held in Fort Worth, Texas.

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Coronavirus Doesn’t Dampen Cody Stampede Enthusiasm

in News/Coronavirus

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By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

In Park County, confirmed cases of the coronavirus have skyrocketed in the last few days. As of Friday, 54 cases have been reported – that’s up from just 11 a little more than a week ago.

But the threat of the virus isn’t curbing the enthusiasm of rodeo fans.

Mike Darby, co-president of the Cody Stampede Board, said fans and participants are excited to catch some rodeo action at the 101st annual celebration.

“The town is behind us, and it’s been a great process,” he said. “The contestants are ecstatic, they’re thanking us profusely that we’re having a rodeo. Some of the contract personnel are so appreciative, this is the first time they’ve worked since Houston [in early March].”

However, Darby said rodeo officials are taking as many precautions as they can.

“We’re … COVID checking the cowboys as they come in every morning, everybody has passed,” he explained. “We wristband them, temp-check them, log them in, and everybody is so cooperative, it’s been just a great process.”

A big part of the annual Stampede Celebration are the parades – three, to be exact. Leanne Reiter is the chairperson for the Stampede Parade Committee. She said although very few people wore masks at the first parade on Thursday, rodeo officials are encouraging families to follow CDC guidelines. 

“[Regulations say there should be] 6 feet apart between family groupings, so consider grouping your family up perpendicular to Main Street, put the little guys up front, the older people in the back, and that way we can maximize the access to Main Street,” she said. “If you cannot maintain the 6 feet social distancing between family groups, make sure you bring along a face covering with you.”

The Fourth of July rodeo usually sees a sold-out crowd of about 5,000 people. This year, the rodeo is allowed by state orders to seat just under 3,000. 

However, Darby pointed out that those 3,000 tickets for Saturday’s Fourth of July performance have already sold out, adding that the opening night events on Wednesday drew a crowd of over 2,000 — just 500 fewer than last year’s opening night.

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Cody Stampede Organizers Prepare For Rodeo As Originally Planned

in News/Tourism

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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.

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Cody Nite Rodeo To Open June 20; Crowds Must Stay Under 600

in News/Coronavirus
Cody Stampede Rodeo

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

The Cody Nite Rodeo will start for the season on June 20, organizers have announced.

The Cody Stampede Board, which runs the summer-long series of rodeos, has announced that the state approved Park County plans to allow the rodeo to be held as long as crowds do not exceed 600.

“The Copy Stampede Board is happy to announce that the State of Wyoming has authorized the Cody Nite Rodeo to proceed as planned starting in mid-June,” the board said in a statement on its website. “The new tentative start date is June 20, 2020.”

Last week, state officials announced that statewide health guidelines limiting the size of gatherings to fewer than 25 people had been relaxed to allow outdoor gatherings of up to 250 as long as social distancing guidelines are met.

Gov. Mark Gordon and Dr. Alexia Harrist, the state’s public health officer, said the change would allow events such as small rodeos and outdoor weddings to be held.

Park County officials asked for an exception to the rule to allow up to 600 people to attend the Nite Rodeo and the request was approved by Harrist, said Kim Deti, a Wyoming Health Department spokeswoman.

The Cody Stampede, a larger rodeo that runs July 1-4, is one of six major rodeos in Wyoming to be identified last week as being canceled for the year. Rodeo officials from all six events, including Cheyenne Frontier Days, made the announcement during a news conference with Gov. Mark Gordon.

However, the Stampede board said it is still working with state officials to determine if some kind of July 4 rodeo event can be held.

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Wyo Health Dept Says They Never Denied Cody Stampede Nite Rodeo

in News/Coronavirus

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

State health officials have not denied a request for Cody to hold its summer-long Nite Rodeo, however, the state’s health officer is reminding organizers that the event can have no more than 250 attendees.

In an email to the Cowboy State Daily, Wyoming Department of Health spokeswoman Kim Deti said there was some confusion surrounding the Cody Stampede and the role of state health officer Dr. Alexia Harrist.

The rodeo’s organizers, in a Facebook post, said the Health Department had rejected their request for a variance to allow the Cody Nite Rodeo to proceed.

But Deti said Harrist took no such action, instead just reminding rodeo organizers that under statewide health orders, the number of attendees to such an event must be limited to 250.

Gov. Mark Gordon and Harrist announced Wednesday that orders limiting gatherings to 25 people had been changed and that for outside gatherings, up to 250 people can attend if social distancing guidelines are observed.

Harrist, in an email to Dr. Aaron Billin, said the revised rules would allow the Cody Nite Rodeo to occur.

“….the new orders would allow this event with up to 250 spectators starting June 1, and the order gives the event venues specific provisions they have to follow,” Harrist wrote. “Knowing that these types of events have importance economically and culturally (especially now that the large rodeos have cancelled their events for the summer), this was the type of event we meant to allow to happen in the orders.

“However, I would really prefer that we stick to 250 spectators for a couple weeks to see how that goes…it gives the event venues a chance to determine what they need to put into place to make sure social distancing happens with a limited number of people before we think about expanding that number further…”

On Thursday, Harrist received an email from Marc Thompson, a Cody Stampede representative, asking for a copy of her “letter of denial” for the Rodeo to share with the board of the Cody Stampede, which also organizes the Cody Nite Rodeo.

Harrist told Thompson there was no denial

In her first response to Thompson, Harrist wrote: “….Just for clarification, the Cody Nite Rodeo can occur beginning June 1 with up to 250 spectators. As of June 1, rodeos are allowed under Statewide Public Health Order #2, with up to 250 spectators in the stands.

“If you would like to have more than 250 people in the stands, that would require an approved exception request. I am happy to discuss having more than 250 spectators, but my strong preference is to stick to 250 for at least through June 15.”

Thompson asked again in another email for Harrist’s “official denial letter” and asked about the size limit expected in upcoming public health orders.

In her second response, Harrist wrote: “I hesitate to speculate too much on the next number, given that we will need some time to see the effects of these changes. Potentially it could stay at 250 with increased ability to obtain exceptions for larger events in larger facilities that could easily space people, or move up to 500.”

“There is not an official letter declining the exception request. My response to the exception request was essentially the same as my response to you – that this event can occur beginning June 1 with up to 250 spectators, and that my strong preference would be to keep the spectators at 250. My understanding was that the intention was to start immediately (or June 1) for the rodeo….are you asking for an exception request for a rodeo with 750 spectators beginning June 15? I would consider that given by the time it occurs we would have two weeks of data indicating whether holding events of up to 250 can be successful….”

The Cody Stampede’s organizing board announced Friday that it intended to hold both the Nite Rodeo and the Cody Stampede Rodeo as scheduled.

The Cody Stampede Rodeo, originally scheduled for July 1-4, was one of six that Gov. Mark Gordon and rodeo officials had announced Wednesday would be canceled for the year.

The board, in its Facebook post, said it never agreed to the cancellation and vowed to hold both the Stampede and the Nite Rodeo.

Deti said Harrist has received a request for an exemption from statewide health rules to allow the Cody Stampede parade to be held, however, she had not received a request for a variance that would allow the Stampede itself to take place.

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Cody Stampede makes it to ProRodeo Hall of Fame

in News/Tourism

Cody’s Stampede Rodeo, one of the premier events in professional rodeo, has been inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.

The rodeo, now 100 years old, was named to the hall in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Aug. 3.

The induction proves how good the Stampede Rodeo is, said Mike Darby, co-president of the Stampede’s board of directors.

“We have a great, great rodeo,” he said. “We have the best contestants, the best stock, the best contractor. We’re deserving of it. Our town is behind us, our sponsors are behind us.”

One of the driving forces behind the creation of the Stampede Rodeo was Caroline Lockhart, who had a major hand in organizing the rodeo 100 years ago.

Lockhart was also the first woman to serve on the Stampede’s board. She was also the only woman to serve on the board until this year’s appointment of Jerri Gillett.

“We just work as a team,” Gillett said. “They don’t single me out like a trophy woman. They just treaty me as one of the guys.”

Cody marks 100 years of the Cody Stampede Rodeo

in Uncategorized

Cody is celebrating two things during this long holiday weekend — Independence Day and the 100th anniversary of its world-famous Cody Stampede Rodeo.

Launched as a one-day event in 1919 by community leaders as a way to celebrate the opening of Yellowstone National Park’s eastern gate, the rodeo now runs for five nights and is considered one of the top rodeos in the world.

“As far as in the western world and the world of rodeo, Cody, Wyoming, is way up there on the list,” said Dan Miller, a longtime television rodeo announcer. “It has $480,000 (in prize money) and you get one chance at that here. When you put it in the contest of Cheyenne (Frontier Days), you put it in the context of Pendleton (Roundup in Oregon), the other rodeos, Cody holds its own.”

This year’s event, also featuring parades a craft fair and entertainment, began June 27 with a concert, followed by a professional bullriding competition and then four nights of Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association-sanctioned rodeos.

The events at the rodeo have changed significantly from its first years, said Robyn Cutter, with the Park County Archives.

“They had a lot of different races early on,” she said. “The chariot races, the wild cow milking contests, the different races that we don’t have today. But it’s been very exciting to see how it’s grown and changed over the years.”

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