Discover your inner cowboy or cowgirl at Cody Stampede
Whether your favorite TV show was Gun Smoke, Mister Ed the talking horse or Little House on the Prairie, you probably liked playing cowboys and Indians as a kid. Now is your chance to go on a horseback riding vacation to Cody, Wyoming and re-create those memories with your own family. For five days, from June 30 – July 4, the small northwestern town of Cody, population 9,000, swells with visitors and pride as it celebrates all things cowboy.
“Here in Cody, we look forward to the Cody Stampede and the events that lead up to it as much as a child looks forward to the arrival of Santa,” said Claudia Wade, executive director of the Park County Travel Council. “The entire town is decked out with patriotic decorations, and shops and restaurants are bustling with activity,” notes Wade.
This year is the 93rd annual Cody Stampede Rodeo, a nod to the town’s long-time equestrian roots.
Plenty of bull at this cowboy rodeo
The Cody Stampede celebration kicks off Saturday, June 30 with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) Rodeo Xtreme Bulls event. This event features 40 of the world’s top bull riders competing for a $50,000 purse and the Cody-Yellowstone Xtreme Bulls title. Cody is the seventh stop on this nine-stop tour, which typically begins in January.
The four Cody Stampede Rodeos – part of the Wrangler Pro Rodeo Tour sanctioned by PRCA – are held July 1 – 4. The first three performances are held at 7 p.m., and the final performance on July 4 is at 4 p.m. The Cody Nite Rodeo, the town’s nightly rodeo, runs from June 1 through Aug. 31, Cody Stampede Rodeo has twice been named the “Best Large Outdoor Rodeo of the Year” by PRCA.
Cody’s Sheridan Avenue welcomes parade with marching bands
While not as grand as 100 Palomino horses leading the Dale Rogers Rose Bowl Parade float, parades, a street dance, barbecues and the Wild West Extravaganza in City Park, a three-day festival with arts and crafts booths, food vendors and music, will keep the town of Cody, Wyoming high stepping this summer.
The Stampede Parade on the morning of July 4 is especially fun, said Wade. At least three marching bands from around the country are invited to entertain the crowds that line Sheridan Avenue, Cody’s main street. And every year, Cody residents look forward to the announcement of the parade grand marshal. Past grand marshals have included John Wayne, Steven Seagal and Chuck Yeager.
Following the Cody Stampede Rodeo on July 4th, Cody caps the annual celebration with the Cody Skylighters Fireworks Show.
Buffalo Bill Trivia
Did you know that the area of Park County is called “Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country because it was the playground of Buffalo Bill Cody? In 1860, Buffalo Bill answered an ad for the Pony Express wanting “skinny, expert riders willing to risk death daily.” At age 14, Cody had all the qualifications. He became “one of the most fearless and daring riders.” Buffalo Bill founded the town of Cody in 1896, and the entire region was driven and is still heavily influenced by the vision of the Colonel. Today its broad streets, Buffalo Bill Historical Center museum and western culture host more than one million visitors annually.
Have you been on a horseback riding vacation in Cody? What are your favorite things to do in Cody, Wyoming?
If You Go:
The Park County Travel Council (800) 393-2639
It is recommended that travelers plan far ahead if they want to experience Cody Stampede during a Wyoming horseback riding vacation. The town’s inns, lodges, hotels and guest ranches offer more than 1,600 rooms, and most of those sell out during the Cody Stampede.
Article written by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip. Photos courtesy of The Park County Travel Council.