It doesn’t feel like it, but Spring is almost here and with that, Summer isn’t far behind. That means the return of the thrills, spills, and chills of the Cody Nite Rodeo.
Roping at the Cody Nite Rodeo, courtesy of Facebook.
Since the turn of the 20th century, rodeos
and parades have been synonymous with the Fourth of July celebration here in Cody
, Wyoming. Starting officially in 1919, the Cody Stampede Rodeo has been held every summer and this year will be no different. 2019 marks the 103rd anniversary of Cody Stampede and the 84th anniversary of the Cody Nite Rodeo performances.
These two events establish Cody as not only one of the longest running successful professional rodeos, but also the only place in the country that has a rodeo performance nightly making us the Rodeo Capital of the World
. The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association named the Cody Stampede “Best Large Outdoor Rodeo of the Year” in 1998 and 1999, and was voted “Top 5” Large Outdoor Rodeos in 2020. Cody consistently proves that our town is rodeo, night after night, all summer long!
Cody is called the “Rodeo Capitol of the World” and for good reason. Starting officially in 1919, the Cody Stampede rodeo has been held every summer, thrilling audiences from around the world. The Cody Stampede rodeo is not only one of the longest running, successful professional rodeos, but also the only place in the United States that has a rodeo performance every single night. The Professional Rodeo Cowboy’s Association named the Cody Stampede “Best Large Outdoor Rodeo of the Year” in 1998 & 1999.
Night after night, Cody consistently proves that this town is all about rodeo, all summer long! With our two distinct rodeos, the Cody Nite Rodeo every night from June 1st – August 31st, and the Cody Stampede July 1st – 4th, Cody continues to make our mark and have an indelible impact on the rodeo world. The rich and pungent history of rodeo in Cody started over one hundred years ago with Buffalo Bill and his Wild West Show. Buffalo Bill was quickly realized that the public was fascinated not only by his rodeo show, but also the Wild West and the need to preserve a part of what was soon to become civilized. Tryouts for the Wild West Show were held right behind the Irma hotel in what is now the parking lot.
In 1913 Buffalo Bill closed his Wild West Show and that summer he hosted one last parade and rodeo in Cody for the prince of Monaco. Buffalo Bill passed away in 1917, ending a fascinating and indelible chapter in the story of the American West. In 1919 Clarence Williams spearheaded the effort to establish a rodeo celebration in Cody to commemorate the profound impact and rich legacy of Buffalo Bill Cody and the “Old West” he genuinely personified. Williams scheduled his rodeo show to coincide with the day the East Gate opened into Yellowstone Park running from June 23 to June 25, 1919. The following year, with Caroline Lockhart as president, the Cody Stampede was moved to the 4th of July.
In 1938, Carly Downing a former Wild West show performer, started the Cody Nite Rodeo, or Pup rodeo, as it was called then. The Nite Rodeo quickly ingratiated itself as an integral part of the Stampede and the Cody community as well. It brought money for the Stampede and cowboys from all over the country to compete and show the “Wild West” to travelers all summer long. Many of the rodeos top bucking stock and famous cowboys come from the Cody Rodeo. Rodeo is what sets Cody apart more than any other city in the U.S.A.
The Cody Nite Rodeo is celebrating its 85th annual season with Mo Betta Rodeo Company returning as the stock contractor for this incredible event. You can get your tickets here
. Adults are $25, with children 7-12 years of age going for $13.50 and kids 6 and under are free.
The Cody Stampede returns on July 1st and lasts until the 4th of July. Cody native Matt Tarr will be this year’s barrelman, his first appearance doing the Cody stampede. With Frontier Rodeo returning as the stock contractor and being 8-timePRCA Stock Contractor of the Year, it will certainly be an entertaining and thrilling couple of nights here in the Cowboy State. Also making an appearance are bullfighters Nate Jestes, Cody Webster, who is the reigning PRCA Bullfighter of the Year, Dusty Tuckness, who is a 10-time PRCA Bullfighter of the Year, and Boyd Polhaus is returning as the announcer of this year’s rodeo festivities and events.
To kick off the Cody Stampede, the Cody/Yellowstone Xtreme Bulls and BFO happens at 6:30PM with the nation’s top bull riders taking on the best bulls in the business. The Bullfighters Only, which is also Freestyle Bullfighting, will run in conjunction with Xbulls. There will be an Xtreme after party in the plaza after the bullfighting concludes. There will be food, drinks, autographs and the band Exit53 performing. Reserved seats are $36 a piece and kids under 2 years of age are free.