I love chatting up multi-generational vacationers. They are easy to spot as the little ones clearly enjoy being with the grandparents, and the grandparents enjoy spoiling the little ones. Meanwhile, the parents get to escape work, house maintenance and back-to-school shopping while “letting” the grandparents pick up dinner checks and buy souvenirs.
For many of these families, this is not their first trip to the coolest Western town ever. The parents and grandparents are busy pointing out local landmarks that really haven’t changed much. The Irma Hotel and other Sheridan Avenue structures look much the same. The Poker Church is a comforting site, and Cassie’s is a constant reminder of simpler times.
The one thing the older generations remember best, however, is our status as the “Rodeo Capital of the World.”
When I asked older (non-kid) visitors what they remember about their childhood visits to Cody and the area, far and away the most common answer is “the rodeo.”
Yes, we love our rodeo, and nobody remembers when it was not an integral part of our community. While the Nite Rodeo happens every night in June, July and August, the biggest summer event is the Cody Stampede Rodeo at the beginning of July.
In 2019, my town is giving away a trip for two featuring airfare, accommodations, VIP rodeo tickets, activities, rental car and a side trip to the world’s first national park. Travelers can enter the drawing online at www.codyyellowstone.org/win/. The drawing will be held April 15.
The winners will arrive at the Cody Yellowstone Regional Airport July 2 and spend three nights at the historic Irma Hotel in downtown Cody. During the days enjoy Old Trail Town & Museum of the Old West, Wyoming River Trips, Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody Firearms Experience, Cody Stampede Parade, City Park Wild West Extravaganza, Heart Mountain WWII Interpretive Center, and the 100th Cody Stampede Rodeo Finals. Then it is off to Yellowstone National Park for a night at the famed Lake Yellowstone Hotel before returning to Cody and flying home July 6.
The trip is sponsored by the Park County Travel Council, Irma Hotel, Yellowstone National Park Lodges and Hertz.
The Cody Stampede got its start when a group of local leaders met three years after the death of Buffalo Bill Cody to talk about how to transform our town’s small annual July 4 celebration into an event that would showcase Cody’s authentic Western dude ranches and other attractions as well as our proximity to two entrances to Yellowstone National Park.
These town leaders had little idea that they would create an annual event that would be enjoyed and remembered by generations of Cody residents and visitors from around the world.
The modern Cody Stampede features four Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA)-sanctioned Stampede Rodeos, including a Cody Yellowstone Extreme Bulls event typically held June 30.
The fun continues for the next four days with a Kiddies Parade, two Stampede Parades, daily rodeos, a 5K/10K run/walk on July 4, and the three-day Wild Extravaganza Craft Fair July 2-4. Additionally, a variety of musical performances by regional acts are held in outdoor venues throughout town.
The Stampede Parades on July 3 and 4 are especially fun, with at least three marching bands from around the country parading down the town’s main street of Sheridan Avenue. The parade’s grand marshals have included well-known figures such as John Wayne, Steven Seagal, Chuck Yeager and Wilford Brimley.
This all adds up to a memorable trip you can tell your friends, children and grandchildren about. It’s even better when someone else pays for it.
See you in July.
Until next week, I am lovin’ life in Cody Yellowstone.