One of the best things to do in Cody, Wyoming is to attend one of the nightly rodeos in June, July and August. There are events for the whole family, with bull riding, calf roping, bulldogging and cowgirl barrel racing among the favorite adult events. There are stick horse races, scrambles and clowns for the younger members of the family. This is a great night out, with tickets available at the gate or from a range of businesses in Cody.
While the rodeo is now totally American, its origins are Spanish. Ranchers from Spain and their ranch hands (often from Mexico) have been wrangling cattle and fighting bulls for centuries. Bull riding and steer wrestling have also been around for a long time. These events took place around the Spanish empire, including the areas that later became part of the US, and they spread from there to other towns and cities – and moved from the Spanish population to the English-speaking one. Bill Pickett’s unique bulldogging method also increased the popularity of rodeo.
With all that ancient history, there’s a lot of dispute about which is the world’s oldest rodeo. Several towns make that claim, including Pecos, Texas; Payson, Arizona; and Prescott, Arizona. And Cody’s rodeo has been running for more than 60 years. While it matters to the townspeople, the audience probably couldn’t care less, as long as they get to enjoy the great events for which the Cody Rodeo is famous.