The secret’s out, and the 98th-annual Cody Stampede just got a whole lot sexier.
Every year Cody Stampede board members secretly select a grand marshal to become the ceremonial town leader on one of the most important days of the year. A perfect grand marshal is steadfast, accomplished, recognizable and most of all, certain to embrace the sometimes solemn, sometimes silly duties as the leader of Wyoming’s largest Independence Day parade.
The board has just announced that this year’s grand marshal duties will be jointly undertaken by Robert Taylor, the rugged, blue-eyed Aussie who plays Sheriff Walt Longmire, and Adam Bartley, whose on-screen persona is Deputy Archie “The Ferg” Ferguson in the A&E “Longmire” series. Longmire and The Ferg play earnest and reliably brave lawmen who ensure the safety of townsfolk and protect the collective moral backbone of the fictional town of Durant, Wyoming.
This Wyoming cowgirl couldn’t be more excited.
Mr. Taylor and Mr. Bartley will be joining the likes of Hollywood types (John Wayne, Steven Seagal, Wilford Brimley), famous storytellers (Red Steagall) and true American heroes (Chuck Yeager) when they lead colorful floats, three marching bands, proud servicemen and servicewomen and town leaders down Sheridan Avenue on July 4.
Cody isn’t new to hosting celebrities, although I must admit some fangirl thoughts knowing that Taylor, a six-foot two-inch dreamboat, will be in town. They wouldn’t be my first such thoughts. Hung on the wall of an Old Trail Town cabin, you can see a photo of a youthful, shaggy-haired Robert Redford wearing white bellbottoms while moving the coffin containing the remains of Jeremiah “Liver Eating” Johnston, a mountain main Redford portrayed in the 1972 film. And although I’m not aware of Paul Newman coming to Cody, the real-life Butch Cassidy used to roam through these parts. In fact, during his bank-robbing heyday when he and his gang were accumulating mountains of cash, he promised his friends that he would never rob the Meeteetse Bank so they would have a reliably safe place to stash their cash.
The parade is just one event during the five-day Cody Stampede, which also includes rodeos, races, fairs and live musical performances. This year’s events kick off Fri., June 30 with the Cody/Yellowstone Bull-Riding Event. The fun continues Sat., July 1 through July 4 with four Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA)-sanctioned Stampede Rodeos; a Kiddies Parade July 2; Stampede Parades July 3 and 4; a 5K/10K run/walk July 4 and the three-day Wild West Extravaganza Craft Fair July 2 – 4.
Since Cody’s July 4 celebration is one of the biggest around, we always welcome lots of visitors. But I heard that hotel rooms are already filling fast. I told my friends they’d better hustle if they want a chance to see the sheriff and his deputy make their way Sheridan.
Until next time, I’m dreaming of Aussies and loving life here in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country.