Countdown to the Cody Nite Rodeo
In just a couple of months, the Cody Nite Rodeo Bus will once again be entertaining visitors and locals
alike to Cody’s rodeo grounds for the nightly Cody Nite Rodeo. The longest-running rodeo in the world –
and the only one that is performed every night of the summer season – Cody Nite Rodeo is celebrating
its 80th anniversary this year.
The gates open on June 1 at 7 p.m., and I’ll be one of the first ones in line. I’ve heard some very good
things about the athletic prowess and equestrian skills of the newest crop of cowboys and cowgirls who
will be performing in traditional events like bull riding, team roping and barrel racing. Every night, these
talented athletes compete for substantial award money and the right to compete in future events.
Having never pursued the barrel racing that was so popular among some young women back in my
youth, I’m always gratified to see new generations of who dig into their turns at speeds that make me
dizzy. They, like their male counterparts, are fearless.
Cody Nite Rodeo was started by a former Wild West Show performer whose colorful name, Carly
Darling, seemed somehow fitting for a life of a rodeo professional. He and fellow performers took great
pains – sometimes literally – to showcase the audience-pleasing rough-and- tumble athleticism that also
mesmerized Wild West Show audiences for years.
Showmanship is the name of the game at the Cody Nite Rodeo, and everyone from the bullfighters to
the flag-bearers takes great pride in their performances. Many of the four-legged performers are equally
dedicated. One of the most famous bucking broncos to ever perform was a saddle horse named “Come
Apart.” He was both feared by riders and adored by audiences because his unpredictable bucking
patterns made it extraordinarily difficult to stay in the saddle for long.
Visitors from around the world place the Cody Nite Rodeo on their “must-do” vacation lists, and the
event is frequently visitors’ very first rodeo experience. It’s the reason our little town of Cody, year-
round population of only 10,000, has earned the unchallenged designation as the “Rodeo Capital of the
Until next time, I’m readying for the rodeo and loving life here in Cody Yellowstone Country.