Small Town of Cody, Wyoming Celebrates July 4 in a Big Way
CODY, Wyo., June 14, 2016 — For the 9,500 full-time residents of Cody and thousands of visitors, the Fourth of July is the biggest holiday of the year. So big, in fact, it takes five days to pack in all of the events.
The celebration is called the Cody Stampede, and nearly every event – from the rodeos to the parades – reflects the equestrian heritage of this tiny northwestern Wyoming town. Horses have been a big part of Cody’s heritage ever since Buffalo Bill rode through this region and envisioned a town there. This year is Cody’s 120th anniversary, and it is the 97th annual Cody Stampede.
Events kick off on Thursday, June 30, with the Cody/Yellowstone Bull-Riding Event. Then Friday, July 1 the fun continues 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 a three-day Wild West Extravaganza Craft Fair July 2 – 4. There are also musical performances by regional acts in outdoor venues throughout town.
This year’s theme of the Cody Stampede Parade is “Cody – the Wildest Gateway to Adventure,” reflecting the town’s position as the wildest way into nearby Yellowstone National Park. The parades begin at the renowned Buffalo Bill Center of the West and proceed down the town’s main street, Sheridan Avenue.
“We look forward to the arrival of the July 4th holiday almost as much as a child looks forward to the arrival of Santa,” said Claudia Wade, director of the Park County Travel Council, the tourism marketing arm for the region. “On every corner and in every storefront there are patriotic decorations, and locals and visitors alike gather at the parades, concerts and rodeos to enjoy the biggest and certainly one of the longest running July 4 celebrations in the country.”
The Stampede Parade on the morning of July 4 is especially fun, said Wade. At least three marching bands from around the country are invited to entertain the crowds that line Cody’s main street. This year’s parade grand marshal is Red Steagall, a storyteller who has a weekly radio show called Red Steagall’s Cowboy Corner. Past grand marshals have included John Wayne, Steven Seagal, Chuck Yeager and most recently, Wilford Brimley.
Following the Cody Stampede Rodeo on July 4, Cody caps the annual celebration with the Cody Skylighters Fireworks Show.
Wade advises travelers to plan far ahead if they want to experience the Cody Stampede. The town’s inns, lodges, hotels and guest ranches offer more than 1,600 rooms, and most of those sell out during the Cody Stampede.
Yellowstone Country is comprised of the towns of Cody, Powell and Meeteetse as well as the valley east of Yellowstone National Park.
The area of Park County is called “Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country” because it was the playground of Buffalo Bill Cody himself. Buffalo Bill founded the town of Cody in 1896, and the entire region was driven and is still heavily influenced by the vision of the Colonel. Today its broad streets, world-class museum Buffalo Bill Center of the West and thriving western culture host nearly 1 million visitors annually.
The Park County Travel Council website lists information about vacation packages, special events, guide services, weather and more. Travelers wishing to arrange vacation can also call the Park County Travel Council at 1-800-393-2639 or connect with Cody on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.