This is the Year to Experience the Cody Stampede in Cody/Yellowstone Country. Here’s Why.
CODY, Wyo., January 23, 2018 – The small town of Cody, Wyoming celebrates July 4 with five days of parades, fairs and the four-day Cody Stampede Rodeo, and when the big day falls on a weekend or a Monday or Friday, many of the travelers frequently turn the holiday into a long weekend getaway.
With this year’s Independence Day in the middle of the week, however, the town anticipates fewer short-getaway visitors. That means road trippers taking longer vacations will find more lodging options, better rodeo seats and fewer people watching parades and strolling through the outdoor fairs.
Long-time director of the Park County Travel Council Claudia Wade has observed the pattern for years. “Instead of parade-watchers six deep on the sidewalks, travelers can easily find front-row seats to watch the parades,” said Wade. “While our small town celebrates July 4 in a very big way, when the holiday falls midweek like this year, the atmosphere is typically a little less frenetic than usual.
Park County Travel Council is the marketing arm of the region.
The Cody Stampede events kick off this year with the Cody/Yellowstone Extreme Bulls event on Saturday, June 30. The fun continues Sunday, July 1 through Wednesday, July 4 with four Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA)-sanctioned Stampede Rodeos. Visitors and locals alike overload on cuteness watching the annual Kiddies Parade, this year scheduled for Monday, July 2. Stampede Rodeos are set for Tuesday and Wednesday, July 3 and 4.
There’s also a 5K/10K run/walk on July 4, and the three-day Wild Extravaganza Craft Fair July 2-4. Additionally, visitors will find a variety of musical performances by regional acts 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 Sheridan Avenue, Cody’s main street. The parade’s 2018 grand marshal will be announced soon. Last year’s grand marshals were actors Robert Taylor and Adam Bartley, who play Sheriff Walt Longmire and Deputy Archie “The Ferg” Ferguson in the A&E “Longmire” series. Past grand marshals have included storyteller Red Steagall, John Wayne, Steven Seagal, Chuck Yeager and Wilford Brimley.
The Cody Stampede is marking its 99th year in 2018. The Stampede got its start when a group of local leaders including a lawyer, dude ranch owner, newspaper editor and a publicity-savvy and nationally known female novelist met three years after the death of Buffalo Bill Cody to talk about how to transform the 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 its proximity to two entrances to Yellowstone National Park.
Among the most vocal of those leaders – and the only female present – was Caroline Lockhart, whose best-selling novels in the early 1900s had earned her fame and fortune. Once the group settled on naming the event the Cody Stampede and sketched a general framework, Lockhart took the reins as president. She set about publicizing it in the Park County Enterprise – Buffalo Bill’s newspaper, which was later renamed the Cody Enterprise, and is still in operation today. She also organized fundraisers and invited famous rodeo performers to demonstrate their skills at the nightly rodeos.
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.
Visiting during the Cody Stampede
Even with the fortunate July 4 timing this year, Wade advises travelers to plan soon if they want to experience the Cody Stampede. The town’s inns, lodges, hotels and guest ranches offer more than 1,600 rooms, so visitors will find plenty of lodging choices.
Visitors will find an array of activities to keep them engaged when not enjoying Cody Stampede events. Among them, the Sleeping Giant Ski Area Zip Line, Cody Firearms Experience, Dan Miller’s Cowboy Music Revue, Heart Mountain WW II Interpretive Center, Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Old Trail Town and the Cody Trolley Tour. There are also many outdoor adventures such as hiking, rock climbing fly fishing and whitewater rafting.
Cody/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 called “Cody/Yellowstone Country” 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.
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Mesereau Travel Public Relations