I’ve been talking about the Cody Stampede Rodeo so much this year that I think people are avoiding me. The other day as I headed over to the porch at the Irma Hotel I thought I heard someone yell “Code Red” followed by the distinct sound of several pairs of cowboy boots thumping across the wooden deck. As I turned the corner I found an empty table with half-finished beverages.
Not to be deterred, I tucked a few wayward strands of my red hair behind my ear, walked just inside the side door and waited quietly a few moments. Sure enough, a head popped out of one of the retail shops and a voice called out “All clear.”
At that point I made way to the table and joined my friends who had the telltale look of defeat on their faces. For some reason the phrase “The struggle is real” popped into my brain, but I persisted and decided to share my list of eight things people should know about the Cody Stampede as we celebrate its 100th year.
- The Cody Stampede was spearheaded by Buffalo Bill’s friends to honor his legacy after his 1917 death. A local novelist named Caroline Lockhart led a small group of town leaders in creating a general framework for the event.
- The Cody Stampede helped gain publicity for a new road to the East Gate of Yellowstone National Park that started in Cody and is called the Buffalo Bill Scenic Byway today.
- The Cody Stampede Parade is often led by a famous Grand Marshal, and this year’s parade leader is expected to be announced soon. Grand Marshals have included Chuck Yeager, Wilford Brimley, John Wayne and “Longmire” actors Robert Taylor and Adam Bartley.
- Rodeo tickets can be purchased online now. General admission tickets are $20 on July 1, 2 and 3, and reserved seating tickets on July 4 are $25.
- More than 800 rodeo contestants will be competing for a purse with more than $400,000.
- The Kiddies Parade – scheduled for Tuesday, July 2 at 10 a.m. – is a favorite event among locals and visitors alike. Parade-goers line Sheridan Avenue to watch the youth of the town proudly perform their way down Sheridan Ave., Cody’s main street.
- There are numerous free or moderately priced events including the three-day Wild West Arts Fest beginning July 2, 38th Annual Runners Stampede on July 4 and three days of parades.
- Out-of-towners have a broad choice of lodging with more than 1,600 rooms, but the region’s hotels, inns, ranches and campgrounds can sell out for the event, and travelers are encouraged to book rooms soon.
Now, was that so difficult? I don’t know why my friends were complaining about yet another lesson from me. They’re probably at home sharing these tidbits with their families and pretending they learned about them through their own research.
That’s okay. I don’t care who gets the credit as long as people gain a better understanding of our rich history and culture here in Cody Yellowstone.
Until next week, I am lovin’ life – and plotting my next ambush – in Cody, Wyoming.