Sundance Times - Continuing the Crook County News Since 1884

By CJ Baker
Powell Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange 

Cody Stampede moving forward with four days of rodeos

Xtreme Bulls canceled


June 11, 2020

POWELL — The Cody Stampede Rodeo is officially a go. Leaders of the annual event say they’re moving forward with four full rodeos, which will be held July 1-4. 

“As always, our goal is to showcase the best rodeo possible over our Independence Day celebration,” Cody Stampede Board leaders announced Friday, promising that each performance “will feature some of the very best in the business” and a new women’s breakaway roping event. 

Exactly how many people will be allowed into the arena is subject to change, but under the current rules, up to 600 spectators per night can enter. 

The number of available tickets will be limited to whatever cap is imposed by the Wyoming Department of Health, which could adjust the limits up or down between now and the event, depending on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Our decision has considered, first and foremost, the health and safety of our guests, workers and contestants,” the board said. “It is our intent to comply with the health orders issued by the Wyoming Department of Health and the COVID-19 policies set forth by the PRCA.” 

Meanwhile, the Xtreme Bulls and Bullfighters Only event — originally set for June 30 — has been canceled. That’s due to financial considerations stemming in part from fewer fans being allowed in the stands, the board said. 

“We had to make some adjustments to our format and reduce some of our costs and contestant-added money,” the board explained. 

Friday’s announcement ended weeks of uncertainty about the plans for the Stampede. 

On May 27, while standing alongside Cody Stampede Board President Mike Darby, Gov. Mark Gordon announced that the Stampede and five other large rodeos around the state had been canceled amid various public health and financial concerns related to COVID-19. 

However, on May 29, the Stampede board said it had canceled nothing and intended to try moving forward with Cody’s marquee summer rodeo. 

However, the state’s public health orders aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 have presented challenges. The current orders, which run through at least June 15, allow up to 250 people to gather outdoors for events like rodeos — significantly fewer than the crowds typically seen at the nightly Cody Nite Rodeo and significantly fewer than the thousands of spectators who attend the PRCA-sanctioned Stampede. 

The Stampede board initially requested an exception to allow up to 750 people into the arena (15% of its capacity) for the Cody Nite Rodeo, which is set to start on Saturday, June 20. 

State Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist said she would “consider” allowing that many spectators starting on June 15, but the Stampede board described that as a denial. 

The board then submitted a new request for up to 600 people, which Harrist approved. 

Board member Marc Thompson had said the board planned to submit a separate exception request for the Stampede last week — presumably to allow larger crowds for the bigger event — but the status of that request was not addressed in the board’s Friday statement. 

As of Monday, Dr. Harrist had not received a specific exception request for the Stampede rodeo, according to a spokeswoman for the Wyoming Department of Health. 

“Making plans to hold our 101st Annual Stampede Rodeo has been an ongoing and complicated process,” the Stampede board said in its Friday statement. “Our Board has been meeting for months trying to assess the best available options for producing a professional rodeo under the change in circumstances created.” 

Tickets for the Stampede will go on sale on Monday. 

In the rodeo lineup are seven-time Clown/Barrelman of the Year Justin Rumford, 10-time PRCA Bullfighter of the Year Dusty Tuckness, Stock Contractor of the Year Frontier Rodeo, four-time Announcer of the Year Boyd Polhamus and specialty act Haley Proctor. 

“We appreciate the support and understanding of the community regarding the limited event access this year, which is necessary due to the health orders issued by the State of Wyoming,” the board said. “Thank you for your patience and understanding.”


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