Ready for rodeo season | Sports

If the hotels, motels and Airbnbs booked are any indication of the expected crowd size at Stampede Park this year for the rodeo, things seem to be going well.

But the number of those taking part in the arena may be an even greater indication of the excitement of the coming months.

“It looks like this year our competitor numbers are going to be really good,” said inventory entrepreneur Maury Tate. “If half of them who say they’re coming show up, it’s going to be a really good summer.”

The Cody Nite Rodeo, the world’s longest and only nighttime rodeo, kicks off Wednesday night. This season it will feature traditional performances and events, as well as additional clinics and the possible return of one of the greats.

“We’ve expanded our schools quite a bit,” Tate said. “We’ve increased the number of coaches and instructors and are running tie-down, breakaway and team roping clinics.”

For one week in June and one week in July, an instructor will be brought in for all events at the same time.

Legendary barrel and clown Sid McFarland will return for a few weeks this summer to entertain the crowd with his comedic styles, something the former Cody resident has been doing for about 40 years.

Local Zack “Cookie” Cook will also be seen clowning around in the arena and is expected to send the crowd home with something to talk about.

“We have a great advertiser who we are thrilled with,” Tate said. “Colter Ellis grew up and went to high school here and now goes to school in Texas. He does a great job of announcing.

After a devastating injury last year, another local icon could return to the rodeo.

“Dusty Tuckness could step into the arena and fight,” Tate said. “It will be cool for all the kids to see, probably the greatest bullfighter who ever fought bulls for them.”

Big Horn Radio Night (Park County Night) will help kick off the summer in style with a country music concert featuring Nashville recording artist Eli Mosley on Saturday, June 4. The evening will begin with special guest Daniel Kosel & Madrona Road from 5:30 p.m.

After the concerts are over, the Cody Nite Rodeo will kick off around 8 p.m., and after a short intermission, fans can see why Cody is widely considered the rodeo capital of the world.

“It’s the only place in the world where a kid can come every night with the instructors here to help them succeed,” Tate said.

This year alone, the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas featured three bareback riders, two bronc saddle riders, two bull riders, a bullfighter and a pickup that made their Cody Rodeo debut.

“There have been great things done around the arena and there are great plans for other things,” Tate said. “It’s an exciting time to be here.”

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