Cowboy Christmas..Red White & Blue Style!

This week kicks off the the richest two weeks in Pro Rodeo across the USA & Canada. Yesterday, we featured rodeos in Western Canada. Today, we throw the spotlight on the biggest rodeos across the United States....Cowboy Christmas..Red White & Blue Style.  Hope you can either you can visit one these iconic rodeos or attend one in your hometown.

The Wildest, Biggest & Richest Rodeo in the West... The Reno Rodeo wraps up this weekend.  The 96th Edition of the Reno Rodeo hands out over $475,000. in prize money to the top cowboys and cowboys in Pro Rodeo.  Since 1976, Rodeo Hall of Fame Announcer Bob Tallman has been at the mic and is joined again this year by NFR Announcer Wayne Brooks.  The Reno Rodeo as Bob says, is one to put on your bucket list.

Bob Tallman at Reno Rodeo in the 1970's

Check out the Reno Rodeo Facebook, Twitter Pages & RenoRodeo.com for more information.

Also this weekend Colorado's Legendary Greeley Stampede kicks off for another year of rodeo, Xtreme Bull Riding & Concerts. 

The Greeley Stampede is rich in tradition and heritage dating back to the late 1800's. This community celebration that was started to honor local potato farmers, has grown into an internationally acclaimed festival attracting over 250,000 people annually from the United States and internationally.

 

Officially christened the Greeley Spud Rodeo in 1922, the event featured bucking bronc riding, fancy roping, a pie eating contest, a horse race, motorcycle and bicycle races and a two-mile Model-T Ford "free for all" race. Estimated attendance in that first official festival was 2,500 people.

In an effort to give the event some national recognition the Greeley Spud Rodeo era ended and, thus, began the age of the "Go West with Greeley" Rodeo. The name taken from the famous phrase by the city's name sake, Horace Greeley, who said "Go west young man. Go west."

The Greeley Independence Stampede entitlement came in 1972 by means of a community contest and featured: Pro Rodeos; kids rodeo; country and classic rock concerts; televised July 4th parade, a demolition derby, carnival midway, western art show, free stage entertainment, mixed with food and fun galore!

The Greeley Stampede kicked off June 25th and runs through July 3rd with daily rodeo performances and concerts including The Band Perry, Ronnie Milsap, Kenny Rogers, Joe Nichols, Sawyer Brown & Joe Nichols.  For more information check out their Facebook & Twitter Pages & GreeleyStampede.com

The little town of St Paul, Oregon located down the road from Portland hosts one of the biggest 4th of July Rodeos on the planet. 

 

Eighty years ago, a group of local farmers and businessmen put their heads together to organize a rough and tumble Fourth of July celebration, and they put the word out that there was fun to be had and money to be won at the City Park in St. Paul Oregon. That first year fifty cowboys competed for a grand total of $500.

From that humble beginning, the St. Paul Rodeo has become one of this nation's top rodeos with prize monies approaching $500,000, nearly a thousand competitors, and was designated as a Wrangler Million Dollar Tour Rodeo making it one of an elite group of eight rodeos attracting the top competitors in the world.There’s no doubt that St. Paul knows how to “do” rodeo. This celebration includes the roughest, toughest contests between men and animals and underscores the grit and fortitude of those folks we know as cowboys and cowgirls.

Mark your calendars now and join the fun at the 80th Annual St. Paul Rodeo July 1 – 4, 2015.  Visit them on Facebook, Twitter & stpaulrodeo.com

 

The Town of Cody Wyoming bills itself as The Rodeo Capital of the World with its Summer long Cody Nite Rodeo and  in 2015 for the 96th Year,  the Buffalo Bill Cody Stampede which runs from June 30th to July 4th.

  From the turn of the century, rodeos and parades have been part of the 4th of July in Cody, Wyoming.  For 96 years, starting officially in 1919, the Cody Stampede rodeo has been held every summer.  This year marks the 77th anniversary of the nightly performances.  These two events establish Cody as not only one of the longest running successful professional rodeos, but also the only place in the country that has a rodeo performance nightly.  The Professional Rodeo Cowboy's Association named the Cody Stampede "Best Large Outdoor Rodeo of the Year" in 1998 & 1999.  In 2001 the Cody Nite Rodeo was nominated for "Best Small Outdoor Rodeo of the Year."

 

  With  two distinct rodeos, the Cody Nite Rodeo every night from June 1st - August 31st, and the Cody Stampede July 1st - 4th,  continues to make its  mark in the rodeo world.  Rodeo's history in Cody started over one hundred years ago with Buffalo Bill and his Wild West Show.  Buffalo Bill was quick to recognize the fascination the public had for the Wild West and the need to preserve a part of what was soon to become civilized.  Tryouts for the Wild West Show were held right behind the Irma in what is now the parking lot.  Theses rodeos, tryouts and parades were common although the Wild West show itself was never formally held in Cody. 

 

 In 1913 Buffalo Bill closed his Wild West Show for the last time.  That summer he hosted one last parade and rodeo in Cody for the prince of Monaco.  Buffalo Bill passed away in 1917, ending a fascinating chapter in the story of the American West.  In 1919 Clarence Williams spear headed the effort to establish a rodeo celebration to Cody to commemorate Buffalo Bill Cody and the "Old West" he personified.  Williams timed the event to coincide with the day the East Gate opened into Yellowstone Park running from June 23 to June 25, 1919.  The following year, with Caroline Lockhart as president, the Cody Stampede was moved to the 4th of July.  After the parade and rodeo, dancing and gambling were a part of the celebration at night in the Wolfville Hall.  

   In 1938, Carly Downing a former Wild West show performer, started the Cody Nite Rodeo, or Pup rodeo, as it was called then.

   The Nite Rodeo quickly became an important part of the Stampede and the Cody community.  It provided income for the Stampede and brought cowboys from all over the country to compete and show the "Wild West" to travelers all summer long.  Many of the rodeos top bucking stock and famous cowboys come from Cody Rodeo.  "Come Apart", a Wyoming saddle horse decided he liked to buck and went on to be one of the best of his time.  Famous Freckles Brown and Cody's Mel Stonehouse started riding at the Nite rodeo in 1938.  Freckles went on to be 1962 world champion bull rider and Mel was a top competitor in all three riding events in the 30's & 40's.  Cody's tradition to produce World Champions has continued with such names from all over the country as Jim Houston, Chris LeDoux, Tom Ferguson, Deb Greenough, and Dan Mortensen.  Cody's own World Champions and Pro Rodeo Hall of Famer's include Bill Smith, Mel Stonehouse, Cecil McMillian, Nick Knight, Floyd Stillings, John Kirkpatrick, Normal Price and Arthur Holman.  Cody is, and always will be, Rodeo!

For more information check out CodyStampede.com and connect on Facebook & Twitter too.

 

The World's Oldest Rodeo is held in Prescott Arizona with the Annual Frontier days Celebration being held this year from June 29 to July 5th.

July 4, 1888, became the birthday of professional rodeo when a group of Prescott, Arizona, merchants and professional businessmen organized the first formalized "cowboy tournament" and offered cash prizes. A cowboy named Juan Leivas walked off with rodeo's first professional title and was documented in the subsequent edition of the Arizona Journal-Miner. These "Cowboy Contests" continued and were planned, promoted and carried out by a committee of local merchants. From then on, rodeo has grown into a multimillion dollar enterprise with more than 700 professional rodeos in 50 states.

The 1960s saw the transition of rodeo production change hands until 1968 when the Prescott Jaycees took control. The Jaycees made many changes, perhaps the most important being to hire a stock contractor named Harry Vold in 1972. Vold continues to furnish some of the best stock available today to Prescott's Frontier Days Rodeo, attracting top cowboys to compete on top stock. That same year, the Hollywood movie, 'Junior Bonner' with Steve McQueen was filmed around the actual rodeo and parade and thrust the Prescott Rodeo into the national and world-wide spotlight.

In July of 2008, the Prescott Frontier Days®, Inc Committee was inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Colorado as one of only sixteen rodeos ever to have this honor bestowed upon them. Prescott Frontier Days®, Inc., is an organization of people of all ages from the Prescott area. They give their time and talents, as volunteers, to put on a number of events each year.

 

Head to WorldOldestRodeo.com and Facebook & Twitter for more information.

 

 

When the chutes open this July 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in Red Lodge, Montana, it will be to celebrate 85 years of Red Lodge Rodeo! This year promises to be an outstanding event with the world's best cowboys and cowgirls competing. Cowboys will be competing on stock provided by Brookman Rodeo Company, our Rodeo Clown Bert Davis and bullfighter Al Sandvold will entertain the crowds and Doug Mathis from Texas will keep everyone informed from the announcer's booth.

 

 The Red Lodge Rodeo dates back to the late 1890's with local cowboys getting together on a Sunday afternoon at the railroad stockyards to ride exhibition broncos. In 1929, a group of local cowboys built an arena, gathered up some wild horses, charged admission and contested the rides. In 1930, wth the success of the rodeo the year before, the Red Lodge Rodeo Association was formed. In 1932, the Association acquired 180 acres of land and they went to work building a new arena and grandstand at its present location. In 1954, after local cowboy Bill Linderman won his third World All Around Champion Title, the name"HOME OF CHAMPIONS" was adopted. PURCHASE TICKETS ONLINE! or visit RedLodgeRodeo.com

 

At the tail end of Cowboy Christmas is the Sheridan WYO Rodeo which is another classic must attend rodeo. The WYO Rodeo is held this year from from July 8th to the 11th.

 

In 1931, the small town of Sheridan, Wyoming, was so quiet you could “shoot a shotgun down Main Street and have no fear of injuring anyone.” A group of local citizens wanted to do something about the situation and decided to put on a rodeo. They set their sights high and organized a first class professional rodeo on a par with other professional rodeos like the Cheyenne Frontier Days in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

The committee started out from ground zero and had a huge challenge. Not only did the rodeo committee have to organize the rodeo from scratch, they had also to prepare the county fairgrounds facility that lacked the necessary amenities for a large professional rodeo. They sold capital stock to finance construction of additional seating, corrals, pens and bucking chutes among other things. To publicize the event, E. W. Bill Gollings was commissioned to paint a picture for the first Sheridan-Wyo-Rodeo poster. The entire community and downtown merchants helped support the efforts of the rodeo committee to ensure the success of the first Sheridan-Wyo-Rodeo.

The first rodeo was a great success. The $15,000 purse brought professional rodeo contestants from all over the United States. A rodeo parade on Main Street drew thousands of spectators, and a carnival at the fairgrounds and participation of hundreds of Indians in night shows provided even more entertainment. The Sheridan-Wyo-Rodeo was well established.

From 1932 to 1941 the Sheridan-Wyo-Rodeo committee managed to stage a first class professional rodeo. It was not always easy. Frequent financial problems and public apathy often put the show in jeopardy.

One year, 1933, the night show had to be cancelled for financial reasons. In the latter part of the decade, the committee was forced to find individuals in the community who were willing to underwrite the rodeo. But during this period, the rodeo committee still managed to make many facility improvements including a new grandstand in 1936. Other significant events occurred during this period; for instance, the Crow and Cheyenne Indian tribes smoked a pipe of peace in 1932 as part of the night show and the first Sheridan-Wyo-Rodeo Queen was selected in 1936.

Because of wartime conditions, the rodeo board found it impossible to conduct the Sheridan-Wyo-Rodeo in 1942 and 1943. But in 1944 the rodeo was reactivated with a number of changes. It was renamed the Bots Sots Stampede to invoke the memory of a series of rodeos in 1914-1916 called the Sheridan Stampede. Bots Sots is the Crow Indian term for “very good” and the term was used to advertise the Sheridan Stampedes of old. While there was still an Indian presence at the rodeo, large Indian pageants were replaced by vaudevillian night shows. The rodeo queen program was also reactivated and the rodeo parade and carnivals remained part of the program. The rodeo changed from professional status and was intended to be a “working cowboy” local rodeo, but contestant’s still entered from outside the local area.

In later years, much of the success of the Sheridan-Wyo-Rodeo can be attributed to Sankey Pro Rodeo, the Sheridan-Wyo-Rodeo stock contractor since 1994. Ike and Roberta Sankey the owners, insure that the rodeo has the best livestock available and provide professional performance management that guarantees each Sheridan-Wyo-Rodeo performance is top of the line rodeo action.

After eighty years of evolution, the Sheridan-Wyo-Rodeo is today one of the premier Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and Woman’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) rodeos in America. I The Sheridan-Wyo-Rodeo prize money to contestants consistently ranks the rodeo in the top tier of over 600 PRCA rodeos that pay out over thirty million dollars each year.

Rodeo athletes, both human and animal, will perform in four action packed rodeo performances, July 8th through the 11th, highlighted by the ever popular World Championship Indian Relay Races!

 

Make Sure You Celebrate America's Birthday and Our Western Heritage by  attending a Pro Rodeo during Cowboy Christmas.  And come back to RodeoCountryRadio for more stories from the Cowboy Courier and our Special Editions Covering The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth...The Calgary Stampede!!