Parade time is rapidly approaching in Cody. Both locals and visitors who turn out for the Stampede and Kiddie parades will have the chance to see plenty of community floats.
Many of this year’s floats may boast animals. From Skillet to Mongo to National Forest Service mules, there will be plenty of stock on hand if weather allows.
The kiddie parade starts at 10 a.m. Tuesday. The Stampede Parade starts 9:30 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday.
This year will feature numerous community organizations, as well as a large display of floats from the Stampede board.
The first 17 entrants in the lineup make up the stampede exhibit. Jim Facinelli, a Stampede Board member and liaison to the parade committee, said the floats try and capture 100 years of rodeo history.
Among the floats are the legends of rodeo, three horse hitches and an actor portraying Buffalo Bill. Other dignitaries like former rodeo queens and stampede board members, past and present, will also be on floats. Mongo the rodeo bull may also make an appearance if weather allows.
Organizers are also expecting a large turnout from area businesses and organizations. One returning parade participant is the Shoshone National Forest’s pack string. The animals that are led in the parade are the handpicked best of the roughly 90 horses and mules that work in the forest.
They are still the best way to get supplies to isolated areas.
“We use them for trail work, doing inspections and checking range allotments,” said public affairs officer Kristie Salzmann.
Eight to 10 mules will be in the string, with one horse leading, another following, and two outriders on either side. District ranger Sue Stresser is planning to ride with the string.
The pack herd had a busy start to 2019, with a new addition; the Pike-San Isabelle pack string. The mules were transferred to the Shoshone Forest after running into problems at their home base. The Shoshone string also recently had the chance to visit Ottowa National Forest in Michigan to aid personnel there with a trail project.
The USFS mules have been appearing in the stampede for several decades, a reminder of the past and present of forestry in the region. A fire crew, engine and Smokey Bear will also appear in the parade.
One new entrant in the parade this year will be the Park County Animal Shelter.
“We hadn’t done a float for 10 or 15 years,” board member Andy Whiteman said.
But with the shelter’s ongoing capital campaign and the hundredth year of stampede action, the board decided to make a return to the parade.
“We decided on the theme ‘cats rule,’” Whiteman said
In a nod to the old-west themes of the parade, planners at the shelter decided to construct “Cattie’s Cat House,” a wood saloon building on a trailer, adorned with stuffed cats and dogs, as well as streamers and other Independence Day decorations
The float has been undergoing construction since the beginning of June, with board member Bob Grossman putting time into the construction of the building itself.
The effort was aided by donations from the community. Bargain Box donated stuffed animals for the float. A large number of stuffed critters were also given by the public. The wood for the building was donated by Builders FirstSource and Midwest Fence.
It won’t just be stuffed animals on the float either. Skillet, the shelter’s long-term resident and mascot, will be along for the ride, as well as adoptable dogs being walked behind the float if the weather allows.
Sleeping Giant zip line and ski area will also have a float in the parade. Last year, they won first place in the decorated floats category and judge’s choice.
“Sleeping Giant really tries to be an anchor in the community,” said Nick Gallagher, a board member for the Yellowstone Recreations Foundation. “Doing the parade is an opportunity to give back to the community and say we’re proud to be a part of it.”
The recreation committee is planning to put together a variation on the zip-line-themed float from last year. The float hasn’t been built yet, but will be read for the parade.
“It’s pretty fun to work on,” Gallagher said. “It’s definitely a team effort.”
As for other floats, Karen Lozier, a member of the parade board, said there’s no way to tell for sure how many will register by the deadline, or what the participants will cook up.
The final deadline for registration is Friday at 5 p.m. Application for entries can be printed off from the stampede rodeo committee’s website at codystampederodeo.com/p/getconnected/parades.