This week will likely bring one of the most joyous road trips ever taken by the Cody Stampede Board of Directors.
Fourteen of the 15 members of the committee that supervise rodeo in the Rodeo Capital of the World, plan to attend the induction of the organization into the Professional Rodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs.
“It’s an unbelievable honor,” said Stampede co-president Mike Darby.
The local rodeo officials received notification of their selection in April. Many felt it was especially special to be selected in 2019, the year when the 100th anniversary of the Stampede was celebrated.
Most of the committee members and spouses will travel together by bus for the festivities, a method of transportation organized by co-president Marc Thompson.
The 560-mile, 8-hour trip begins Aug. 1. There is a Cowboy Ball Aug. 2 and the induction is scheduled at a luncheon Aug. 3.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” Darby said. “Basically, it’s the work of 100 years of committees and the community coming together.”
Others joining the Stampede in the 2019 class are: bucking horse Commotion; stock contractors Elra and Jiggs Beutler; four-time world champion heeler Allen Bach; two-time world champion steer wrestler Dean Gorsuch; world champion bull rider Doug “Droopy” Brown; world champion bareback rider Larry Peabody; contract personnel Tommy Lucia; “notables” Jerome Robinson and Florence Youree and barrel racers Jimmie Munroe, and Sammy Thurman Brackenbury.
“I’m kind of excited about it,” said Jim Facinelli, the dean of board members with 49 years of service.
Facinelli said the Stampede Board sent the Hall of Fame, which is celebrating its own 40th anniversary, such items as T-shirts, buckles and commemorative coins for a Stampede display.
He was also pleased Peabody was chosen.
“He’s one of our Ring of Honor members,” Facinelli said.
“I’m looking forward to it. Everyone tells me it’s quite a deal. It should be a real fun time.”
The timing being the same year as the Stampede hosted its big party observing a century for the rodeo seemed quite appropriate to Facinelli too.
“It couldn’t happen on a better year,” he said. “It’s very fitting the Stampede is recognized.”
Longtime board member Ed Phillips said he realized he did not have proper attire handy for the Cowboy Ball and the like with his one and only sport coat residing at his daughter’s home in Memphis.
So last week he went out and bought a utilitarian black sport coat for the occasion.
“It fits close enough,” Phillips said of the jacket that will not be warm enough for winter. “It’s only a three-month coat.”
Darby said he isn’t completely sure what the Cowboy Ball entails, but he does have some thoughts.
“Can you imagine 14 board members line dancing?” he said.
He said he will most assuredly get a picture of that.