It’s fitting that Tate’s reintroduction to Cody was just the same as it had been in past years.
“It seems like every year when we pull into town it’s cold and rainy,” said Maury Tate. “It was the same.”
He heads the Mo’ Betta Rodeo Company, the stock contractor for the Cody Nite Rodeo. Just like the return trip to the Rodeo Capital of the World, the CNR will look much like it used to after the pandemic disrupted things last summer when it opens on Tuesday.
The rodeo is bringing back free face painting by the resident clown. The mascot, Cody the Kid, will be getting more face time with residents and visitors alike downtown (and will have some special gifts to give away).
In the arena itself, Mo’ Betta has done away with contestant limits and brought back slack. The crowd favorite calf scramble is also making a return. More contestants are good for business and for the crowd, and the company is expecting a banner year for entrants to the rodeo, Tate said.
“My phone is ringing off the hook,” said Nikki Tate, who manages the contestant entries. “I have a feeling we’re going to be overrun with contestants. We’re back to normal. We’re doing slack after the rodeo so we’re not turning anyone away.”
Park County Nite is Saturday and resident tickets are just $10. Before the rodeo gets started that night, Tris Munsick and the Innocents will play a concert in the arena at 6 p.m., with the rodeo to follow at its usual 8 p.m. start time.
“I’m anxious for Park County Nite because I think people have been cooped up for a long time after last year and it seems things now are opening,” Maury Tate said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we have a big crowd on Park County Nite. You’re always excited about that. These kids never get to compete at a place where there’s 3,000 people or at an arena this size.”
It wouldn’t be a rodeo without a little clowning around, and this year, legendary barrel man Sid McFarland will open as the nightly funny man for the first two weeks of the summer show. The 70-year-old McFarland has been clowning for more than 40 years and makes his return to clowning in Cody for the first time in three years.
The rodeo has also expanded its summer rodeo school offerings. The free five-day clinics cover rough stock and roping and will be held around the area. The clinics are being held every week from the start of June to the end of July. Watching the growth of students in the clinics is one of Maury’s favorite parts of Nite Rodeo.
“It’s about seeing kids reach their potential and seeing them improve and get better and go other places and win and get scholarships,” he said. “There’s no telling how many kids come through here that have gotten scholarships and went on and got their education paid for.”
If you go
What: Cody Nite Rodeo
When: Every night from June to August. Gates open at 7 p.m., the rodeo starts at
Where: Stampede Park
Cost: Adults $23, Children 7-12 $11.50, Children 6 and under, free; Park County Nite, $10