Three months ago, no one was sure it was going to happen. So when the announcement that Cody Nite Rodeo was on for its 82nd year came, stock contractor Maury Tate had to scramble to get everything in place.
“We usually have a couple of weeks of prep time,” he said in June. In just three days, he got it up and running.
On Saturday night, after the last bull rider of the Cody Nite Rodeo Finals went and fans filed out of the arena, a steady stream of people came to shake Tate’s hand and congratulate him on a successful season.
“The whole town got behind us this summer,” Tate said. “The thing of it is, we’re all in this together – the city, the people, the contestants. Without them telling people to go to the Nite Rodeo our attendance wouldn’t be as good.”
Attendance was down this year, around half to two-thirds of what it usually is, Stampede Board President Mike Darby said. Even with the number of fans lower than in years past, Darby thinks the rodeo will be in good shape for next year.
“We did some cost-cutting, cut out a few things we normally did, reworked some agreements with our contractors, and at the end of the day I think we put a quality product in the arena,” he said.
The showrunners never knew what each day would bring, or if they would get the call that they had to shut down. The pandemic never touched Stampede Park though.
“There’s no handbook for this, no guidelines, nothing,” Darby said. “I’m so amazed at how everyone came together... We learned more about putting on rodeo this year than we had in years.”
It’s a bittersweet moment for Tate as it is at the end of every season, but he knows that the cowboys and cowgirls he’s seen come through this summer are going to do great things.
“Eli (Hershberger) and Joe (Priebe), I know the future they have in front of them. I don’t know if they’ve realized it yet,” Tate said. “We know what they’re going to do and what they’re capable of doing. To sit and watch them do that, knowing they got their start here and that you were a part of that, that’s a great feeling.”
All-around cowboy: Britt Givens
All-around cowgirl: Shawnee Sherwood
Bareback riding: Trent Tuten
Tie-down roping: Britt Givens
Breakaway roping: Kera Lamb
Saddle bronc riding: Joe Priebe
Junior steers: Garrett Linebaugh, Nolan Monfeldt, Jase LeJune, Kasen Asay, Wyatt Blank
Mini bulls: Kyle Cheney
Team roping - header: Lyndon Acord
Team roping - heeler: Clay Elkington
Barrel racing: Laurie Johnson
Jurnior barrels: Anne Aguirre, Hanna Wood, Caslyn Cooper, Cailyn Cooper, Latelee Sheeley
Bull riding: Jaysen Lowden