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Cody Stampede organizers say they're planning for rodeo

CODY — In a reversal to a statement made by Gov. Mark Gordon on Wednesday and continued Friday morning regarding the state's six biggest rodeos being cancelled, the Cody Stampede Board announced in a press release Friday that it is still trying to hold the 101st Cody Stampede Rodeo and Xtreme Bulls events if the board can get state approval.

"The Rodeo Task Force that worked with the Governor made a decision as a group to cancel major rodeos this summer," Marc Thompson, a Stampede Board member said. "However, our board operates independently from that special task force, and their decisions are not reflective of our position."

The statement appears to take direct shot at Mike Darby, president of the Stampede Board, who was one of the six rodeo heads to work with Gordon on the decision to cancel.

"The Cody Stampede Board has never approved or even voted on any formal positions of the task force, nor has the Cody Stampede made any official Board decision to cancel any of our rodeos," Thompson said. "To the contrary, it remains our goal to host our Cody Nite Rodeo and the Cody Stampede in 2020."

Darby said he found out about the decision to cancel the rodeos last weekend. During Gordon's press conference on Wednesday, a pre-made video was played with each of the rodeo heads - including Darby - issuing a personal statement explaining the decision.

Thompson said a variance request to hold the Cody Nite Rodeo was already rejected once, but another variance request was resubmitted. He made no mention of a variance request being submitted for the Stampede.

CNR and the Stampede are two very different events, drawing vastly different crowd sizes. On a peak, mid-summer night, CNR will draw up to 1,200 spectators. The Stampede and Xtreme Bulls on the other hand, typically garner 5,000 or more people each night of the 5-day event.

It appears miscommunication is still ongoing regarding the cancellation- or lack thereof of the Stampede.

Less than two hours before Gordon's announcement on Wednesday, a Cody Stampede Rodeo administrator posted on Facebook that the Stampede and Xtreme Bulls were still on.

This was eventually taken down, and shortly after that came Gordon's announcement.

The Stampede Rodeo website currently shows conflicting statements about the Stampede being cancelled and still on, with tickets available for purchase on the "admissions" section of the site.

"We have been extremely excited to showcase another top-notch professional rodeo, the first Stampede that we are scheduled to host after being inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in August of 2019," Thompson said.

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