In a place affectionately referred to as the Cowboy State, it’s likely no surprise that rodeo is Wyoming’s state sport. From Wrangler-clad residents to the iconic Steamboat (a bucking bronc from Wheatland who was unrideable for nearly 10 years) appearing on Wyoming’s state license plates, rodeo is firmly engrained in the heart of Wyoming.
Almost every town, big or small, hosts a rodeo throughout the summer where locals and visitors gather to watch amateur and professional rodeo athletes compete in their chosen sport. While Wyoming’s big-name rodeos include Cheyenne Frontier Days, Cody Nite Rodeo and Sheridan WYO Rodeo, travelers will also find rodeos in Ten Sleep, Saratoga, Thermopolis, Gillette, and Sheridan, as well as many other towns.Wyoming also hosts the High School Finals Rodeo and College National Finals Rodeo.
Read more about the rodeos you need to attend in Wyoming.
When attending a local Wyoming rodeo, keep your eyes open for the members of Team Wyoming as they compete in events throughout the state.
Cody Stampede Rodeo
Learn the Lingo
A bullfighter is not the same as a rodeo clown. The top among professional athletes, bullfighters are responsible for protecting bull riders from bulls in the arena and oftentimes put their quickness, flexibility, and athleticism on display as they face down 2,000-pound bulls.
Rodeos typically consist of seven main events, including bareback riding, tie-down roping, team roping, bull riding, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding and barrel racing.
Eight seconds is the time that bull riders, saddle bronc riders, and bareback riders need to stay on their horse or bull to be given a scored ride.
A pickup man is a cowboy on horseback in the arena who picks up saddle bronc and bareback riders after they’ve completed their eight-second ride.
A “spinner” is a bull that circles around, spinning and whipping the rider in a flurry. More points are awarded for successful rides on “spinners” that go both left and right.
Dress the Part
You’ll find plenty of western stores in Wyoming that will be happy to outfit you with authentic western wear. Local favorites include The Wrangler in downtown Cheyenne, Lou Talberts in Casper, King Ropes in Sheridan and The Cowboy Place in Cody. Closed-toed shoes are also recommended (boots are even better), as rodeo grounds tend to get a little dusty. Go here for more on what to wear to a Wyoming Rodeo.