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The Sheridan WYO Rodeo celebrates its 93rd year & introduces some new events

Sheridan WYO Rodeo
Sheridan WYO Rodeo

The Sheridan WYO Rodeo kicks off on July 12. This year the rodeo is trying to get the public more involved through a new program that aims to get the public more involved, in addition to new youth events.

“We have this thing called Rodeo 101,” said Zane Garstad, executive director of the Sheridan WYO Rodeo. “[It] is a short tutorial on explaining the event, where it came from, what the rules are, how it's judged, how it's timed, and some of the basic rules, and so that's going to help maybe the more amateur rodeo fan or rodeo enthusiast understand the event more and again, enhance their experience watching that particular event.”

This will also include contestant interviews where former rodeo royalty interview contestants about their performances and their experiences at the Sheridan rodeo.

Besides trying to get the public more involved in the behind the scenes of the rodeo, the rodeo also wants to get kids between six and 14 to get involved in the rodeo itself.

“We also decided that we wanted to include some youth events into the rodeo performance [as] more and more rodeos are doing that, and it's really apparent to all of us,” he said. “In almost every field that you go into or every sport there's got to be a development program for young people to get involved with that [and that] can then hone their skills and then become professional athletes.”

Those youth activities include steer, bronc, and bull riding as well as barrel racing to introduce these rodeo events to younger generations. Participants are selected by a steer riders organization as well as a Sheridan-based one.

“We'll have two of those kids ride each night and then at the conclusion of the barrel race, we will have two youth barrel racers that will run, and they come from a series that we have here in Sheridan called The Family Fun Equine Series, which was created by Gary and Sara Mefford,” Garstad said. “They've done just a fantastic job of developing the younger group or younger kids here in our area.”

Around 854 contestants are competing this year. The total payout for contestants is in the mid six-figure range. The Indian Relay races, which Garstad said are always a crowd favorite, will see a boost in prize money, with a total of about $186,000. The first place team in the World Championship Indian Relay will receive $19,500.

“That's been a real feather in our cap. We're still attracting the top athletes, we’[ve added] $17,000 per event, and that's for all the events, including the women's breakaway, and then we double the money in the team roping as well,” he said. “Our total payout for the year, probably by the time we're all done, it's going to be in the $450,[000] to $460,000 range, which is, which is really something good for a small town like, like Sheridan, Wyoming.”

The rodeo runs from July 12-15. Garstad said ticket sales have been strong with the Friday and Saturday evening performances having sold out. However, tickets are still available for Wednesday and Thursday night’s performances.

Hugh Cook is Wyoming Public Radio's Northeast Reporter, based in Gillette. A fourth-generation Northeast Wyoming native, Hugh joined Wyoming Public Media in October 2021 after studying and working abroad and in Washington, D.C. for the late Senator Mike Enzi.
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