Jamie and I have been non-stop since we arrived in Cody, Wyoming. It is always my intent to partake in the activities made famous by each town I travel to while on the rodeo trail. In Cody, Wyoming, there is always something to dive into.
Whether it is the Cody Stampede PRCA Rodeo & Xtreme Bulls you want to see or the parades, river rafting, shopping, museums, hiking or fishing Cody has it.
As soon as we arrived, it was off to book a rafting trip with Wyoming River Trips. The in-laws were with us as they too wanted to witness the Cody Stampede and enjoy the friendly Cody atmosphere. All total, there were 10 eager beavers ready to ride the rapids! We elected to take on the Lower Canyon of the Shoshone River. This 12 mile trip usually takes 2 ½ - 3 hours but thanks to the record levels of moisture this year the water is higher and the currents are faster. Currently it is taking closer to 1 ½ -2 hours to travel the same 12 miles. Faster waters not only equal quicker trips, it means bigger rapids and more excitement!
We all had a great time riding the waves with our guide, Joe. He is was an excellent guide helping us spot over 60 Mule Deer and of course keeping us all in the boat! Our trip was certainly a family bonding experience as we toughed out the cool temperatures, waited out a thunderstorm all in the name of fun.
After drying off, it was time to relax and get ready for the first performance of the Cody Stampede. The Stampede is a huge 4th of July rodeo featuring the best professional cowboys on tour and a $300K purse. With so much on the line, I wanted to be rested and ready to perform at the highest level.
The rodeo started just as another thunderstorm rolled in. It was violent lighting and cold rain. The good news is the storm didn’t last the entire rodeo! Kudos to the Stampede committee for being flexible on the fly as lights, timers and scoreboards all needed power reestablished after losing it momentarily due to the storms. Without missing a beat the rodeo continued.
Bull Riding was the last event. Believe it or not, I had been waiting for this day since I was fourteen years old. It was at that time that professional bullfighter Donny Sparks became my hero; he is the sole reason I wanted to be a bullfighter. Donny has been a superstar at the Cody Stampede for 15 years now and although this will be his last rodeo before he hangs up his cleats, it was the first time we performed together at a professional event. This will always be a highlight in my rodeo career. It would be similar to a young basketball player getting to play with Michael Jordan.
The rodeo went well; thankfully there were no accidents that we couldn’t handle. Thanks to World Champion Wesley Silcox for putting on the best ride of the night…he was 88 points and sits on top of the leader board. There are still three performances left so only time will tell if he is the 2008 Cody champ.
Stay tuned to the Blogging Bullfighter as I plan to tour the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in downtown Cody, Wyoming.