Cody Stampede underway despite coronavirus concerns
In Park County, confirmed cases of the coronavirus have skyrocketed in the last few days. As of Thursday, 49 cases have been reported - that’s up from just 11 a week ago.But the threat of the virus isn’t curbing the enthusiasm of rodeo fans. Mike Darby, co-President of the Cody Stampede Board, says that fans and participants are excited to catch some rodeo action at the 101st annual celebration.
“The town is behind us, and it’s been a great process," he says. "The contestants are ecstatic, they’re thanking us profusely that we’re having a rodeo. Some of the contract personnel are so appreciative, this is the first time they’ve worked since Houston [in early March.”
However, Darby says they are taking as many precautions as they can.
“We’re having COVID checking the cowboys as they come in every morning, everybody has passed," he explains. "We wristband them, temp-check them, log them in, and everybody is so cooperative, it’s been just a great process.”
A big part of the annual Stampede Celebration are the parades - three, to be exact. Leanne Reiter is the chairperson for the Stampede Parade Committee. She says that although very few people wore masks at the parade on July 2nd, they are encouraging families to follow CDC guidelines.
“Regulations say there should be] six feet apart between family groupings, so consider grouping your family up perpendicular to Main Street, put the little guys up front, the older people in the back, and that way we can maximize the access to Main Street," she details. "If you cannot maintain the six feet social distancing between family groups, make sure you bring along a face covering with you.”
The Fourth of July rodeo usually sees a sold out crowd of about five thousand people. This year, they’re only allowed to seat just under three thousand. However, Darby points out that those three thousand tickets for July 4th have already been sold, adding that the opening night events on July 1st saw a crowd of over two thousand people.