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The Ten Best Small Town Rodeos in Montana & Wyoming

TIME : 2016/2/16 15:51:13
A rider being bucked off the back of a horse at the Cody Nite Rodeo.

At the Cody Nite Rodeo in Cody, Wyoming. Photo © CGP Grey, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

With more than 100 annual events between May and November, it’s hard to drive through Montana and Wyoming without running into a rodeo. Sit on a sun-baked wooden bench with a beer in one hand and a bag of popcorn in the other in a small town like Livingston, Montana, or Ten Sleep, Wyoming, and enjoy the show.


Miles City Bucking Horse Sale (third full weekend in May)

Since 1914, the country’s best bucking stock have been showcased at this world-famous event in Miles City. The party atmosphere follows the crowds from the rodeo into town and every bar throughout the long weekend for concerts, street dances, and a small-town parade. For horses, bulls, and riders, this is the event to get noticed.

Gardiner Rodeo (Father’s Day weekend)

Just outside Yellowstone’s north entrance, in the shadow of Electric Peak, the annual rodeo in tiny Gardiner includes all the standards—bull riding, saddle bronc riding, bareback bronc riding, steer wrestling, barrel racing, and breakaway roping—with a timeless small-town charm.

Augusta American Legion Rodeo and Parade (last Sunday in June)

Held in the hamlet of Augusta, at the edge of the spectacular Rocky Mountain Front, this is one of the biggest and oldest one-day rodeos in the state. The town throws its biggest party of the year with rodeo action, a barbecue, a street dance, and even an art show.

Livingston Roundup (July 2-4)

Offering the 10th-highest purse in the United States over the Fourth of July weekend, this festive event puts Livingston on the map with big-name rodeo action, a popular parade, nightly fireworks, and more than 10,000 spectators that flood this riverfront community.

Wolf Point Wild Horse Stampede (second weekend in July)

Montana’s oldest rodeo, the Wild Horse Stampede in Wolf Point, on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, is a three-day event that includes professional rodeo, daily parades and a carnival, the famous wild horse race street dances, and a kids’ stick-horse rodeo.


Thermopolis Cowboy Rendezvous (weekend after Father’s Day)

From tailgate parties and a Western dance to a pancake breakfast and parade, the small-town rodeo in Thermopolis ushers in the pro rodeo circuit for the Big Horn Basin with plenty of action and family fun.

Buffalo Bill Cody Stampede (July 1-4)

With all the showmanship one would expect from a town named after Buffalo Bill Cody, this professional rodeo lets the town shine with all of the classic events including bareback riding, roping, steer wrestling, barrel racing, saddle bronc, and bull riding. The rest of the summer, visitors can get a true sense of small-town rodeo at the Cody Nite Rodeo.

Ten Sleep Fourth of July Rodeo (two days over the Fourth of July)

With a rodeo history that dates back to 1903 and includes some of the biggest names in the sport, Ten Sleep boasts rodeo action throughout summer. Special events at the annual Fourth of July shindig include a Pony Express Ride from nearby Hyattville, Main Street parade, old-fashioned rodeo, fireworks, and a sometimes-bloody wild horse race.

Sheridan WYO Rodeo (usually the second week in July)

This is the biggest week of the year for Sheridan. There is a golf tournament, art show, rodeo royalty pageant, carnival, Indian relay races, parade, and street dance on top of four nights of pro-rodeo action.

Platte River Rodeo Association Rodeo (second full weekend in July)

Located at the arena in Saratoga, this smalltown gem features amateur rodeo and plenty of kid’s events ranging from goat dressing and mutton bustin’ to steer riding.

Excerpted from the Second Edition of Moon Montana & Wyoming.