Last week the numbers for The 2013 Wyo-Rodeo were announced. This year ticket sales reached 19,354 (last year it was 18,587). This year the contestants received $292,417 in prize money (last year the figure was $279,374). These are pretty awesome numbers, the best in the 83-year history of the Wyo.
The attendance and payout figures reflect that the Wyo-Rodeo is a pretty good show and people want to come and see it and the best contestants want to be part of it. A great example is Trevor Brazile who completed his “Sheridan Slam” this year. For the fourth year in a row, Trevor won the all-around title. In the last four years Trevor has won $17,464 at the Wyo. But it’s not just the money he likes. ProRodeo.com stated, “He loves pretty much everything about the experience, from the traditional western feel about the place, the spectacle of the Indian relay races, the downtown area and the commitment to include steer roping in the program.”
That’s not a bad testimony and there are many other of the top rodeo contestants that feel the same way. They like Sheridan.
But the Wyo is not just about numbers. What cannot be quantified is the enthusiasm and excitement that the Wyo-Rodeo brings to the Sheridan community for a whole week every year. You have to see, hear, feel and soak up the community atmosphere — excitement and celebration.
While the four rodeo performances form the core of the week, it’s the “surrounding events” that complete the package. Many have developed over the years and are now rodeo week staples, eagerly awaited by the community each year. It’s difficult to imagine rodeo week without the Kiwanis pancake breakfast, the bed races and the Sneakers and Spurs Race all of which precede the parade on a fun-filled Friday morning.
During the rest of the week, which is kicked off by the Book Kickoff and completed with the Wyo Tailgate Party at the Big Horn Equestrian Center, there is opportunity for other fun, such as family and class reunions. And of course, there’s always a concert during the middle of the week and street dances on Friday and Saturday. The Wyo claims that rodeo week is “the most fun you’ll have anywhere.” It’s true. And it’s not quantifiable.
The Wyo just doesn’t happen. The Wyo happens because of a hard working rodeo board, generous and loyal sponsors and indefatigable volunteers. Most of all, it happens because of a community that embraces and welcomes the event as a celebration of our culture and an economic generator.
When the Sheridan-Wyo-Rodeo was established in 1931, three of the purposes were to provide entertainment and amusement for the community, to promote and advance the interests of the city of Sheridan and Sheridan County, and to celebrate our culture.
Eighty-three years later it’s still doing that, and better than ever.
The founders would be amazed and proud of their legacy.
Tom Ringley was re-elected as a county commissioner in 2012. He is the author of four books. Ringley grew up in Sheridan and returned home in 1990 after 27 years as an Air Force office. He has been involved with the local hospital foundation, the Sheridan-Wyo-Rodeo and has been the facilities director at the county fairgrounds.