SHERIDAN — “There is absolutely nothing like it,” Billy Craft said about the Elite Rodeo Athletes League of Champions rodeo.
The Sheridan WYO Rodeo board member compares the ERA rodeo to the Super Bowl of rodeos — it includes the top rodeo athletes, fast-paced action and wild rides.
Saturday, Sheridan residents and rodeo fans are expected to pack the arena to witness a stop on the ERA Rodeo tour. Sheridan is the smallest city on the tour to host the event, so how were the WYO Rodeo board members able to get the ERA rodeo to make a stop in Sheridan?
Craft said that the WYO Rodeo board’s mission is to promote the sport of rodeo in Sheridan and provide economic growth for the town. So when Craft had the opportunity to get in at the ground floor with the newly-formed ERA rodeo, the board leapt at the chance to bring them to Wyoming.
“As soon as we sat down with these people, it just fit like an old sock,” Craft said. “We thought this was a perfect marriage for both us and them.”
In January, the board brought one of the directors from the ERA Rodeo to Sheridan to view the facilities at the Sheridan County Fairgrounds. WYO Rodeo board president Nick Siddle said that as soon as the ERA representative set foot in Sheridan, they were eager to schedule a stop on the tour.
Sheridan is the only outside venue in this year’s eight-city tour.
“The cowboys really like our arena, they really like the way we are set up,” Siddle said. “They just really like coming to the Sheridan area.”
“When we saw we could couple it with Don King Days, we wanted to bring them in even more,” Craft said.
From the board’s standpoint, the ERA Rodeo brings a new type of rodeo to its local audiences.
After seeing the ERA Rodeo in action in Salt Lake City, Utah, Craft said he is excited for the performance coming to Sheridan.
He said that the ERA will look different than the Sheridan WYO Rodeo in that it is at a much faster pace with almost no lulls in between events and that it includes only the top athletes in their respective events.
“When we first saw a performance of this rodeo, we were just blown away,” Craft said. “It’s wild and so fast, it’s really just a neat rodeo to watch.”
The board has a much different role when it comes to this rodeo. They still are actively involved in putting on the show, but the ERA is more involved from the management perspective and responsible for providing the roughstock.
As of Tuesday, 2,500 tickets have been sold for Saturday’s show, but Siddle expects more to head to the rodeo. He said many spectator will likely show up the day of, following the pattern of the WYO Rodeo this year.
The ERA Rodeo will kick off at 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3, at the Sheridan County Fairgrounds.
A meet and greet with the rodeo athletes will take place at 2:30 p.m., prior to the rodeo.