SHERIDAN — Law enforcement incident reports depict this WYO Winter Rodeo weekend as busier than last year but Sheridan Police Department Lt. Travis Koltiska said incidents involving alcohol did not all directly appear related to the special event and described the event as “responsible” overall.
From Friday through Sunday, the Sheridan County Sheriff’s Office reported two incidents of driving under the influence. SPD reported five DUI citizen reports, two minor in possession incidents (citing five minors total), three bar checks, three DUIs, one disorderly conduct due to intoxication, three public intoxication incidents and one open container citation.
Koltiska said he feels the weekend went well with no apparent safety issues. The event organizers made a sound decision shutting the event down early Sunday for the safety of racers and horses, he said.
Koltiska was the first responder to a crash early in the day Saturday during skijoring, which resulted in transporting a youth racer off the course via ambulance. Koltiska said there were some delays in the EMS response to the injured child. However, after himself, the first three people on scene were EMTs.
Well-trained professionals, including a nurse and Antelope Butte Mountain Recreation Area Ski Patrol, were on site to manage the situation, he said. No significant injuries were reported last year — a contrast to 2020’s several crashes, influenced by weather and course conditions. Koltiska said looking ahead to next year, they will prepare better for potential injuries with EMTs closer to the scene so they can respond to any section of the course quickly. SPD stepped up their presence with increased foot patrols and DUI patrols throughout the weekend — a set-up Koltiska said they will continue to build on in future years. Signs posted in Luminous Brewhouse advertised free rides home during Rodeo weekend.
While he does not want attendees feeling like there’s a police officer around every corner, a visible law enforcement presence helps keep good choices in people’s minds, Koltiska said.
Next year, SPD aims to open discussions with businesses and participating agencies earlier in the year to plan for Winter Rodeo, like the SPD does for the Sheridan WYO Rodeo street dance, Koltiska said. With a larger audience turnout in the second year of Winter Rodeo, Koltiska said if the event continues to grow, he will need to plan for more staff.
Despite the early shut down Sunday, Black Tooth Brewing Company and Luminous Brewhouse both described Winter Rodeo as a smashing success compared to the average February weekend.
Luminous manager Kathryn Law said they broke their sales record for last year on Saturday. Black Tooth general manager Jesse Woods said he values the event for the boost it provides to the downtown economy — at the heart of Sheridan. Winter Rodeo helps every business on Main Street, Woods said. Sheridan Travel and Tourism said a report about finances and attendance may be available by early next week.
Working out the kinks for this annual event may take some time, but two central breweries and the SPD seem prepared to take on the challenge.