SHERIDAN — While no local athletes competed in the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas this year, several Sheridan locals traveled to Sin City to participate as businesses and advocates for the Sheridan WYO Rodeo.
Sheridan music artist Tris Munsick played among stars like Reba McEntire, Brooks and Dunn, Cody Johnson and Joe Diffie as part of the NFR lineup. Munsick travels throughout the Mountain West and ventures into southern states to avoid saturating the local audience with his music. In his second year performing at the NFR, Munsick saw the benefit for his own music career and also the benefits of having Sheridan’s name spread across the pinnacle event of rodeo.
“There’s so many people that are interested in the West and interested in our way of life that are crammed into Las Vegas for two weeks,” Munsick said. “This time of the year is best to meet with people and connect…and to be able to sell your product and increase your brand and market. I can’t think of a better place to do it than at the NFR.”
Munsick performed several times at the Tropicana Las Vegas with his brother, Ian, during the NFR festivities. Nick Siddle, Sheridan WYO Rodeo president, also attended the NFR on behalf of the WYO Rodeo board.
“For me the real good part of it is working with other rodeo committees from around the country to kind of glean ideas rom them, good information sharing and so on and just trying to come up with ideas to keep us fresh and keep us moving forward.”
Munsick and Siddle both mentioned the large number of Sheridanites in Vegas during the NFR. Businesses like King’s Saddlery, King Ropes and Bighorn Mountain Mercantile camped out at the Cowboy Christmas exhibit while others competed in non-PRCA-sanctioned rodeo events.
“The whole thing about Vegas during this time of year is it caters so much to all kinds of cowboy events,” Siddle said. “It’s pretty spectacular.”
Siddle said Sheridanites also traveled down to compete in team roping and enjoy the festivities.
The presence of having businesses and WYO Rodeo representation in and around the NFR helps Sheridan grow its brand, both as a location and destination for all things cowboy.
“It’s pretty neat to be able to represent Sheridan and represent the cowboy way of life that we grew up to believe in,” Munsick said. “I truly believe that Sheridan is one of the best places to live.”
Munsick mentioned Kings’ presence and that of other Sheridanites he ran into throughout his time in Las Vegas. Each brought its own bit of Sheridan with them to share with those not as familiar with a Wyoming lifestyle.
“Sheridan should be proud to have those guys down there representing us,” Munsick said. “Everybody’s always interested to hear that you’re from Wyoming in general,” he added later. “And Sheridan, too, because there’s just not a heck of a lot of us out there.”
The PRCA arena did not feature any Sheridan athletes, but the face-to-face contact from other Sheridanites helped promote the cowboy way of life.
“We all know that visual contact and word of mouth is a heck of a lot better than (not) — you know, we do some print advertising obviously in the PRCA stuff that goes on — but I think that just the visual presence and being there and being recognized (is good),” Siddle said.