July 2018 – Every year we are somewhere different for the 4th of July, and this year we were lucky enough to find ourselves near Cody, Wyoming, a vibrant town just east of Yellowstone National Park that celebrates the 4th of July in style.
This morning we found a spot to watch the 4th of July parade opposite the historic Irma Hotel. Buffalo Bill built the Irma Hotel in 1902 to encourage tourism to the town of Cody which he and several other investors had founded in 1896.
The parade announcers were set up on an upper deck and they entertained us while we waited for the parade to begin.
The American flag was on proud display all over town.
And lots of folks were dressed in stars and stripes or at least in red, white and blue.
Young and old alike waited patiently while more and more people showed up along the parade route, camping chairs and flags in hand.
Cody, Wyoming, is accustomed to extending a warm welcome to throngs of summer tourists who drop in for a visit on their way to or from Yellowstone National Park.
The town hosts a professional rodeo — the Cody Stampede Rodeo — every night all summer long. It is held in their huge rodeo arena on the edge of town. The Cody Stampede Rodeo also hosted this 4th of July parade, and some of the rodeo folks rode their horses up and down the parade route, waving to friends and keeping an eye on things.
This 4th of July Parade in Cody was actually the third parade this week. A kiddies parade was held on July 2nd and a preliminary 4th of July parade was held on the 3rd!
Finally the big parade began, and it began with a flourish.
Then a whole slew of Rodeo Royalty went by, each of the girls and women more beautiful than the last. There were Rodeo Queens from various cities and states, and there was even the Rodeo Queen USA, if I caught her title right.
A few days earlier we had bumped into some younger rodeo royalty at a parking lot in town. Blair, the Junior Cody Stampede Princess, and her older sister Bridger, also a member of the Cody Stampede Royalty, had just finished doing the first of the three parades, and they posed for me next to their horse trailer.
Blair explained to me that becoming the Junior Cody Stampede Princess involved not only equestrian skills like barrel racing, but a modeling contest, a written essay exam and an oral exam as well. Congratulationss to her and all the other rodeo princesses and queens!
There was royalty of another kind too. A woman who has appeared in the Cody 4th of July Parade for 35 years walzed by with her famous pink poodle. She hammed it up delightfully and showed us all what it’s like to be 82 years young.
There were floats of all kinds.
And a lineup of wonderful antique cars.
One local family was celebrating 100 years in Wyoming since their ancestors arrived as homesteaders in 1918.
The theme of this year’s 4th of July Cody Stampede Parade was “Wyoming – Buckin’ through time,” and with that in mind a few of Wyoming’s early mountain men went by.
One of the really fun local tourist attractions is a shooting range, the Cody Firearms Experience, where you can shoot all kinds of intriguing guns, including a gatling gun from the Civil War era. They showed it off during the parade!
There were also marching bands of all kinds. The Cody High School Band strutted past and quite a few other bands from other Wyoming towns went by as well.
The city of Cheyenne sent quite a bit of talent to the Cody Stampede Parade. This was very impressive since Cody and Cheyenne are in opposite corners of Wyoming, over 400 miles apart!
There was a bagpipe band too!
You can’t have a 4th of July parade without some noisy fire engines, and sure enough, If the gatling gun and marching bands weren’t loud enough, the sirens on the fire engines certainly were!
Wyoming, like all the western states, is beset by wildfires every summer, and just as there is a “snow season” and a “fall foliage season” there is a “wildfire season” too. A big round of applause went up for the wildfire hot shot firefighters as they went by.
We were also treated to a sighting of the Wells Fargo Stage Coach. This is a really ornate and beautiful stage coach, and the folks riding inside and on it were all members of the Wells Fargo family.
Perhaps my favorite part of any parade is all the kids running around. I just love the excitement, and they are so darn cute. Lots of the parade folks threw out candy for the kids, and they ran after it with glee.
It was a wonderfully warm and sunny day, and whether they had barefeet or boots on, the happy kids were running wild and free.
Sometimes the littler ones weren’t quite quick enough to get a handful.
But there was plenty of sharing going on too.
The Cody Stampede Parade was just terrific. If you didn’t catch it this year, perhaps you will next year!
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More info about Cody, Wyoming:
- Irma Hotel
- Cody Stampede Rodeo
- Cody Firearm Experience – Shoot a gatling gun!
- RV Parks in Cody, Wyoming
- Location of Cody, Wyoming
Other fun 4th of July celebrations, parades and fireworks:
- An Old Time Country 4th of July in Custer, South Dakota!
- Fireworks on Canada Day in Nova Scotia
- An Unusual and Heartwarming Parade in Humboldt Kansas
- Parade and Party during “Carnival” in Ensenada Mexico
- More blog posts from our RV travels in Wyoming
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