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  1. The Sheridan WYO Rodeo was not held in 1942 or 1943

The US entered WWII in 1941, and many events across the country were cancelled. Despite wartime concerns, plans to hold the 1942 WYO Rodeo were still in motion as of late April of that year. When the Sheridan WYO Rodeo Board of Directors fell $2,900 short of their sponsorship fundraising goal, the rodeo itself was tabled (until 1944).

  1. The Sheridan WYO Rodeo was once known as the ‘Bots Sots Stampede’

Rodeo action returned to Sheridan in 1944 with a name meant to distinguish this new rodeo as one for local, working cowboys. All proceeds from this two-day rodeo were donated to WWII relief efforts.

  1. The first Crow Indian Rodeo Queen was elected by popular applause

Prior to 1952, a private selection committee determined the annual rodeo queen. In an effort to eliminate political and social bias, an applause meter was used to determine the 1952 winner. Judging resulted in a three-way tie, one that was broken when cowboys stood close to the applause meter in support of Lucy Yellow Mule, then 17-years-old, and the first Indian to be named WYO Rodeo Queen.

  1. 26,508 tickets were sold for the 2016 WYO Rodeo

26,508 represents a new high-water mark for WYO Rodeo ticket sales – and an increase of roughly 4,000 from 2015. For reference, the first WYO Rodeo in 1931 welcomed approximately 5,000 spectators.

  1. A pilot once crashed his plane into a building to entertain the WYO crowd

Rodeo fans love a good thrill, but Sheridan WYO Rodeo fans have been treated to some extreme spectacle over the years. In 1936, the Sheridan WYO Rodeo board recruited Captain F.F. Frakes to crash an airplane into a burning building as part of the rodeo festivities. Despite efforts from the US Department of Commerce to stop the stunt, Frakes crashed his plane into a specially-designed structure, came away unscathed, and flew on to Montana.

  1. The Sheridan WYO Rodeo is a week-long celebration

Professional rodeo is just part of the WYO Rodeo experience – the calendar of events features a tailgate party and polo matches (the Eaton Cup and WYO Rodeo Cup begin at 1:00pm and 3:00pm at the Big Horn Equestrian Center, respectively), a famous parade, a pow wow at the historic Sheridan Inn, bed races, pancake breakfasts, a boot kick-off, and more.

  1. Sheridan WYO Rodeo is on the Million Dollar Tour

The Million Dollar tour includes three of the five highest-paying regular season rodeo events on the PRCA circuit. There are two classifications of rodeo on the Million Dollar tour: Gold rodeo and Silver Rodeo, with the Sheridan WYO Rodeo qualifying as a silver rodeo – just one of the reasons the WYO is able to attract top-tier rodeo talent from across the nation.

  1. The Kiwanis Pancake breakfast began in 1975

The Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast is not simply an excuse to eat the world’s finest pancakes – it’s also an event dedicated to raising funds for a good cause. For a few years the Kiwanis pancake breakfast also included a pancake-eating contest, with the winner receiving the ‘El Porko’ award. Raise your hand if you’d like to bring back this tradition!

  1. The Sheridan WYO Rodeo that almost wasn’t

Have you ever purchased tickets for the Sheridan Old West Rodeo? How about Sheridan’s Frontier Jamboree? Of course not – these were some of the names brainstormed in the good old days, before Frank Panetta came up with the Sheridan WYO Rodeo name we know today (and won $5 for his efforts).

  1. Burger King Inc. is an original WYO Rodeo shareholder

In 1931, when the Sheridan WYO Rodeo was in its infancy, expenses were great and income was non-existent. In order to raise the funds needed to host the rodeo, WYO directors sold capital stock in the organizing company. The stock was Non-negotiable, which means that it could not be traded or redeemed, and would not increase in value. Initial investors were simply sponsors – which included the likes of Burger King, which purchased a whopping 250 shares.

By Bailey McLean, Sheridan Travel & Tourism

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