#lookback: Summer Means Rodeo In Wyoming

Dubois Rodeo: Dudine Races

A series where we take a #lookback at the stories and history of our community, brought to you by Mick Pryor, Financial Advisor with Edward Jones.


Summer Means Rodeo In Wyoming

One cannot visit Wyoming during the summer months without taking the time to witness a rodeo. It is a quintessential tradition in the American West that finds its roots in the early 1700s, when the Spanish ruled the region. As the 1800s came around, eastern ranchers and cattlemen expanded into the historic Spanish-ruled ranges. The Spanish vaqueros would influence the development of the “American Cowboy,” an influence that is still seen in the boots, hats, and roping techniques used today.

Cowboys in the south, the southwest, and the west organized long cattle drives to bring their animals to stockyards in railroad towns like Kansas City and Dodge City. After they delivered their stock, cowboys in these places would often hold informal competitions among themselves and the various outfits to see which group had the best riders, ropers, and drivers. Today’s modern rodeos come from these competitions.

Dubois rodeos began in 1912 as informal gatherings of ranch hands demonstrating their skills. The first fully organized rodeo in Dubois took place in the summer of 1921, offering prizes for winners in various categories. Cash prizes, cowboy attire, and bragging rights made up some of the awards, and still do today. Chester Byers, the best roper in the world, performed at the rodeo in 1931. This two-day event drew people from all over the country, packing the tiny town of Dubois.

Many guest ranches around the Upper Wind River Valley hosted their own rodeos on their property too. The Diamond G, the CM Ranch, the Rocky Mountain Lodge, and several others entertained their guests by giving them the chance to witness, and even participate in, a rodeo.

In 1950, the Dubois Rodeo was the “10th Best Rodeo in the World.” Unfortunately, shortly after earning this impressive title, the Dubois Rodeo faded as the arena and land were sold and the grandstand torn down. For several decades after that, Dubois did not host a rodeo.

Luckily, Dubois revived its rodeo tradition and now hosts rodeos every Friday night during the months of June, July, and August. These rodeos are “a bit of the old disappearing West that comes to life again during these nights.” Calf roping, bull dogging, barrel racing, and mutton busting are just some of the wild events that guests can experience from the grandstands of the Clarence Allison Memorial Arena.

Wyoming is called the “Cowboy State,” and its symbol is a bucking bronc. For those of us who do not make a living roping steer or riding fence lines, we should always take a chance to relive the rich history of ranching and recreation by attending an exhilarating rodeo. So, why not do that in Dubois?

Next up for the Fremont County Museums

June 26th, 9am at the Dubois Museum, “Kids Corner”

Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series

June 27th, 7pm at the Dubois Museum, “Meadow Wildflowers with Frances Clark”

Wyoming Community Bank Discovery Speakers Series

June 28th, 8:30am at the Dubois Museum, “Meadow Wildflowers Adventure Trek”

Wind River Visitors Council Adventure Trek Series

June 29th, 9am at the Riverton Museum, “Shoshoni Cemetery Trek”

Wind River Visitors Council Adventure Trek Series

The Dubois Museum, the Pioneer Museum in Lander and the Riverton Museum need your financial support. In the current economic environment the museums are more reliant than ever on donations from the private sector to continue to provide the quality programs, collections management, exhibits and services that have become their hallmark over the last four years. Please make your tax deductible contribution to be used specifically for the benefit of the museum of your choosing by sending a check to Fremont County Museums 450 N 2nd Rm 320 or taking it directly to the museum you choose to support.