The Beginning of Rodeo in Wyoming
As Laramie grew and the town spread out, businesses and attitudes were changing as the century was coming to a close. Many business people closed up shop and tried ranching and dry-farming. Along with the Cattle boom in the 1880’s, came many settlers and ranchers. The population was growing quickly in Laramie.
Ranches varied from cattle, sheep and horses. All were prosperous businesses. Ranching was an industry that through its ups and downs became a mainstay of the Laramie Plains. With ranching came much need for help and cowboys became a large colorful part of the population. Not all “range-heros” were wholesome. Many had a decidedly boisterous, rowdy and passionate character. These men worked hard on the range, trying to tame some very raucous animals.
There were a few stories in Laramie of Bulls running loose and it was these bull riding cowboys that stepped in and tamed, or restrained those animals. The image of the cowboy riding bucking bulls and bucking broncos was not new to them, but the excitement of the rides intrigued the townspeople.
Landers is credited with holding the first commercial rodeo in Wyoming in 1893. In 1895, the Laramie Fair Association held its first public exhibition at the city stockyards. This was part of their Labor Day Celebration. This later turned into the Jubilee Days (Statehood) Celebration that continues today.
“Other such shows by the Laramie Riders were given before an excited, admiring public and a new form of hero worship began. “Laramie” became almost synonymous with “Cowboy.” The new Football team organized by the University was given the title of “Cowboys” Gladys B. Beery
Wild West Shows were very popular at the time and there was a lot of interest in the Cowboy mystique. Rodeos became plentiful in the west.