Plan your trip now for summer fun in Wyoming.

For some people the three R’s are reading, ’riting and ’rithmetic, but in Wyoming they are ranching, rodeo and rendezvous, and you will find plenty of all three on any summertime visit to the state.


Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo
Cheyenne, Wyoming
All Images Courtesy Gates Frontiers Fund Wyoming Collection within the Carol M. Highsmith Archive,
Library of Congress Unless Otherwise Noted


High school rodeos take place throughout the spring, and the college competitors converge on Casper in June for the College National Finals, this year June 9-15. While in the city, visit Fort Caspar, the Werner Wildlife Museum and the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center or replenish your Western wardrobe at Lou Taubert Ranch Outfitters.

There is a rodeo somewhere in Wyoming almost every day and two places to visit where you are almost sure to catch arena action are Dubois with its rodeo running from June 11 to August 20, and Cody, where the Cody Nite Rodeo (June-August) has long been a hallmark event and where you’ll often see not only the top cowboys and cowgirls but also some of the top stock as well.


Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo, 1910
Courtesy Library of Congress


While in Dubois visit the National Bighorn Sheep Interpretive Center and the National Museum of Military Vehicles which includes one of the largest private collections of military vehicles in the country. The Wind River Historical Center provides a glimpse into the American Indian and early settlement history of the region.

Cody’s attractions are some of the best in the West, including the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, the Cody Heritage Museum, Dug Up Gun Museum and the Cody Firearms Experience, where you can learn about and shoot a variety of weapons from the Old West. For decades, Wayne’s Boot Shop has been an anchor store along Sheridan Avenue just down the street from the Irma Hotel. At By Western Hands, you’ll find furniture by some of Cody’s master craftsmen and learn more about their work in accompanying exhibits. Cody Songwriters is a growing September attraction and the Chamberlain Inn is known for its patio concerts throughout the summer.


Cody Stampede Rodeo, Cody, Wyoming
Courtesy Wyoming Tourism


Buffalo Bill Cody founded the town that carries his name, but he recruited men to perform in his Wild West in Sheridan. Rodeo action takes place at the Sheridan WYO Rodeo July 10-13. Cowboys (and visitors) eat at the Cowboy Café or Silver Spur Café or head over to the Wagon Box in Story, which has live music many nights.

Sheridan’s cattle country roots were established by cattlemen such as Nelson Story, who brought the first herd of Texas livestock into the area. British remittance men—those second sons of British nobility—followed and built their own cattle kingdoms. One of those ranches, established by Bradford Brinton, is home to the Brinton Museum and its outstanding collection of Western art and Plains Indian artifacts.

In downtown Sheridan, you’ll find King Saddlery, King Ropes and the King Family Museum. All three are appreciated by working cowboys for the authentic gear created by the family. In 2023 Don King was recognized with the Cowboy Spirit Award from the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame.


A Bar A Ranch
Encampment, Wyoming


Without doubt the king of rodeos in Wyoming is the Daddy of ’em All—Cheyenne Frontier Days, held the last full week of July with rodeo slack and events starting even earlier. The CFD rodeo action features the top cowboys riding for the PRCA. Among the competitors in 2023 were All-Around Cowboy Stetson Wright, and the winningest bull rider of all time, J. B. Mauney—called the $7 Million Man, who competed in one of his last events before his retirement. There is a lot more than rodeo to Cheyenne Frontier Days. You’ll be able to visit the Plains Indian Village with dance demonstrations held daily, free pancake breakfasts downtown, four parades featuring some of the greatest horse-drawn vehicles in the country and night shows by top entertainers (to be announced in March). Additionally, the PBR (Professional Bull Riders) will be competing in “Last Cowboy Standing” on July 22 and 23.

Refresh your cowboy wardrobe at The Wrangler, Murdoch’s, Boot Barn or Just Dandy, a dandy of a store for cowgirls. Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum is expanding its exhibit area and has presentations about top competitions in the CFD arena plus a larger gift shop.

Every county has a rodeo in Wyoming, and many of them have multiple events during the summer. Albany County holds Laramie Jubilee Days, July 6-13. In Carbon County, rodeo events include the Woodchoppers Jamboree and Rodeo—an event sponsored by the local Lions Club since the early 1960s and held over Father’s Day weekend—The Platte Valley Rodeo in Saratoga in late July and the Carbon County Fair and Rodeo the first week in August in Rawlins.


Fort Bridger Rendezvous
Courtesy Wyoming Tourism


Bring on the Dudes

Dude ranching started in Wyoming at Eaton’s Ranch, at the town of Wolf, not far from Sheridan. This historic operation is still taking guests. Many other dude ranches operate in the Bighorn Mountains between Sheridan and Buffalo. These include Canyon Ranch, Double Rafter Ranch and Paradise Guest Ranch, which offers truly unique riding experiences in the Bighorns, plus options to fly fish and participate in ranch rodeo activities.

The country to the west of Cody, particularly up the North Fork of the Shosh-
one River, on the route to Yellowstone National Park, is well-known dude ranch country, too, with a variety of operations that appeal to couples or families. Rim Rock Ranch, the Crossed Sabers, Shoshone Lodge and UXU are just a few of the options for a dude ranch vacation in the Cody area.

Dubois and Lander also have multiple guest ranch options, many of them that combine a typical dude experience with an opportunity to do some horse packing into the wilderness for an on-the-ground stay that gets you far from people, automobiles, cell phones and other modern amenities. Instead, you’ll be close to nature and will have a chance to see some of Wyoming’s high mountain country. Allen’s Diamond 4 Ranch out of Lander is one of the best operations for such an adventure. CM Ranch out of Dubois offers stays at the ranch in addition to overnight pack trips.

Teton County is most known as the home of Grand Teton National Park, but there are legacy ranches in Jackson Hole, and the Jackson Hole Rodeo takes place at the end of the busy summer tourist season, August 23-September 2. This is another area where there are guest ranches for visitors to spend a week riding and learning about horses. Some of the Jackson Hole dude ranches are Triangle X, Lost Creek Ranch, Spotted Horse Ranch, Moose Head Ranch and Double H Bar.

For a dude ranch experience in southern Wyoming, visit the Vee Bar Guest Ranch near Centennial, the A Bar A Ranch near Encampment or the Medicine Bow Lodge and Adventure Guest Ranch near Saratoga.

For a working ranch experience in Wyoming, try The Ladder Ranch in the Little Snake River Valley or The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch near Shell.


Eaton’s Ranch
Wolf, Wyoming


It’s Time for a Rendezvous

The first mountain man rendezvous was a small event that took place on the Black’s Fork of the Green River in southwestern Wyoming in 1825. It was a gathering of mountain trappers, American Indians and traders from St. Louis who brought supplies and goods the people living in the mountain country needed. During the next 15 years, annual rendezvous took place at various locations in the northern Rocky Mountains. Six gatherings took place along Horse Creek in the Upper Green River Valley, near the present town of Daniel, Wyoming.

Modern-day mountain men recreate this rendezvous annually, this year July 12-14. In addition to living history camps and traders’ row, the annual event, which has been occurring for more than 85 years, includes an art show, parade, music and vendors.

A special event this year in Pinedale is “1824, The Eve of Rendezvous: A Bicentennial Event” at the Museum of the Mountain Man, September 12-15. This is part of the National Fur Trade Symposium, which in the past has been held at Fort Laramie, Bent’s Old Fort, Fort Union Trading Post and at the Museum of the Fur Trade in Chadron, Nebraska. In addition to presentations by fur trade historians, the symposium will include auto tours to fur trade sites.

The Teton County Fairgrounds is the location for the Jackson Hole Rendezvous, May 20-30. This is one of the annual events that really kicks off summer in Jackson Hole. You’ll see the mountain men in the annual Memorial Day Parade that makes its way around the Jackson Town Square and you can visit their camp to do some trading of your own.


A Bar A Ranch
Encampment, Wyoming


The 1838 mountain man rendezvous is held in Riverton, July 3-7, on the site of the original 1838 rendezvous. That same year, some mountain men gathered beside the Grand Encampment River (then called Potter’s Fork) and held a smaller rendezvous at a place they called Camp Le Grande. The name of this gathering ultimately was used for the town of Grand Encampment, and each year black-powder shooting competition, traders’ row and mountain stories are part of the Sierra Madre Muzzle Loaders Rendezvous, which takes place adjacent to the Grand Encampment Museum in late July.

By far the biggest rendezvous in the Rocky Mountain West is held over Labor Day weekend at Fort Bridger. This location is not too many crow miles away from the first mountain man gathering and it is at the site that became important during the 19th century as a gathering spot after mountain men Jim Bridger and Louis Vasquez opened a trading post to serve travelers heading to Oregon and California. Hundreds of mountain men reenactors, American Indians, traders and trappers take part in this rendezvous where you can hear the music of the mountain trade by performers such as Many Strings, find hand-forged goods, trade for supplies and explore the replica trading post established by Bridger or the authentic buildings at Fort Bridger.

Teton Range, Jackson Hole, Wyoming


Good Eats & Sleeps

Eats: The Albany, Cheyenne; Cavalry-man Steakhouse, Laramie; The Bear Trap, Riverside; 307 Grill, Encampment; Bella’s Bistro, Saratoga; Michael’s “Big City” Steakhouse, Rawlins; The Busy Bee Café, Buffalo; Mint Bar, Sheridan; Cowboy Café, Dubois; The Irma Hotel, Cody; Cowboy Bar, Pinedale

Sleeps: Little America, Cheyenne; Nagle-Warren Mansion B&B, Cheyenne; Spirit West River Lodge, Encampment; Occidental Hotel, Buffalo; Sheridan Inn, Sheridan; Saratoga Hot Springs Resort, Saratoga; Hotel Wolf, Saratoga; Historic Elk Mountain Hotel,
Elk Mountain

Dude Ranches: Eatons’ Ranch, Wolf; A Bar A Ranch, Encampment; Vee Bar Guest Ranch, Laramie; Crossed Sabres Ranch, Cody; Blackwater Creek Ranch, Cody; Lazy L&B Ranch, Dubois; Triangle C Ranch, Dubois; Medicine Bow Lodge & Guest Ranch, Saratoga; Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch, Shell; Paradise Guest Ranch, Buffalo; Triangle X Ranch, Moose; Spotted Horse Ranch, Jackson


Fort Bridger Rendezvous
Courtesy Wyoming Tourism


Museum of the Mountain Man. Courtesy Museum of the Mountain Man

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