THE BUFFALO BILL RODEO
On July 4th, 1882, William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody staged the Old Glory Blowout in North Platte, Nebraska at a site believed to be near what is now Cody Park. That first rodeo was held in conjunction with the last of the big open range roundups in Nebraska. It featured bronc riding, roping and buffalo riding. It was so popular, that Cody developed his Wild West Show, that he took around the World. The Buffalo Bill Rodeo runs from June 18th to the 21st 2014.
Buffalo Bill Rodeo Committee
The Buffalo Bill Rodeo Committee was inducted into the PRCA Hall of Fame in 2008, a recognition of the years of work it has taken to maintain the Rodeo as one of the premier events on the Prairie Circuit. The Committee is made up of 12 volunteers who plan the event on a year round basis. Their love of the game can be traced back to their childhood in many cases. They are led by co-chairs Jack Morris and Shelli Arensdorf. Other current members are Hank Knisley, Jerry Woodruff, Larry Gosnell, Marty Peterson, Jeremy Dezort, Ben Lashley and Jerry Thompson. Not pictured are Jeff White and Levi Fisher.
The Wild West Arena is fixed just North and West of North Platte’s city center on Buffalo Bill Avenue near Colonel Cody’s Scout’s Rest Ranch. The ground itself was once owned by Cody and his family. Documents indicate that this parcel of land was mortgaged several times in the late 1800’s. The timing of the mortgages suggest that Cody may have been improving his cash position as he was preparing to take his famous Wild West Show to Europe. The parcel was purchased by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission in 1971, and the arena was constructed in 1972. In the last several years, it has undergone major renovations to its livestock holding facilities with the help of the Lincoln County Visitors Bureau.
The Beutler and Sons Rodeo Company has been providing stock to the Buffalo Bill Rodeo for well over 50 years. Bennie Beutler was inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Colo. in July of 2010. The famed stock contractor from Elk City, Okla., is the third generation of Beutlers to be in the stock contracting business.