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Cowboy rides bareback bronc during Days of '76 Rodeo in Deadwood, South Dakota, historic arena with wooden chutes, onlooking cowboys, and flag-carrying cowgirls

Industry News

Days of ’76 Keeps History Alive With Rodeo, History Reenactments

For the 100th year, the Days of ’76 Rodeo will hold its annual event, with over 600 cowboys and cowgirls and thousands of fans in attendance.

A bareback rider competes at the 2021 Days of ’76 in Deadwood, S.D. The rodeo keeps a historic feel to it, including the wooden chutes and reenactments of a stagecoach holdup and Wild Bill Hickok’s untimely death. Photo by Johnny Sundby.

Deadwood, S.D. (June 6, 2022) – They don’t like to mess with history in Deadwood, S.D.

And that’s one reason the Days of ’76 Rodeo, held in Deadwood July 24-30, has been so successful.

For the 100th year, the Days of ’76 Rodeo will hold its annual event, with over 600 cowboys and cowgirls and thousands of fans in attendance. 

There are plenty of good reasons to attend the rodeo, says Chris Roberts, chairman of the committee. 

“One of the biggest things, compared to other PRCA rodeos, is that we concentrate on the western tradition and the history of the sport,” he said. The wooden chutes add the western flavor to the event, and the specialty acts and entertainment are geared around horses and horsemanship acts.

During each performance of the rodeo, two reenactments are held: a stagecoach holdup and the murder of Wild Bill Hickok, which took place just down the street from the arena, on August 2, 1876. 

This year’s rodeo will include announcer Randy Corley, rodeo clown Justin Rumford, bullfighters Nathan Jestes and Beau Schueth, and the bucking horses and bulls of Burch Rodeo and various sub-contractors. 

Being true to their roots has been good to the Days of ’76. The rodeo has won nineteen PRCA Rodeo of the Year awards: four times in the small rodeo category, fourteen times in the medium category, and one (2020) in the large outdoor rodeo category. Through the years, the rodeo has grown, necessitating its move from the small rodeo division to the large. 

Rodeo is South Dakota’s official state sport, so it is important to the state. “It runs deep in all of South Dakota, and certainly western South Dakota and Deadwood,” Roberts said. 

“The (rodeo) celebration has remained historic in nature,” he said. “We continue to celebrate the Days of 1876 and the gold rush in the Black Hills.”

This year’s Days of ’76 rodeo will take place July 24-30. Slack, the extra competition that doesn’t fit into the performances, runs July 24-27. Performances are July 27-30 with nightly performances at 7 pm and a matinee on July 30 at 1:30 pm. Tickets range in price from $11-$41 (plus fees) and can be purchased online at Daysof76.com and at the gate. For more information, visit the website.

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The WRANGLER Horse & Rodeo News has been the leading equine publication of the Rocky Mountain Region since 1987. Under the new ownership of the DeLancey Family in 2022, The WRANGLER is now headquartered in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

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