Bulls, Burgers & Beers…and a Parade

I’m always shocked how quickly the 4th of July comes and goes. After the dust settles from this much-anticipated holiday, summer seems to exponentially speed up and with the blink of an eye, the days start to get shorter and fall settles in.

Livingston is a special place in the summer. The days are long, the wind blows less, and the cotton from the cottonwoods float through the air like summer snow. It’s a dreamy kinda place that draws you in without even trying.

One of those draws is the three days of July 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Next to Christmas, this is a much anticipated weekend of family BBQ’S, class reunions and other festivities. Always kicked off with a parade on July 2nd, followed by three nights of bulls, burgers and beers at the Livingston Roundup Rodeo. I tell my friends and family, “this is a quintessential small town event that you don’t want to miss”.

Photography by Kyra Ames

Until I lived in Livingston, I had never really experienced a memorable parade. Of course if you’ve attended a parade in NYC or the like, then you’ve got one up on me. The backdrop of Livingston’s parade is iconic—beautifully preserved historic buildings with the mountain peaks of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness in the distance. Each year there’s a different theme, with the all American 4th of July theme always present—and of course there’s candy, lots of candy. The parade snakes through Livingston’s downtown, delighting multiple generations of onlookers. Once the trademark street-sweeper signals the end of the parade, 100’s of people pour into the downtown taverns and breweries, eager to meet up with friends, relatives and old classmates. The atmosphere is friendly and festive and sure to plant many fond memories.

Livingston is known many things; fly fishing, the railroad, movies—A River Runs Through It— and rodeos, so it’s no surprise that Livingston takes it’s professional rodeo seriously. The rodeo was originally started in 1924 by Livingston local Charlie Murphy, who was in charge of the stock at the Madison Square Garden Rodeo in NYC. The rodeo quickly became one of 8 national rodeos in the U.S. garnering a reputation that still stands.

The Livingston Roundup Rodeo is not just some small town rodeo, it’s a highly sought after pro rodeo boasting a ‘purse’ of over $200,000 for professional men and women from around the country to compete against in many events such as saddle bronc, bareback, bull riding, and barrel racing. One of the best highlights of the night is the impressive fireworks display at the end of each rodeo.

Of course an event like this has to have memorable food and beverages. Concessions like elephant ears, cotton candy, corn-on-a-stick, popcorn, hamburgers and beer, are all run by local non-profit groups. This makes the three-day rodeo spree their largest fundraising event of the year.

As this years’ July 2nd, 3rd and 4th festivities approach, I am reminded of my first parade 17 years ago. I don’t really remember the parade so much as the bar afterwards—it was standing room only and my husband’s friends’ very proper mother, who shall remain nameless, bashfully ordered a round of Cowboy Cocksuckers…Happy 4th of July!!

Get your tickets in advance, they sell out fast!!
Buy Livingston Roundup Rodeo tickets here

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