The 80th edition of Laramie Jubilee Days has been canceled.
The event, scheduled for July 4-12, was among Wyoming’s six largest rodeos that Gov. Mark Gordon announced will not happen in 2020 during a Wednesday press conference.
Guy Warpness, chairman of the Jubilee Days’s board, joined Gordon at his press conference, where the governor and representatives from the state’s rodeos stressed it wouldn’t be worth trying to convene the events when important aspects, like parades and street dances, are not feasible to host during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If we can’t have the downtown (festivities) and can’t sell beer, it’s pretty tough for us to pay for our event,” Warpness told the Boomerang on Wednesday evening. “(The decision) took everything into account financially. A lot of our sponsors have also been heavily impacted financially in the last six to eight weeks.”
Warpness said it was unlikely the state would’ve approved the Jubilee Days parade.
“I talked to (Albany County Public Health Officer) Dr. Jean Allias the week before to get her perspective if we were able to host a parade and how to make things social distancing,” he said. “We were also always talking to the governor and he said the chance of it would be somewhere south of 50% with (Wyoming Department of Health State Health Officer) Dr. Alexia Harrist’s input.”
Earlier in the day, Warpness stated in a press release that rodeo boards were unified in supporting the cancellations of Wyoming’s six largest rodeos.
“We are making a responsible decision to protect the health of our community, the contestants and those behind the scenes putting on the rodeo that everyone loves,” Warpness said in the release. “We join the larger Wyoming rodeo family in this decision, which mirrors similar decisions made by other large rodeo celebrations around the state. Our boards are unified in the decision to promote the health and safety of all involved.”
Gordon and his staff met with rodeo committee members from Cody, Sheridan, Thermopolis, Laramie, Casper and Cheyenne over the past several weeks and looked at potential social distancing measures, entrance and exit plans and other possibilities to ensure safely staging rodeos, parades, carnivals and concerts.
“Solutions conceived on paper haven’t held true in practice and quite simply hundreds of people funneling through a gate at the same time is not safe,” Gordon stated in the press release, which urged the Laramie community to help prepare for a return of the even in 2021.
“The Laramie Jubilee Days Board of Directors is dedicated to concentrating on our 2021 celebration,” Warpness stated. “Let’s work together to make next year’s event one to remember.”
Gordon was emotional during the press conference as he explained the reasons for the cancellations.
“This coronavirus thing sucks. There’s no two ways about it,” he said.