GREEN RIVER — Giddy up, put that hat on and make it a night to remember at the Overland Stage Stampede Rodeo.
The 35th annual event takes place June 2-3. Gates open at 6 p.m. Performance starts at 7 p.m. Admission for adults, 18 and over, is $10 at the gate and $8 in advance, youth, 6-12, and seniors, 65 and over, are $5 at the gate and $4 in advance. Tickets are available at the Green River Chamber of Commerce and Rock Springs Chamber of Commerce.
According to Katie Duncombe, interim director of the parks and recreation department, Laurie Thoman will be the grand marshal.
Based on Thoman’s biography, she was born into the western heritage and her lifestyle emulates it in countless ways. As a fourth generation Wyoming rancher and horsewoman, Thoman’s dedication and passion for the western way of life is embedded in her volunteerism and dedication to her community and family.
Thoman and her daughter Taylor reside on the Thoman family ranch near Green River, where Thoman is involved in raising Rambouillet sheep, Hereford cattle, and Quarter Horses. A graduate of the University of Wyoming, she received her Master of Science degree in family and consumer sciences; textiles and merchandising. Growing up on the ranch, she attended the one-room Thoman Ranch School K-8, often as the only student. She continues to substitute at the Thoman Ranch School, which her daughter, Taylor attends.
Her passion for her western heritage and stronger community involvement in rodeo is evident in the various titles and awards she has received throughout her life. She held the title of Overland Stage Stampede Rodeo/Sweetwater County Fair Queen in 1993 which took her on to win the title of Miss Rodeo Wyoming in 1994. She went on to compete at the Miss Rodeo America Pageant, landing in the top five and winning the photogenic award. In addition, she has instructed clinics, coordinated pageants, and judged several local, state, and national pageants including the National High School Rodeo Queen pageant.
She has served as National Director for the Miss Rodeo Wyoming Association for 14 years and was honored with a buckle in 2016 for 20+ years of dedicated service. In addition to being an MRAI (Miss Rodeo America, Inc.) Gold Member (15+ years of involvement), and co-chairing the MRAI horsemanship committee, she served on the Miss Rodeo America Executive Board for eight years. She was actively involved with the Overland Stage Stampede Rodeo from 2005-2012 and has continued to coordinate the royalty and flags. She has directed the local royalty since 2001 under the Overland Stage Stampede Rodeo title, then, Sweetwater County Rodeo Royalty, and currently she is the Red Desert Roundup Rodeo Queen Pageant director. In 2018, she received the Red Desert Roundup Rodeo Volunteer of the Year award.
Thoman has also been involved in all aspects of rodeo production. For 22 years, she worked under Shawn Davis, the general manager of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, and former Tour Finals Rodeo productions, in several capacities. Upon Davis’s retirement, she currently works under WNFR Production Manager, Allen Rheinheimer, recording stats.
Thoman graduated from the Wyoming LEAD class VII (Leadership, Education, and Development) where she had the opportunity to study government along with agriculture in Australia and New Zealand. Her memberships include the Wyoming Stock Growers, Wyoming Wool Growers, Farm Bureau, and the American Quarter Horse Association. Her love for horses is evident through her involvement as a 4-H equine events liaison, an equine events supervisor, and a 29 year 4-H leader (currently in 13 disciplines including livestock, fashion, and shooting sports). She has been a competitor in reining and working cow horse. In 2016, she received the Sweetwater County 4-H Horse Volunteer of the Year buckle. In addition to all of that, she holds her commercial driver’s license that she uses mainly for hauling livestock for the family ranch and serves as an election judge.
Agriculture and horses have been a vital part of Thoman’s life since birth, making her a strong advocate for the western way of life. Her passion and dedication to the lifestyle many in our rural communities’ treasure, is evident in her volunteer activities and her advocacy for the great sprot of rodeo. Her years of service are evidence of her dedication to the preservation of our great western heritage.
Duncombe said that the Overland Stage Stampede Rodeo is a “great regional and local event,” adding that it’s also an affordable event for families.
“We always call the rodeo as the ‘kick-off to summer, it helps with travel and tourism, helps cowboys from neighboring states and encourages our youth to be more involved,” Duncombe explained.
This year, attendees can expect to watch competitors participate in the “calf-scramble.”