Road trips and rodeos: 2021's top travel trends focus on good old-fashioned fun

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(BPT) - After altering travel plans for over a year, families across the country are ready to satisfy their wanderlust again. With an eye on safety, road trips and traditional family activities are making a comeback as people are hitting the highway to visit states that offer good fun and plenty of room to roam. That's why heading to Wyoming to experience the best of the West, like rodeo, hiking and fishing, is topping travel itineraries.

Kick up your heels and see the action at a rodeo

Rodeo is the state sport of Wyoming and the mountain town of Casper is host to two of the biggest rodeo events in the West. The first is the College National Finals Rodeo — commonly referred to as CNFR. Top collegiate rodeo athletes compete in events that include bareback riding, tie-down roping, breakaway roping, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, goat tying, team roping, barrel racing and bull riding.

CNFR is held June 13-19, 2021, at the Ford Wyoming Center, the largest events center in Wyoming. On Friday, May 7, individual tickets for CNFR go on sale. The size of the stadium and the ample activities mean you can explore and experience something for every personality in your travel group. When planning your trip, remember there is a pancake breakfast on Saturday, June 12, from 8 to 10 a.m. at City Park, there are two rodeo performances on Sunday, June 12, at 1 and 4 p.m., and on Friday, June 18, there is an outdoor concert with music artist Lucas Hoge that is free and open to the public.

Learn more at cnfr.com.

Experience fair fun and rodeo roars outdoors

Another exciting event in Casper is the Central Wyoming Fair and PRCA Rodeo (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) held at the fairgrounds July 9-17, 2021. Explore this outdoor affair in all its glory, including fair food, carnival games, monster trucks and some of the best rodeo competitors around.

With nine exciting days of events, the largest carnival in the state of Wyoming offers something for everyone. For example, on Saturday, July 10, you can enjoy the sidewalk chalk festival in downtown with a delicious pancake breakfast before attending the monster truck shows that afternoon. On Tuesday, July 13, the downtown parade kicks off the first performance of the PRCA Rodeo — which is one of the top 20 rodeos in the country — with events that include bull riding, barrel racing, bareback, saddle bronc, steer wrestling, team roping, tie-down roping and mutton busting. Rodeo festivities are held Tuesday, July 13, to Saturday, July 17.

Learn more at centralwyomingfair.com.

Make memories enjoying the best of Western culture

Special events like fairs and rodeos make a trip memorable, but there's so much more your family can do to experience the Western culture that's helped define United States history. The great outdoors await in Wyoming, with the same beauty found today as hundreds of years ago when the West was first being explored. Some of the best ways to experience Mother Nature at her finest are fly-fishing the North Platte River, hiking Casper Mountain, visiting the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center or the Tate Geological Museum, exploring the Platte River Trails or Fremont Canyon — which can fill in the days before or after all that rodeo action.

Offering a small-town feel with big heart, carve out time in your itinerary to wander downtown Casper. Unique boutiques and a host of restaurants, breweries and a distillery are welcoming visitors, so you can kick back, sip on libations and enjoy exceptional cuisine. Finally, head over to Lou Taubert Ranch Outfitters to get your gear and feel like a cowboy (even if you haven't ever ridden a horse). Home to nine floors and 10,000 pairs of cowboy boots, the whole family will be looking the part, plus you'll have the perfect attire for that next family portrait or holiday card.

Learn more about all these activities and get many more ideas for family vacationing at www.visitcasper.com.

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