Cavalry to the rescue
Retired board members offer volunteer help for NebraskalandDays celebration
NORTH PLATTE, Neb. — If it wasn’t for the Cody Cavalry at NebraskalandDays and the Buffalo Bill Rodeo, there would be no doorknobs in the sponsor building and the NebraskalandDays parade would be chaos.
That might be an exaggeration, but the Cavalry, former board members of NLD, provides the volunteer help that keeps the statewide celebration, this year June 15-25, going.
Larry Stobbs and John Hales are just two of the many Cavalry members who served on the NLD board, then “graduated” to the Cavalry, where they are called on for whatever volunteer duties there might be.
For Stobbs and his wife Paula, one of those duties three years ago was making sure the new building, the Chute Nine building at the north end of the arena, had doorknobs. They installed doorknobs on all eight doors in the building, to help out.
And for John Hales and his wife Jan, his involvement with the Cavalry includes organizing the parade, this year held on June 18. Hales began that volunteer work when he was still on the NLD board, and it continued when he retired from the board in 2004.
On parade day, he can be found three hours prior helping line up the entries, starting at the corner of Bryan and Fourth Street. He’s on foot much of the morning, making sure everyone is in their right order, so as they pass announcers’ stands, they are announced correctly. The parade, which averages about 150 entries, is the largest in the state.
With about 130 Cavalry members in the club, their biggest job is serving beverages in the many hospitality areas at the Buffalo Bill Rodeo.
That’s a job both Stobbs and Hales really enjoy. They love seeing the people, greeting old friends and making new ones. “You get to reconnect every year, and that’s one of the neat things about it,” Hales said.
The Cavalry is called upon for tasks that the NLD board members don’t have time to do. The Hales painted the Chute Nine building when it was built. Stobbs, with help, cooks for and serves between 50 and 80 people for the setup crew when the stage is set up for the big concerts.
HUSBAND AND WIFE VOLUNTEERS
Cavalry members’ wives help, too. “My wife is as much a part of it as I am,” Hales said. Stobbs’s wife Paula is a member of the Miss Rodeo Nebraska pageant, so she finds lodging for the out-of-state queens who attend.
“All of our spouses help us,” Stobbs said. “If we have a project out there (at the Wild West Arena), most of the time, our spouses are out there helping. The Cody Cavalry is like a big family.”
The Cavalry is able to offer more hours of volunteer labor than the board can, and that helps, Hales said. “The Cavalry is the go-to organization for the board because we cover a lot of bases for them that they couldn’t get done on their own.”
Both men take great pride in being part of the Cavalry, the friendships, and in the NLD celebration.
“I’m damn proud to be involved,” Hales said. “I enjoy it so much. The whole celebration means a lot to me, to be able to continue to serve after being on the board. I enjoy every minute of it.”
NLD “is the biggest thing that happens in North Platte all year long,” Stobbs said. “And it’s fun to be a part of it.
“It’s the little things you can do to help.”
This year’s NebraskalandDays runs June 15-25. The Buffalo Bill Rodeo kicks off the celebration June 15-18 with nightly performances at 8 p.m. The 2022 Summer Jam Concert Series Lineup presented by Viaro Wireless includes Tim McGraw on June 25 and Miranda Lambert on June 26.
Tickets are available online at NebraskalandDays.com and at the gate.
For more information and a complete schedule of events, visit the website or call the office at (308) 532-7939.
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