They say records are made to be broken, and that certainly was the case at the 127th Cheyenne Frontier Days (CFD).
The event that started in 1897 is a full-blown celebration of the Western Lifestyle that includes rodeos, concerts, parades, Indian Village, trade shows, carnival and more.
National Day of the Cowboy has become synonymous with CFD’s opening Saturday, the first performance of the rodeo. July 22 and the second Saturday, July 29 rodeos were sold out.
Rodeo competition started July 15 with contestants qualifying for a spot in the Quarter Finals of the tournament-style rodeo. Throughout the competition nearly 1,600 competitors were after a piece of the $1.2 million purse.
The rodeo’s Quarter Finals were July 22 – 27 with the highest scores and fastest times advancing to the Semi Finals July 28 – 29. Championship Sunday featured 12 contestants in each event where the highest score or fastest time won. Two records were set during that performance. In the saddle bronc riding, Louisiana’s Ryder Sanford rode world champion bucking horse The Black Tie for 92.5 points beating the previous 91 set in 2010. The barrel racing was extremely fast with South Dakotan Summer Kosel beating the arena record she set here last year. Kosel stopped the clock in 16.97 seconds. Then Sue Smith, from Idaho, had her turn and had a 16.89-second run.
Through nine rodeo performances, 116,960 fans were in attendance, a significant increase from 108,662 last year. The Quarter Finals, Semi Finals, and Finals were broadcast live on The Cowboy Channel. Additionally, RFD-TV broadcast competition and qualifying rounds were available on The Cowboy Channel+ app.
CFD officials continued their quest to bring light to suicide prevention and awareness through the Pick-Up Man Initiative Combats Suicide and yellow feathers on cowboy hats were prevalent. It encourages people to “pick up” someone in need. “The World Needs More Cowboys” is a very popular song that Wyoming’s own Chancey Williams wrote and performs. CFD is behind that and partnered with Williams to promote anti-bullying, respect, and kindness.
All branches of the military were honored on Military Monday with active personnel and veterans receiving free admission. Special opening ceremonies featured military personnel and their families bringing in a big American Flag, a parade on the track of military vehicles and recognition of Gold Star families.
Frontier Nights was very popular with 134,134 in attendance compared to 103,798 last year. Part of the entertainment was Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Team Series. This year’s PBR had 18,448 in attendance, slightly down from 19,756. It was broadcast on CBS Sports Network and Ride Pass on Pluto TV. In addition to rodeo and night show tickets, there were 32,399 gate admission tickets sold bringing total attendance to 283,493.
Animals are the centerpiece of Frontier Days with approximately 6,500 of them included in the rodeo, parades, and bull riding. On-site veterinarians checked animals multiple times daily. Only four animals required treatment and unfortunately two did not recover.
Four parades and three pancake breakfasts were part of the celebration in downtown Cheyenne. Fans lined the streets for the parades featuring all kinds of horsepower and celebrating CFD’s history. The Kiwanis worked to feed 18,588 pancake breakfasts.
The Native American Indian Village on Frontier Park had activities for all ages, from storytelling, hoop dancing, flute playing and seeing authentic crafts. Approximately 46,824 people made their way through the village.
“Wow, just wow,” said John Contos, CFD General Chairman who is finishing the first of his three-year term. “This marks my fortieth year of being involved with Frontier Days and it is an incredible event. We have amazing volunteers and a very supportive community. CFD has a legendary reputation, and we couldn’t do it without everyone involved, from volunteers to sponsors, staff, competitors, and performers. There are a lot of cogs in the wheels that turn, and we are dedicated to making the world’s best Western celebration even better next year. We can’t thank everyone involved enough.”