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July 19-28, 2024

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CFD Decides Not to Host Horse Racing

Cheyenne Frontier Days has decided not to pursue a proposal to host parimutuel horse racing at Frontier Park. The proposal from Accel Entertainment offered to lease and make substantial upgrades to CFD’s infrastructure and facilities in return for CFD agreeing to host 16 days of live horse racing at Frontier Park.

The proposal to bring parimutuel horse racing back to Cheyenne was met with passionate opposition from neighbors and others concerned about issues related to noise, traffic, gambling and negative reports about animal safety at other horse racing venues. If CFD had decided to move forward, the proposal still would have needed approval from the Laramie County Commissioners, the Wyoming State Gaming Commission, and the Cheyenne City Council.

“A lot of people don’t realize that unlike many other sports venues, we are not subsidized by taxpayers. We rely entirely on privately generated revenue,” said Cheyenne Frontier Days CEO Tom Hirsig. “It’s our responsibility to consider reasonable options that could allow us to remain a premier bucket list event that draws hundreds of thousands to Cheyenne every year.”

CFD officials estimate needing in excess of $150 million over the next 20 years to repair or replace Chute 9, the aging west side grandstands, restroom facilities, and other areas that need upgrades. Revenue from horse racing could have contributed to addressing those needs, but the organization will now look for other potential options.

“We have always managed to meet big challenges by working with our community to arrive at creative solutions,” said Hirsig. “Cheyenne is our home and we take great pride in the CFD brand. We are committed to continue delivering a world class show that preserves and promotes Cheyenne’s history, culture and tradition.”

About Cheyenne Frontier Days

Since 1897, Cheyenne has celebrated its Old West roots with this eye-popping festival. The centerpiece of this Western celebration is the world’s largest outdoor rodeo, which draws top professionals who compete for more than $1 million in cash and prizes. Complementing the daily rodeo action are behind-the-chutes tours, trick riding and a wild-horse race. A Native American Village, an old frontier town, a saloon, dancing, a chuck wagon cook-off, pancake breakfasts and an art show carry through the frontier theme. Rounding out the program are a carnival midway, an air show, top-name entertainment, professional bull riding shows and several parades that include antique carriages and automobiles. Cheyenne Frontier Days takes place each summer during the last full week in July.