July 19-28, 2024

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COWBOYS TO WATCH

Rough Stock Events – Bareback, Saddle Bronc and Bull Riding

Saddle bronc riding is known as the classic event of rodeo and was one of the first included in Cheyenne Frontier Day’s rodeo. Today’s event promises to be exciting with second-generation stars making a bid for their own CFD buckle.

Zeke Thurston from Big Valley, Alberta is one of the winningest bronc riders going down the road today. The eight-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) qualifier is currently third in the world standings. He has three world titles to his credit including the one he earned in Las Vegas last December. Zeke is following in his father’s footsteps and they both have Wyoming ties. He went to college in Sheridan. His father Skeeter Thurston went to Casper. While Zeke has earned titles across the U.S. and Canada, CFD’s has eluded him. Skeeter never won the saddle bronc riding here either, but he did win the rookie bronc riding in 1982.

Rod Hay won this rodeo in 2000 and now he has two sons trying to get that buckle for the family. Logan rode in the first performance and is advancing to the Semi Finals. Today it is Dawson’s turn. The three-time NFR qualifier is coming off of a big win at the Calgary Stampede and is hoping that momentum continues at Frontier Park. He is currently fifth in the world standings and will be working towards the family’s first gold buckle at the NFR in December.

Also look for Wild West Wade Sundell to make his mark in the arena. Sundell tied for the title here in 2013 and would like to see his name alone at the top of the leaderboard. Sundell has been riding bucking horses in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association since 2007 and a stop at CFD has been part of his schedule for most of those years. He is among the top 40 in the world standings and a win here could give him a big boost.

Jess Pope is the reigning world champion bareback rider after finishing third in 2020 and second in 2021. Pope, from Waverly, Kansas, went to school at Missouri Valley College which has produced the likes of Tim O’Connell and Tanner Aus. He is currently 12th in the world standings and has some ground to make up. A win here would add his name to the list of MVU athletes that have won titles here. He is known for his positive outlook and lives by the saying, “The view from the windshield is a lot bigger than the one from the rearview mirror.”

Today’s bull riding sees the second group of contestants making the first of two performances. Among them is the reigning and two-time college champion Tristan Hutchings. Hutchings also qualified for last years’ NFR and finished third in the world standings. He is currently eighth in the world and is on track to be back in Vegas in December.

Timed Events – Steer Wrestling, Team, Tie-Down, Breakaway Roping and Barrel Racing

Rodeo action at Frontier Park started on July 15th with qualifying competition. That was where a jaw-dropping record-setting tie-down roping run was set on Monday, July 17. Tyler Milligan from Bartlesville, Oklahoma, stopped the clock in 9.3 seconds and won $5,172 to jump start his Cheyenne Frontier Days. Milligan is riding a mare that he bought from Ryan Thibodeaux who tied for the win here last year with Cory Solomon who is also competing here today. Tyson Durfey, the 2016 world champion is also in the mix. He has cut back his rodeos and is working as a coach and mentor for rodeo athletes.

Linsay Rosser Sumpter is playing double duty in her rodeo career. The Fowler, Colorado, resident has qualified for the Quarter Finals in breakaway roping, a spot she is very thankful to be in. She also has two full-time jobs, first as a rodeo coach at Otero Junior College in La Junta, Colorado and also as the commissioner of Women’s Rodeo World Championships which are produced in part by the Professional Bull Riders. Sumpter has made the finals here before and is looking to be there again this year.

Jess Tierney, another rodeo coach, has also advanced to the Quarter Finals in team roping. He oversees the rodeo program at Western Oklahoma State College. He will be roping here today with Jett Hillman who grew up in Sterling, Colorado, and now also lives in Oklahoma.

Barrel racing will see former NFR qualifier Tracy Nowlin who has been known for years for training her own horses. She will be on one of those today, a mare known as Dolly that she found on Facebook as a rope horse prospect for her son. When that didn’t work out, she followed her instincts and started her on barrels. Dolly is the mare that she went to the NFR on. She is 36th in the world standings and a win here would improve that position significantly. The rodeo committee is working hard here to keep ground conditions even and safe for barrel racers and are working the ground midway through the competition daily. Jessica Routier will be running at the top of the ground after the drag and we expect her to have a fast time. Routier is a former college champion and has qualified for the NFR for five consecutive years. Her qualifications started in 2018 and have come aboard Fiery Miss West, a 12-year-old mare known as Missy.

Steer wrestling is always exciting at Frontier Park and today promises to live up to its reputation. Along with several up and comers, the 2019 world champion Ty Erickson from Montana has yet to win a title here. Erickson was 6.1 in the qualifying competition and added $2,991 to his earnings. One of those rising stars is Walt Arnold, the 2022 college champion. He competed at the CNFR representing Tarleton State University shortly after graduating with a degree in Criminal Justice.

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Museum Presents 42nd Western Spirit Art Show

The 42nd Annual Western Spirit Juried Art Show & Sale will take place from Saturday, March 11 to April 23, 2023 at the CFD Old West Museum. On March 11, the Opening Reception begins at 5 p.m. for Museum Members and 6 p.m. for non-Members. There will be hors d’oeuvres and drinks available for attendees at the Opening Reception. There will also be a “Quick Draw” event where artists featured in the show will paint live. These pieces will be up for auction that same evening.

Artwork from Western Spirit and the Vandewark Miniature Show will go on sale at the Opening Reception on March 11, but if purchasers are unable to attend that night, buyers can fill out a Proxy Form or wait for the work to go on sale from March 12 to April 23 both at the Museum and online. To purchase online or to find out more information on the show visit https://www.oldwestmuseum.org/spirit

Admission for the Western Spirit Opening Reception on March 11, 2023

  • Non-Museum Member: $65
  • Museum Member: $55

Western Spirit started in 1982 as a sibling show to the Cheyenne Frontier Days™ Western Art Show and Sale. Over the last forty years, Western Spirit has grown to become the premier western juried art show in the Rocky Mountain region for emerging perspectives in western art. This exhibition differentiates itself by providing an open call to local and national artists who create superior artwork beyond the classic western themes presented in our summer exhibition.

Quick Facts: 

What: Western Spirit Art Show and Sale

When: Saturday, March 11, 2023. Opening Reception for Museum Members Only begins at 5 p.m. Reception opens for all guests starting at 6 p.m. The show can be seen through Sunday, April 23, 2023 during regular Museum hours.

Where: Cheyenne Frontier Days™ Old West Museum – 4610 Carey Ave, Cheyenne, WY 82001

Cost: Opening Reception: – $55 for Museum Members, $65 for Non-Museum Members;

How: Tickets to the Opening Reception can be purchased by calling 307-778-7243 or visiting https://www.oldwestmuseum.org/spirit

Contact: Amanda Byzewski, Art Shows & Events Coordinator, amanda.byzewski@oldwestmuseum.org (307) 778-7289

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CFD Portrayed in Murder Mystery

“ROUGH RIDE busts right out of the chute and it twists and bucks until the last page. It’s a fun inside-view primer that serves as a “behind-the-chutes” tour of the largest outdoor rodeo in America.” — C.J. Box, #1 New York Times best-selling author of SHADOWS REEL

Darcy Moreland is thrilled to be back in her old home town of Cheyenne, Wyoming and working as a reporter for the local TV station, KCWY. As a bonus, Zach Horton, an old college friend, is station manager and now her boss. On her first assignment covering the carnival midway of Cheyenne Rodeo Days, a body drops from the top of the Ferris wheel inches from her videographer who was lying on the asphalt to get a special shot. Darcy knew the girl and her family which only galvanizes her determination to find the cause of Bridget’s death. Her investigation hits a snag in the form of CPD Detective Hank Nelson, who warns her to stay out of the investigation. Darcy decides Hank is attractive but annoying. She ignores his warnings. Another body drops. Chaos ensues. So far it has been a rough ride. Can Darcy solve both murders by the end of Cheyenne Rodeo Days?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Paulla is a long-time resident of Cheyenne, Wyoming. She lives in a historic downtown area of the city with her husband, Roger Schreiner, a volunteer and past chairman at CFD. She is a member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Sisters in Crime, and Wyoming Writers. She earned her B.A. from the University of Wyoming in English, Speech and Drama. She has a passion for history, reading, theatre, travel, and obviously writing.

Her book, Rough Ride, is her first published novel. It’s the first in the Darcy Moreland Mystery Series and all take place in Cheyenne, WY. With shows like Yellowstone, 1883, and rising popularity of all things Western, her book fits perfectly into this popular genre and is loosely based off of CFD.

Website: www.paullahunternovels.com
Insta & FB: @paullahunternovels

WHERE TO BUY:
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RODEO CONTESTANTS TO WATCH

Rough Stock Events – Bareback, Saddle Bronc and Bull Riding:

The field has been narrowed in each of our events, from 72 in bareback and saddle bronc riding to 24 and from 60 in the bull riding down to 30. The top six in each of these events will advance from today directly to Sunday’s Championship Finals.

That’s good for Seth Lee Hardwick, who hopes to be the first contestant that calls Wyoming home to win the bareback riding championship in the last six decades. Seth’s success here came yesterday and while he wasn’t first, he was among the top four to advance to the Semi-Finals. Today, he is getting on Sankey Pro Rodeo and Phenom Genetic’s horse named South Land’s Mental Illness, a bucker that could easily get him into the 80-point range. There are two former CFD champions competing today, Orin Larsen who got the title here in 2016 and Will Lowe who is a three-time winner (2009, 2012 and 2018). Today could be a turning point for Waylon Bourgeois. The rising star is second in the PRCA Resistol Rookie of the Year standings and 21st in the world.

Saddle bronc riding will see a whole slate of riders trying to get their first Cheyenne buckle. Among them is two-time world champion Zeke Thurston and Wyatt Casper who is currently third in the world standings and will be headed to his third NFR in December. Wyatt won the rodeo yesterday, won first and is hoping to keep his momentum rolling. Zeke is one of four Canadians competing today. The odds are in their favor that at least one of them will advance to Sunday’s Championship Finals. If they do and finish at the top of the board, they would be the first Canadian to win a saddle bronc riding title in Frontier Park in nearly 20 years.

Trevor Reiste comes into today’s bull riding as a favorite, as the only bull rider that won both rounds of his competition. He is hoping to make it three in a row today and be in contention for a CFD buckle. There are three men that have older brothers that have competed here and missed getting a championship. Trey Kimzey’s older brother Sage is a seven-time world champion. Tyler Bingham’s brother Tim as well as Josh Frost’s brother Joe each won college championships and have multiple NFR qualifications to their credit. If any of the younger brothers win, it will be the first for their families.

Timed Events – Steer Wrestling, Team, Tie-Down, Breakaway Roping and Barrel Racing

The top six in each of these events today will advance to Sunday’s Championship Finals.

There’s a big difference between the arena at CFD and the Thomas and Mack where the NFR is held, but eight of today’s tie-down ropers have shown that they are competitive in any situation. Mike Johnson will be a crowd favorite. The 23-time NFR qualifier also won championships here in 1997 and 2003. He is the veteran of the field at 58 years old. Today’s competition could be a game changer for Quade Hiatt. The rising star is the grandson of world champion Butch Myers and Butch’s son Rope is his uncle. If Quade advances and is at the top of the board on Sunday, he would be the first member of his family to win a CFD title. His uncle Cash Myers is among the steer roping qualifiers for Championship Sunday.

There’s a good chance for Wyoming in today’s team roping. Clayton Van Aken, who is a UW graduate will be heading for Jayden Johnson from Casper. Jayden’s cousins and two-time college champions Kellan and Carson Johnson are also roping today. Clay Tryan and Jade Corkill who both have world and CFD titles to their credits had the fastest time yesterday and will hope to build on their success today.

Eli Lord won the steer wrestling here the first time the rodeo featured a tournament-style format in 2019. He is in the mix today and will be competing with NFR qualifier Rowdy Parrott who moved in on Wednesday. Parrott is highest in the world standings at 15. Talon Roseland is 20th and Eli is 24th. Today’s competition could move them up in the world standings. Talon and Eli are looking for their first trip to Las Vegas to compete at the NFR. This would be Rowdy’s third.

The fan favorite breakaway roping features two of the top three women in the WPRA standings. Erin Johnson is highest at number one. Johnson, 42, has been a member of the WPRA since 2007 and has three world titles on her resume. She’s experienced the rapid recent growth of her event and qualified for the first National Finals Breakaway Roping (NFBR) in 2020 and again in 2021. The ranch-raised mother of two rides a horse her father trained. Martha Angelone is ranked third in the world standings, about $9,000 behind Johnson. The Virginia native knew she needed to move to Texas if she wanted to become a world-class roper and she accomplished that goal. She finished as the reserve world champion in 2020 after winning the average at the inaugural NFBR and finished fifth last season. Emma Charleston won her quarter-final with a time of 3.1 seconds, just one-tenth of a second off the arena record. She’s a two-event cowgirl who is currently ranked 12 in the barrel racing world standings.

Andrea Busby may call Brock, Texas, home now, but her Wyoming roots are as deep as Cheyenne Frontier Days. She grew up near Lusk on a ranch that her family began in 1910. Busby had one of the fastest times of the quarterfinal competition. Two of today’s barrel racers have qualified for the WNFR and are poised to do so again. Cheyenne Wimberly has five NFR qualifications. Her first two came in 1997-1998. She took a break from professional rodeo for two decades, next making the field in Las Vegas in 2019. This season she’s ranked 9th. Jimmie Smith-Tew of McDade, Texas, just got married in May. She is ranked 15th in the standings and every penny she wins here can help her return to the NFR after missing last year. Sarah Rose Waguespack is another former NFR barrel racer. She made a big splash a few years ago as Sarah Rose McDonald riding a roan mare called Bling. She married world champion steer wrestler Tyler Waguespack and is back barrel racing at the highest level on a grandson of Bling.