Cheyenne Frontier Days — the “Daddy of ’em All” has been going strong since 1897 and justly deserves its title of the World’s Largest Outdoor Rodeo. It has been voted by the cowboys the Large Outdoor Rodeo fifteen times since 1993 and has won that award every year since 2004.
Competing at Frontier Days has become a status symbol and it is rumored that contestants who have won at Cheyenne prefer to sport their CFD championship buckles even more so than a world champion buckle.
Approximately 1,800 contestants competed for a total purse of cash and prizes of $1 million, the largest purse award in regular season pro rodeo. There are so many contestants competing for the coveted spots in the rodeo performances that four days of Slack are required to whittle that number down to the best-of-the-best. The smallest group was Barrel Racing which had 187 contestants vying for spots in the regular performances! There are many small rodeos that do not have that many contestants total.
Slack is a great time to see the rodeo action at Cheyenne Frontier Days. The atmosphere is more relaxed, and, best of all, Slack is totally free.
The outdoor arena at Frontier Days is absolutely huge. In fact, this is world’s largest outdoor rodeo arena. It is the focal point of a 100-acre park with barns, grandstands, exhibit halls, and food facilities. The arena is over 700 feet long and 200 feet wide! The seating capacity for the rodeos is 15,000 and over 20,000 for the night shows.
To put that into perspective, the Thomas and Mack Arena in Las Vegas where the PRCA holds the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the Super Bowl of rodeo, is a basketball court for the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.
What began as a small local event in 1897 has grown to a “bucket list” event that is two weeks long and includes parades, pancake breakfasts, world-class concerts, chili and chuck wagon cook-offs, a carnival, exhibits, Indian Village, military open houses and performances by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and, of course the event that started it all, nine Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) rodeos.
With the exception of the rodeos, the Old West Museum, and the big name concerts, everything is free.
And these free events are not small. Take for interest the Pancake Breakfast where volunteers will serve up more than 100,000 flapjacks made from 5,000 pounds of pancake mix, cook-up 3,000 pounds of ham, serve 9,200 cartons of milk and 520 gallons of coffee, along with 630 pounds of butter and 475 gallons of syrup!
Cheyenne Frontier Days is a celebration of the West and its traditions that has to be experienced by every fan of the American West. Frontier Days has 2,300 volunteers that come from all over the United States, whose goal it is to make sure your visit to the “Daddy of ’em All” will be something to remember forever. ❖
Editor’s Note: Last week this story was run inadvertently with part of the text missing. To see more photos please visit www.theFencePost.com.