CSU equine veterinarians form partnership with Cheyenne Frontier Days
July 7, 2017
Horses at the 2017 Cheyenne Frontier Days will have access to the best medical care, if they need it, thanks to a new partnership with the equine veterinary program at Colorado State University.
For the first time in the 120-year history of the iconic Western celebration, a team representing CSU's equine clinical services program will be on site in July to help provide an estimated 2,000 elite equine athletes and owners with round-the-clock medical care.
CSU and Cheyenne Frontier Days formed the new services partnership to offer additional veterinary expertise for contestants and horses competing in preliminary rodeo (slack) competition, and main event performances sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. CSU equine veterinarians and students will augment the work of Heather Schneider, arena veterinarian, and other clinicians who provide regular veterinary care at Cheyenne Frontier Days.
"We're the largest outdoor professional rodeo in the world, and it is prudent to provide the very best veterinary care we can for our athletes, both human and animal," said Tom Hirsig, CEO of Cheyenne Frontier Days.
The "Daddy of 'em All" attracts top professional cowboys and cowgirls from across the U.S., Canada, and beyond, starting with early rounds of competition, or slack, on July 17. Ticketed rodeo performances will run daily July 21-30.
Cheyenne Frontier Days has earned the PRCA Large Outdoor Rodeo of the Year award 16 times. Rodeo professionals annually compete for more than $1 million in cash and prizes, making the summertime Western festival a must-do event for top competitors and rodeo fans alike. More than 500,000 people attend all events each year.
The CSU veterinary team will focus its efforts on privately owned horses that compete in the timed events of barrel racing, tie-down roping, team roping, and steer wrestling.
The university's Equine Ambulatory Service will offer on-site medical care in response to illness and injuries. CSU's Equine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Service will offer a range of veterinary support for performance horses, much as sports medicine teams help human athletes prevent or recover from injury.
"We want to help these horses stay sound, fit, and feeling good so they can go into the arena and compete at their best," Hirsig said.
CSU Equine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation veterinarians address soreness and lameness in performance horses, with diagnostic and therapeutic procedures including digital radiographs, ultrasound, acupuncture, chiropractic care, shock-wave therapy and hydration. Such care is important in maintaining the health and wellness of competitive performance horses that travel to rodeos through the summer.
"CSU veterinarians are looking forward to caring for these top equine athletes at this legendary rodeo in Wyoming's capital, just 50 miles north of the university's Fort Collins campus," said Christopher Kawcak, director of Equine Clinical Services at the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
CSU equine veterinarians will work at Frontier Park each day; joining them will be veterinary student volunteers. The experience will be invaluable for veterinary students and residents planning to specialize in equine medicine, Kawcak said.
"This is an exciting partnership that will allow us to supplement the veterinary services available at one of the world's best-known rodeos, which happens to be in our backyard," Kawcak said. "It's a great venue for us to provide an immersive educational experience for our students in real-life, performance-horse medicine."
The partnership also will showcase CSU's equine expertise, as the university plans to construct a state-of-the-art horse hospital, to be called the Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Family Equine Hospital, adjacent to its existing Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
"Cheyenne Frontier Days maintains a longstanding commitment to animal care and welfare. Adding to the veterinary resources available daily at Frontier Park will serve to further this commitment," Hirsig said.