New app lets visitors be part of rodeo rides at the 2019 Cheyenne Frontier Days
for the Greeley Tribune
Cheyenne Frontier Days
4610 Carey Ave., Cheyenne, WY
Information and tickets: http://www.cfdrodeo.com or (307) 778-7222
Parking for the rodeo is $20 per vehicle with access at Warren Avenue or Carey Avenue. No overnight parking is allowed and parking lots close at 1 a.m.
Park-N-Ride options are also available at I-25 and Happy Jack for $10. Shuttle buses will be running all day between the Park-N-Ride and rodeo grounds.
While the rodeo does not have a clear-bag policy, there are bag restrictions.
Bags allowed in the general area of the ground must be no larger than 14 inches wide by 14 inches long by 14 inches deep.
Attendees are allowed to bring one small, clutch-type purse, no larger than 4.5 inches by 6.5 inches into the Party Zone area.
All bags are subject to inspection at any time. Coolers are prohibited and outside food, beverages, bottles, laser lights and weapons are not allowed.
Tickets into the park are $5 per person. Admission is included with rodeo or concert tickets.
Attendees can purchase tickets for single-day admittance or seasonal passes for the entire week. A variety of ticket packages are offered for both the rodeo and concert series. Prices vary depending on the package.
Carnival ride armbands are $30 per day or $100 for the entire week.
If you didn’t get your fill of rodeo action at the Greeley Stampede, no need to fret. Cheyenne Frontier Days, known as the “Daddy of ’em all,” is right around the corner.
Touted as the world’s largest outdoor rodeo and Western celebration, the event runs from July 19-28 offering concerts, rodeo competitions, an airshow, a Wild West show and a variety of family friendly activities like a petting zoo, arts and craft exhibits, a carnival, vendor booth, food stands and more.
The rodeo was originally started by the Union Pacific Railroad in 1897 as something similar to Greeley’s “Potato Day,” Tom Hirsig, Cheyenne Frontier Days president and CEO said. The event was originally called “Frontier Day” but after running out of daylight, organizers decided to expand the event to two days the following year. As the popularity of the rodeo increased, organizers eventually expanded the event to its current weeklong celebration.
Currently, the rodeo draws around 200,000 visitors with an operating budget of $14 million, Hirsig said.
“Not many people know this, but the Cheyenne Frontier Days is not a city-owned facility,” Hirsig said. “The park grounds and buildings were all built by Cheyenne Frontier Days volunteers. State taxes do not fund the rodeo.”
Some of the new events and exhibits at this year’s rodeo are the Fort Carson Cavalry, an antique car and carriage show, women’s ranch bronc riding and mini wild horse races.
Performers scheduled for the rodeo’s 2019 Frontier Nights concert series are Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts, Josh Turner, Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban, Post Malone and Tim McGraw. Tickets for the concerts range from $65 up to $110.
The Professional Bull Rider’s Last Cowboy Standing event features the Top-40 bull riders taking on professional rodeo’s highest ranked bulls in an attempt to make it to the 8-second buzzer to advance in the competition.
The rodeo will be introducing a new tournament style format, making it easier for novice rodeo watchers to follow competitors through the ranks, Hirsig said.
“Almost 85% of our visitors are first-time rodeo watchers, so they don’t understand everything that is going on,” Hirsig said. “But they do understand tournaments and winners, so every day there will be a winner announced and that person will move on to the semi-finals and finals.”
In addition to the tournament style format, visitors can be part of the action through a virtual app on their phone.
The app will allow players to predict rodeo riders’ scores and earn points toward prizes like Wrangler jeans and gift cards. The app can be downloaded through the App Store or Google Play by searching for CFDRodeo.
“People don’t just want to sit in the stands and watch, they want to be interactive,” Hirsig said. “Anyone can play, and you don’t have to be at the rodeo to play.”
Along with bull riding, cowboys and cowgirls will be demonstrating their skills at saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, team roping, barrel racing, steer wresting and a wild horse race.
In addition to watching rodeo stars perform, attendees will have the chance to meet some of the top rodeo riders on Tuesday, July 23 at the “Meet the Rodeo Stars” event. The event features a Q&A session as well as photo and autograph opportunities. Tickets for the event are $24.99 for VIP and $19.99 for general admission.
The CFD Old West Museum, 4610 Carey Ave., allows visitors to take a trip back in time to the birth of the rodeo through digital exhibits and displays, and Western artifacts. While the museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., hours are extended during the rodeo to 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets to the museum are $10 per person.
When you’re tired and need a break from walking around the grounds, the Garden offers shaded sitting areas along with live music from David Gautreau, Third Rail, Leslie Tom and more.
Get the little ones into the spirit of the Wild West at the stick horse races. Children ages 3 through 8 years old will have the chance to show off their rodeo riding skills at the event.
Hit the dance floor for some two-stepping from 11 a.m. to midnight at the Buckin’ A Saloon. The tented area offers live music, dancing and a full service bar. Entry into the saloon is free and attendees must be 21 years or older.
One of the more impressive events of the rodeo is the free pancake breakfast where volunteers cook and serve more than 100,000 pancakes, 3,000 pounds of ham, 9,200 cartons of milk, 520 gallons of coffee, 630 pounds of butter and 475 gallons of syrup.
“It’s a lot of pancakes,” Hirsig said, laughing. “They mix up the batter with cement mixers.”
The USAF Thunder Birds air show and the Grand Parade are popular free events, Hirsig said.
The air show begins at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 24 at the F.E. Warren Air Force Base at 5105 Randall Ave. Visitors for the show enter the base at Gate 1 and hop a shuttle to the viewing area. Parking for the air show opens at 6 a.m.
The parade steps off at 9 a.m. on July 20, 23, 25 and 27 in front of the Wyoming Capitol, heading south along Capitol Avenue, west along Lincoln Way and north along Carey Avenue. ❖