Pandemic forces cancellation of 2020 Cheyenne Frontier Days
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Cheyenne Frontier Days announced that public health and safety concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic have forced the cancellation of the 2020 festival scheduled for July 17-26. This decision was made in conjunction with the other major summertime events in Wyoming and is in accordance with Gov. Mark Gordon’s direction and state and local health orders. This is the first time in the 124-year history of the iconic celebration of Western culture that Cheyenne Frontier Days will not be held.
Commonly referred to as the “Daddy of em’ All,” Cheyenne Frontier Days is the world’s largest outdoor rodeo and Western celebration. Rodeo contestants rely on the Cheyenne event to be one of the largest payouts on the annual PRCA rodeo circuit. It also features some of country music’s biggest stars performing before sold-out crowds at the Frontier Nights concerts.
“This has been an incredibly difficult decision, but in the end, it was the only choice,” Tom Hirsig, Cheyenne Frontier Days CEO said. “The health and safety of our fans, volunteers, contestants, first responders, healthcare workers and everyone in our community is the only thing that matters right now. The only responsible decision was to put their safety first,” General Chairman Jimmy Dean Siler added.
Hirsig said CFD knows how devastating this decision will be for many fans who return year after year, as well as first-timers planning to come because “the Daddy” is on their bucket list. The cancellation will also have a severe economic impact in the community. Hundreds of thousands of people attend CFD concerts, rodeo performances and the related Western events each year, contributing tens of millions of dollars to the local economy.
In 2019, visitors spent over $28 million during Cheyenne Frontier Days’ 10-day run, generating over $1 million in local and state taxes, more than $5 million for overnight lodging, and almost $9 million for retail businesses. It also created over 300 jobs resulting in $5 million in wages and salaries during the event.
“I know what this means for rodeo in Cheyenne,” Gov. Gordon said. “The financial and emotional impact this announcement has on our community, rodeo fans, and especially the contestants, is immense. But it is the right thing to do, and together we are committed to making 2021 the best Daddy of em’ All ever.”
In addition, the event raises funds for the CFD Old West Museum, a year-round attraction that showcases artifacts celebrating Cheyenne Frontier Days history and Western culture. Cheyenne Frontier Days also supports The Volunteer Crisis Fund, which provides emergency monetary assistance to event volunteers when needed and the Cheyenne Frontier Days™ Memorial Foundation, which provides scholarships for volunteers and their dependents. The Cheyenne Frontier Days™ Foundation, Inc. was recently established to support the charitable and educational aspects of the celebration.
Hirsig said CFD will be contacting sponsors and vendors to discuss their options, including refunding their fees, donating a portion of their fees to the CFD Foundation, or extending an account credit for the 2021 celebration.
Fans who have already purchased rodeo or concert tickets are asked to visit the CFD website for information about account credit roll overs or refunds at http://www.cfdrodeo.com. The Thomas Rhett, Eric Church and Blake Shelton shows have been rescheduled as part of the 2021 lineup and tickets will be reissued when 2021 tickets go on sale.
“Nobody knows how long this pandemic will last, but we look forward to welcoming our fans back to Cheyenne to enjoy some of our famous Western hospitality in July 2021,” Hirsig said.
“We have an amazing staff, an awesome General Committee, incredibly generous and loyal sponsors, and the hardest working group of passionate volunteers anyone could ever hope for. We are shifting our focus to planning for the 125th “Daddy of ’em All” next year and our goal is to deliver a show you will never forget,” Siler said.
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This the first in a six-part series of articles covering basic water law in the United States, predominately in the western part of the country, and how it affects this finite resource.