Cheyenne Frontier Days – A Community Celebration of the West

Spurs jingle every last week of July for Cheyenne Frontier Days.  For well over 100 years, Wyoming’s capital hosts the world’s largest outdoor rodeo known as the “Daddy of ‘em All.”  Belt buckles shine, boots bedazzle, and cowboy hats of all shapes and sizes accompany the nearly 250,000 attendees and participants of the 122 year old event.  Cheyenne Frontier Days kicked off this past weekend. Continue reading for a glimpse of what the whoopin’ and hollerin’ was all about.

Cheyenne Frontier DaysCheyenne Frontier Days

In 1897, Cheyenne gathered all the area cowboys together to see who was best, and the Cheyenne Frontier Days tradition carried on ever since drawing cowboys and fans to the city for the 10-day celebration of Western Heritage.  However, Cheyenne Frontier Days is more than just a rodeo competition.  There’s the Frontier Nights concert series, carnival midway, art show, chuckwagon cookoff, Indian Village, as well as events all around the town of Cheyenne.

Cheyenne Frontier Days

Cheyenne Frontier Days kicks off with a free parade that steps off from the Wyoming State Capitol Building to Cheyenne Depot Square and back. Marching in the Frontier Days Parade are horses, dignitaries, carriages, vintage vehicles, marching bands, and the military.  Cheyenne Frontier Days Parade is so popular, it is offered 4X over the course of the 10 day festival.

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In addition to the free parade, Cheyenne hosts a complimentary pancake breakfast at Depot Square that dates back to the 1950’s. Hosted by Cheyenne’s Kiwanis Club, over 100,000 pancakes are served during the three breakfasts (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) of Frontier Days.

Of course the “Daddy of ‘em All” headliner is the rodeo where 1,800 cowboys/cowgirls and 2,000 animal athletes compete for over $1,000,000 in prize money.  Yes, that’s right, I said, animal athletes.  Cheyenne Frontier Days has a long history of honoring its animal competitors.  In fact, back in 1897 Bill Jones won $25 as the first saddle bronc champion of Frontier Days, while the horse won $100.

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A great way to get an up-close look at the rodeo is with the Cheyenne Frontier Days “Behind-The-Chutes” Tours.  These free tours occur multiple times a day throughout the 10-day run of the event.  Guides start with a history of Frontier Days, and then walk guests on the path the bulls and broncs take to the arena.  After a walk across the arena floor, families can enter the chute for a photo behind the gates.

Cheyenne Frontier DaysCheyenne Frontier Days

Dating back to the second Frontier Days in 1898, American Indians have held a special place at the festival. A Native American Indian Village occupies a permanent spot in Frontier Park, and members of local and regional tribes teach visitors about traditional customs, dances, and heritage.  Each day there are free performances of music, dance, and storytelling, culminating with a traditional Pow Wow.

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Adjacent to Frontier Days’ rodeo arena is a Carnival Midway to rival any state fair – filled with rides and games.  There’s also an assortment of carnival food from fried oreos to fried dough.

Cheyenne Frontier Days

Exhibit areas contain variety of merchandise including clothing, art, and a fine selection of traditional Western jewelry.

Cheyenne Frontier Days

Cheyenne Frontier Days is certainly a spectacle, but it couldn’t occur without the support of the community. The “Daddy of ’em All” needs the mommies and children too in order to pull it off because there’s only a dozen paid employees for the event. The rest of the work is done by over 2,500 volunteers, making Cheyenne Frontier Days a true community-wide project. The entire town embraces Cheyenne Frontier Days, takes pride in the event, and welcomes the world to the town.

DISCLOSURE: Cheyenne, Wyoming hosted Adventures by Daddy on this trip including airfare, room, meals and activities.  However, all opinions are those of the author. For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on instagramtwitter and “like” our facebook page too.

About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.