The city that’s trying to do the best job of keeping the Old West alive is Cheyenne. Its yearly celebration called Frontier Days is in its 123rd year in 2019. In July Ruth and I went through Wyoming’s capital city and got caught up in the festivities. We only regret that we didn’t stay for more than the Grand Parade that opened more than a week of events. Since we had enjoyed it immensely on a previous visit, we stayed in the Plains Hotel downtown. It had not changed and was packed with people who had come for Frontier Days. Parking on the street was still required, and the Grand Parade complicated this. We would not be able to get to our car during the parade. I wrote about The Plains on September 5, 2015. There to see its capitol building, we learned that it was about to close for several years for a complete restoration. That is now compete.
Cheyenne Frontier Days is consistently advertised as “the Daddy of ’em All” because it is. What began in 1897 as an annual treat for real cowboys on real ranches has become the world’s largest outdoor rodeo and Western celebration. Rodeo action occurs every day, and the nighttime entertainment is star-studded. This year Lady Antebellum, Keith Urban, and Miranda Lambert performed. The Grand Parade at 9 am on July 20th began a week of wild horse races, team roping, bull riding events, and that’s just the beginning. The original organizers of Frontier Days looked at the actual matches of cowboy skills on area ranches in planning it. The 2019 version entertained people from all 50 states and 23 foreign countries. This fact can be determined by ticket sales. Western art shows, Thunderbird aerial acrobatics, pancake breakfasts, and carnival action would occur often until closing day, July 28.
The Grand Parade was truly spectacular. Among other special features, it included a large collection of horse-drawn carriages. The witnesses began lining the streets up to the capitol building long before 9 am, and The Plains Hotel was on the parade route. Ruth and I walked the entire parade route, and Ruth watched the parade while I interviewed people in the refurbished Capitol Building. On the way there, we enjoyed the ambiance, the public sculptures, and the focus on horsemanship.
If this sounds like something you would like to experience, the 2020 Frontier Days begin on July 17 and end on July 26. Blake Shelton is scheduled to perform on the 25th, so don’t wait to get tickets.