Posted by: Tommy | July 31, 2010

Cheyenne Frontier Days

On Thursday, we drove from Denver to Cheyenne, Wyoming for the Frontier Days Rodeo.  Known as the Daddy of ’em All, the Frontier Days Rodeo started in 1896 and has been named World’s Best Outdoor Rodeo for the last 6 years running.  This rodeo is pretty much how we decided the dates for our trip – we found out it would be going on around the time we wanted to go to Yellowstone, so we worked backwards to find a leave date that would get us to the rodeo on time.

I’m not much for country music or a lot of other “country” stuff, but I do love a good rodeo.  And this was the best I’d ever seen.  After 30 minutes of pre-rodeo introductions, sponsor shoutouts and other hoopla, the rodeo started strong with bullriding and never slowed down.  From about 1 pm until 4:30, we were treated to 3 rounds of bullriding, 3 rounds of bronc riding, 2 rounds of steer wrestling and steer roping and 1 round each of barrel racing, team roping and !!! wild horse racing!!!

The bull riding was exciting, as expected.  Only 3 cowboys managed to make it through an 8 second ride of the approximately 30 riders we saw.  But the unexpected best of the regular events was steer wrestling.  If you’ve never seen steer wrestling, I’ll explain.  A 400 lb. steer gets a 30 foot head start, running full speed away from the mounted cowboy.  The cowboy on horse chases the steer until he thinks he’s close enough, then he jumps of his horse going full speed and grabs the horns of the fast-moving steer and tries to wrestle him to the ground.  I’m not sure that that description does justice to the craziness of this event, but I’m not sure any written words could.  Now I wish I’d taken some slo-mo video.

The steer wrestling was cool, but the hands-down favorite event was the wild horse race.  In this event, 13 teams of 3 cowboys each compete to saddle and ride a wild mustang.  The handlers bring each 3 man team a wild horse, one that has never been in contact with humans other than to be brought to the rodeo for this specific event.  No other rodeo in the world has this event – just one of the many things that made Thursday great.  As soon as a member of the team takes the reins of the wild horse, the handler lets go and the team has to control their horse as best they can until all other teams have their horse and the event can begin.  One team lost their horse before the official start of the race and had lost before they began.

Once all teams have a horse, a gun is fired to start the race.  Of course, the gun scares the hell out of the horses and they all freaked out.  Several broke free and others carried their “rider” in an unorthodox and probably dangerous fashion across the track.  The goal of the race is to saddle the horse and ride it in a complete lap, in the correct direction, around the track.  One team managed to get their horse saddled and their cowboy up and moving well before anyone else.  There are no reins, so they just hold the saddle and hope the horse goes the right way.  When the first cowboy was making his way around the final turn, the crown stood to applaud and cheer.  This scared the horse, who promptly turned around and ran as fast as possible the wrong direction, away from the crown and the finish line.  Another horse and rider, going the right way, passed that horse and approached the finish line – but again, got scared and turned around.  After about 30 seconds, the first rider reemerged and claimed victory.  The emcee announced that they pay 3 places so we should wait for the rest of the riders to cross the line.   About that time, 7 horses came around the far corner and galloped for the finish line – completely riderless.  In fact, only the winning cowboy managed to cross the line at all.  We are pretty sure the horses won the day today.

After the rodeo, we headed back to the hotel (Jerry and Sally, Anna’s parents, are here and booked 2 rooms) for a drink and dinner before the evening concert.  After an enormous meal, we headed back to the rodeo for a Miranda Lambert-Dierks Bentley doubleheader.  I don’t have much to say about it – I only recognized 2 songs.  Some Miranda Lambert song that plays on the radio – and All My Exes Live in Texas, Dierks’s tribute to George Strait.  But the crowd was into it and Jack seemed to have a good time and that’s the whole reason we went to the concert anyway.  After a Sonic stop, back to the hotel for a final restful night. Friday we’ll drive for 8 hours and stay in Jackson.  I’m posting some rodeo pictures below.

Ultimately, this ride was unsuccessful.


One of many runaway horses during today's best event.


  1. […] for this trip, Wyoming had the most to offer. Wyoming had such attractions as the rodeo with the wild horse race, Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, delicious Thai food in Jackson, and we […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: