CHEYENNE, Wyo. (July 26, 2015) — With 119 years of history to build upon, Cheyenne Frontier Days (CFD) always has a lot to live up to and with the support of fans, volunteers and sponsors, this year’s celebration was a huge success.
Ten days of activities have become a tradition with multiple generations participating. From contestants to volunteers, people are following in their parent’s and grandparent’s footsteps, putting the last full week of July on the calendar. This year’s CFD was held July 17 – 26. To accommodate over 1,200 competitors, rodeo competition started with slack on July 14 and concluded with the championship finals on July 26, with nearly $1 million in cash and prizes paid to winners.
The heart and soul of CFD is the more than 2,500 volunteers who make all activities happen. Total attendance this year was 266,030 compared to 250,264 last year. It was the second largest crowd ever. Additionally, the first Saturday rodeo attendance was the third biggest Saturday in history. Monday’s rodeo crowd was the second largest and Wednesday was the third largest for those days of the week. The final Sunday had 13,385 fans watch ten champions crowned, the largest crowd since 2000. Total rodeo attendance was 98,246 up from 87,310 in 2014.
Old Frontier Town was once again a great attraction with 101,209 people participating in activities there. Frontier Nights® saw 120,215 attending concerts and the Championship Bull Riding World Finals which was held July 20 and 21 where Cody Teel won a $100,000 bonus for being crowned the year-end champion. Miranda Lambert on the first Saturday night had the biggest crowd of 19,451, the second largest audience for a female star in Frontier Nights’ history. Attendance at this year’s CBR World Finals was a new record with over 12,000.
The Indian Village had 51,295 visitors. Off-site activities included three pancake breakfasts that fed 25,190 and four Grand Parades with an estimated 100,000 spectators. Always popular, the free Behind the Chutes Tours gave 3,825 fans an opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at rodeo and learn about the events and animals.
This year’s celebration kicked off with the Cinch Shootout, featuring bareback riding, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, women’s barrel race and bull riding and $100,000 in prize money. Contestants were invited to compete representing one of eight of the largest rodeos in North America. Along with Cheyenne; Reno Rodeo; Calgary Stampede; National Western Stock Show Rodeo; San Antonio Stock Show Rodeo; Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo; Rodeo Austin and Rodeo Houston participated. Each event paid four places with the winner getting a $10,000 prize. A bonus was also given to the high-point team, the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo team also got a bonus.
“From start to finish, there has been an energy around the park that has been incredible,” said Darin Westby, general chairman. “Our volunteers have created that energy and I don’t know how they sustain it through all of the activities. It’s been an awesome year with a great sense of teamwork between our 10 committees and all of the people involved. We are very grateful to everyone.”
Animals are a mainstay of every CFD celebration with over 6,000 involved in the activities. Over three-fourths of them appeared in rodeo competition. A team of veterinarians inspected all animals at least twice daily. Comprehensive reports showed that 34 animals were examined and treated for illness or injury, less than half as many as in 2014. All but four of them were treated and released or found to be injury free — a 50% reduction from last year. Westby attributed the reduction to a focus on animal care and safety that CFD has been implementing for years.
The Justin Sportsmedicine Team, which included local volunteers, was on site for all of the rodeo athletes. They went through cases of tape, used lots of ice and heat to keep contestants at their best and had no serious injuries.
The U.S. Air Force Thunderbird Arial Demonstration held at Laramie County Community College had 16,846 people on site. Fort D.A Russell Days at Warren Air Force Base saw an increase of 2,000 people from last year with 23,896 in attendance.
“It certainly takes a team to have an event like this,” Westby added. “Every person that volunteered, attended, competed or participated in any way is appreciated. We believe in the traditions of Cheyenne Frontier Days and hope to celebrate for many years to come.”