By Will Luna, CFD Concessions Committee
You may have seen a crazy group at one of Cheyenne Frontier Days’ Grand Parades; running around, high-fiving kids, and showing their love and support for the CFD brand. But, do you know where they originated?
The Arrowhead Gang originated in the mid-to-late 90s from former Concessions Chairman Joe Prunty. Prunty was attending the Calgary Stampede and saw a group of individuals “riding” fake horses constructed from half a 55-gallon barrel with suspenders to support the weight, the legs sticking out of the bottom and the person walking, giving the illusion of someone riding a horse! Prunty brought back the idea to the Concessions Committee where four barrel horses were constructed and members participated during the pancake breakfast and pre-show entertainment before Frontier Nights.
The group didn’t have a name, or any official title, just some fun loving volunteers having a good time and adding to the CFD experience! The tradition continued from 1998-2000 when Marty Luna (an original member) became chairman and branded the group “The Arrowhead Gang.” The group was built as a rough bunch of outlaws, equipped with more horses, official CFD Arrowhead Gang jackets and beat up hats. The group was added to more events including pancake breakfasts, all Grand Parades, Frontier Nights pre-show entertainment, and at one point even had a part in the rodeo on the photo pit. The Arrowhead Gang also ventured out to promote the overall brand of Cheyenne Frontier Days participating in parades and events such as Nebraska Land Days, National Western Stock Show Parade, Denver St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Greeley Stampede Parade, Children’s Hospital of Denver Visits, and many more.
In the mid-2000s a mild theme change occurred switching from a rough and wild bandit group to more of a traditional rodeo group. The addition of bulls and a barrel man occurred, and the group continued to participate in parades and other events. However, entertaining during the rodeo, night show, and pancake breakfasts went away.
Today there is a new, younger generation taking over the Arrowhead Gang. The group still continues with the traditional rodeo theme of horses, bulls, and barrel man, but have added a rodeo clown and custom built horses and bulls for members as young as 8 years of age. Each year you can see them in all of the Grand Parades and numerous events around the region, but they have added events such as Cheyenne New Years Eve Ball Drop, Laramie Jubilee Days and others to their resumes.
No doubt these individuals love CFD and embody the volunteer spirit. They love what they do, and do it like only they can, whooping and hollering and making sure the legacy of Cheyenne Frontier Days carries on the magic and entertainment for many more generations.