In 1897, Frederick W. Angier, Traveling Passenger Agent of the Union Pacific Railroad, suggested to the editor of the Cheyenne Daily Sun-Leader, a festival similar to Greeley, Colorado’s “Potato Day.” As a result of that suggestion, plans for the first “Frontier Day”, were formulated in the Tivoli Saloon at the corner of 16th Street and Carey. Events included pony races, bronco busting, and steer roping among others. At the time, these events were seen as a test of a cowboy’s skill. The inaugural event was so successful that the next year it was expanded to two days and a parade was added. The rodeo expanded as the years went on and more affiliated events were added. Its reputation increased as well. And today it is one of the most authentic and largest rodeo events in the world.
It draws top professionals who compete for more than $1 million in cash and prizes. Complementing the daily rodeo action are behind-the-chutes tours, trick riding and a wild-horse race. A Native American Village, an old frontier town, a saloon, dancing, a chuck wagon cook-off, pancake breakfasts and an art show carry through the frontier theme. Rounding out the program are a carnival midway, an air show, top-name entertainment, professional bull riding shows and several parades that include antique carriages and automobiles. Cheyenne Frontier Days takes place each summer during the last full week in July.
Cheyenne, the capital of Wyoming, was named after the Cheyenne Indian people who inhabited present-day southeastern Wyoming before white settlers came to the area Railroad surveyor General Grenville M. Dodge established his first camp on Crow Creek. The camp was ideally placed at the junction of many major routes leading to military camps throughout the region. With the coming of the railroad and the many supplies for Army camps, a depot was necessary, and the beginning of Cheyenne evolved. Within 15 years Cheyenne became known as the “Magic City of the Plains” and gained status as the “richest city of its size in the world.” Wealthy cattle barons from the East and abroad invested in the booming cattle industry and built huge, elaborate mansions in Cheyenne. Many of these historic landmarks are still standing today, including the Governor’s Mansion which is open to the public year-round.
Soldiers from Fort Russell provided the vital protection from the roving bands of hostile Indians for the community and the railroad workers. The Fort was later renamed after Francis E. Warren, Wyoming’s first Governor and later U.S. Senator for 37 years. In the city’s early days, city dudes mingled with mule skinners, soldiers, rail-roaders, lawmakers, sheriffs, rustlers, stage drivers and outlaws. The city is situated in the midst of rich, nutritious grasslands which have always been excellent natural forage for cattle. The railhead made the town a logical headquarters for numerous cattle barons and their cowboys. As a legislative center, the city attracted visitors from all parts of Wyoming. It was also a convenient stopping place for eastern tourists and prospective settlers searching for business opportunities in the adventurous region.
Today, Cheyenne’s economic base is supported mostly by government, wholesale and retail trade, and tourism. Cheyenne still serves as a major crossroad in the West for the Union Pacific and the Burlington Northern Railroads, as well as Interstates 80 and 25. Gone are the numerous saloons and the vigilante days, but the spirit still comes to life each year during Cheyenne Frontier Days. To learn more about Cheyenne, Wyo., visit Live the Legend
Unspoiled mountain vistas, topped with snow. Vast forested wilderness, with nary a man-made silhouette in view. Unbelievably blue sky stretching from horizon to horizon. Awe-inspiring natural panoramas, lit by golden sunsets. These are just a few of the amazing sights Wyoming has to offer – landscapes that can be found nowhere else in the world; natural wonders that thrill hundreds of thousands of visitors every year; memories that will linger for a lifetime.
Come stay at an authentic dude ranch, take a rejuvenating soak in hot springs, explore the one-of-a-kind natural splendors of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, experience the thrill of a rodeo, fish in our crystal clear streams and marvel at the majesty of our animal kingdom. All the while, you’ll enjoy real Western hospitality doled out by locals who are proud to show off their magnificent home state. A visit here this summer will awaken your sense of excitement, as you navigate your way through this land of wide-open spaces.
Watch breathtaking, colorful western sunsets unfold over the mountains and prairies as you journey through the history and inimitable rugged beauty of America’s West. For the more adventurous, there are world class challenging rock climbs, thousands of mountain biking trails, trout fishing, tubing, camping, hiking and more. And the weather is unbeatable, with warm sunny summer days and cool nights spent under the stars.