ProRodeo Update: Cheyenne Frontier Days
Since 1897, Cheyenne has been home to the largest outdoor rodeo in world, renowned as the Daddy of ‘Em All.
Since its founding, Cheyenne Frontier Days has made it through World Wars and the Great Depression, never being canceled, and it attracts the top ProRodeo cowboys and cowgirls each year hoping to win a prestigious CFD champion title. President Tom Hirsig has kept us all hopeful that 2020 will be no exception, promising to do everything in his power to make sure the chutes open in Cheyenne come July. Unfortunately, it’s now out of Hirsig’s hands.
The city’s mayor announced today that for the first time in its 124-year history, Cheyenne Frontier Days is being canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Crowds of more than 140,000 flock to Cheyenne for the rodeo during the last two weeks in July, and Mayor Marian Orr told The Associated Press event organizers that they decided the risk of an outbreak is just too great.
“What this pandemic means is we just can’t come together,” Orr said. “We really have to stay apart so we can come together again sooner rather than later. It’s clear that we just aren’t going to be ready for this.”
“This has been an incredibly difficult decision, but in the end, it was the only choice,” Tom Hirsig, Cheyenne Frontier Days CEO said.
“The health and safety of our fans, volunteers, contestants, first responders, healthcare workers and everyone in our community is the only thing that matters right now. The only responsible decision was to put their safety first,” General Chairman Jimmy Dean Siler added.
Hirsig said CFD knows how devastating this decision will be for many fans who return year after year, as well as first-timers planning to come because “the Daddy” is on their bucket list. The cancellation will also have a severe economic impact in the community. Hundreds of thousands of people attend CFD concerts, rodeo performances and the related Western events each year, contributing tens of millions of dollars to the local economy.
In 2019, visitors spent over $28 million during Cheyenne Frontier Days™’ 10-day run, generating over $1 million in local and state taxes, more than $5 million for overnight lodging, and almost $9 million for retail businesses. It also created over 300 jobs resulting in $5 million in wages and salaries during the event.
“I know what this means for rodeo in Cheyenne,” Governor Gordon said. “The financial and emotional impact this announcement has on our community, rodeo fans, and especially the contestants, is immense. But it is the right thing to do, and together we are committed to making 2021 the best Daddy of em’ All ever.”
In addition, the event raises funds for the CFD Old West Museum, a year-round attraction that showcases artifacts celebrating Cheyenne Frontier Days™ history and Western culture. Cheyenne Frontier Days™ also supports The Volunteer Crisis Fund, which provides emergency monetary assistance to event volunteers when needed and the Cheyenne Frontier Days™ Memorial Foundation, which provides scholarships for volunteers and their dependents. The Cheyenne Frontier Days™ Foundation, Inc. was recently established to support the charitable and educational aspects of the celebration.
Hirsig said CFD will be contacting sponsors and vendors to discuss their options, including refunding their fees, donating a portion of their fees to the CFD Foundation, or extending an account credit for the 2021 celebration.
Fans who have already purchased rodeo or concert tickets are asked to visit the CFD website for information about account credit roll overs or refunds at www.cfdrodeo.com. The Thomas Rhett, Eric Church and Blake Shelton shows have been rescheduled as part of the 2021 lineup and tickets will be reissued when 2021 tickets go on sale.
“Nobody knows how long this pandemic will last, but we look forward to welcoming our fans back to Cheyenne to enjoy some of our famous Western hospitality in July 2021,” Hirsig said.
“We have an amazing staff, an awesome General Committee, incredibly generous and loyal sponsors, and the hardest working group of passionate volunteers anyone could ever hope for. We are shifting our focus to planning for the 125th “Daddy of ’em All®” next year and our goal is to deliver a show you will never forget,” Siler said.