If there’s one thing Cheyenne’s good at, it’s saddling up for a bumpy ride. And ever since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Wyoming, there’s been an increased need for that cowboy mentality.
One of the most recent examples of locals bucking up and finding the bright side of these dark days is the creation of a 10-day celebration of all things Western that will coincide with the original dates of this year’s Cheyenne Frontier Days. From July 17-26, a series of events that were previously scheduled – and a few that have been added or altered – have been put under the umbrella of Cheyenne Days, Legendary Nights.
Visit Cheyenne President and CEO Domenic Bravo made it clear his group isn’t organizing these events, it’s helping with promotion by listing all the events on its online events calendar.
“As the visitors bureau, we tried to help put it under an umbrella,” Bravo said. “We figured putting it under an umbrella makes it a little easier to help people find info on what we have going on during that week ... obviously this wasn’t intended in any way, shape or form to replace CFD.”
Rather than a replacement, Bravo hopes visitors and locals alike see this series of events as another way of honoring Cheyenne’s Western heritage at the end of July. He said the goal was to spread everything out around Laramie County and ensure all venues follow the state and county health requirements to make the events as safe as they can be while also providing a good opportunity to get out of the house.
So what do you have to look forward to? Let’s break it down for you.
Even during a pandemic, there’s still something to do in Cheyenne daily this summer. Here’s a list of some events that are happening more than once, so it’s all right if you miss the first night.
The Big Daddy Summer Spectacular
When: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. today through July 20 and starting at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 23; 8:30 a.m. Friday, July 24; 8:30 a.m. Saturday, July 25; and 9 a.m. Sunday, July 26 (preceded by Cowboy Church at 8 a.m.).
Where: Frontier Park Arena, 1230 W. Eighth Ave.
The “Daddy of ’em All” was canceled, but that doesn’t mean smaller rodeos aren’t taking place this summer. Now through July 20, the Ranch Sorting National Championships is hosting a series of roping events, and then July 23-26, it’s hosting a series of ranch sorting and barrel racing competitions. All are open to the public for spectators, and anybody with a horse can compete.
Hell on Wheels Rodeo Series
When: Dinner at 5:30 p.m., rodeo at 7 tonight (but if you missed out on your chance for tickets tonight, this event will take place again at the same time and place July 24 and Aug. 28.)
Where: Archer Rodeo Arena, 3801 Archer Parkway
The rodeo fun continues with this partnership between DeLancey Ranch and Visit Cheyenne, offering hometown cowboys and cowgirls the chance to compete in events such as bareback riding, saddle bronc, breakaway roping, steer wrestling, barrels, bull riding and more. Come hungry and pay an additional fee to enjoy some award-winning 3LazyR Chuck Wagon home cooking (a complete meal of fire-licked brisket, beans, potatoes and cobbler, along with an iced tea and lemonade), or opt for some food truck fare.
Bravo said there will be a limit of 250 guests in the stands due to social distancing, so he encouraged anyone interested to buy tickets as soon as possible.
40th Annual CFD Western Art Show and Sale
When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily
Where: Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum, 4610 Carey Ave.
Cost: Free with $10 museum admission
Online: https://cfd artshow.com
One of the only traditional Frontier Days events that is continuing as normal this year is this art show and sale, which features 235 pieces from 70 artists, 13 of whom have never shown in this invitational before. Head to the museum to enjoy Western art from national, as well as local and regional, artists such as Cheyenne contemporary fabric artist Georgia Rowswell and Lakewood, Colorado, landscape painter Jennifer Johnson.
If you don’t feel comfortable going to the museum to see the show in person, art show coordinator Cameron Green recommends heading to the museum’s Facebook page to view its new Makers Video series featuring artists in the show describing their artistic process.
New Frontier Western Show & Auction
When: Noon-5 p.m. today; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, July 18; and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, July 19
Where: Little America Hotel and Resort, 2800 W. Lincolnway
Cost: Free admission (unless you’d like to pay for Early Bird admission for $25 today from 9 a.m.-noon)
If you haven’t gotten your Western art fix after that, there’s another show you can swing by this weekend. The 10th anniversary of this annual show will mark its first time being moved from Loveland, Colorado, to Cheyenne, but it’ll still feature a large assortment of high-quality and rare pieces of Western Americana.
64th Old-Fashioned Melodrama
When: 2 p.m. Sundays and 7 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays July 9-Aug. 2
Where: Historic Atlas Theatre, 211 W. Lincolnway
Cost: $16, $14 for seniors and military members, $12 for students 13 and older, and $10 for children 12 and younger
What if pistol-swinging cowboys wore face shields under their 10-gallon hats? That’s what you’ll find out at Cheyenne Little Theatre Players’ 64th Old-Fashioned Melodrama, which will feature several social distancing and other pandemic-related protocols, such as required face coverings for everyone in attendance, increased sanitation measures and tables for only members of the same household.
The Drive-In Bull Ride
When: 7-11 p.m. today and Saturday, July 18
Where: The Chinook at Terry Bison Ranch, 51 Interstate 25 Frontage Road
Get your taste of the Wild West at arguably the world’s first drive-in bull riding event. Reserve a table at the arena or the screen, or you can park your car and watch the rodeo drive-in style.
“We’ve got the 9X PBR #1 stock contractor of the year, Chad Berger Bucking Bulls, bringing the bulls from ManDan, North Dakota,” said promoter Hamilton Byrd. “And with a $10,000 added pot, we’ve been able to draw some big-name bull riders to compete!”
Paint Slingers 2020
When: All day, starting at 10 a.m., Saturday, July 18, and Sunday, July 19
Where: Throughout downtown Cheyenne and the West Edge, with live painting, food trucks and music at West Edge Collective, 707 W. Lincolnway
Cost: Free admission
Come enjoy Wyoming’s original street art festival, which will offer spectators the chance to watch local and regional artists transform surfaces into vibrant, one-of-a-kind creative pieces. Check out the event’s Facebook page for details on its accompanying Chalk Art Competition.
When: 6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and noon Saturday through July 25
Where: Gunslinger Square, 15th Street and Pioneer Avenue, downtown
Head downtown just west of the Cheyenne Depot Museum to experience a true Western tradition come to life. The shows will be the same this year, minus a random tourist being brought to the gallows and a little tyke trying some sarsaparilla – aka less audience participation for social distancing’s sake.
Cheyenne Day Events
In addition to several small concerts, the Tuesday Farmers Market and several others events spread out over the course of the 10 days of Cheyenne Days, Legendary Nights, arguably the most noteworthy are the events on Wednesday, July 22, aka Cheyenne Day.
Flippin’ Awesome Flapjack Feed
When: 7-9 a.m. Wednesday, July 22
Where: Outlaw Saloon, 312 South Greeley Highway
One of the most iconic of Frontier Days celebrations lives on this year, thanks to a partnership between The Outlaw Saloon and Red Lion Hotel and Conference Center. Curtis Crowton, owner of The Outlaw, said he reached out to the Kiwanis Club of Cheyenne when he heard that Frontier Days was canceled to see if he could host them for a continuation of the pancake breakfast. They told him many of their members are part of the high-risk group for COVID-19, so they wouldn’t be organizing it this year.
“The way I look at it is that it’s been a tradition for decades,” Crowton said. “I figured there have been several disasters through decades, but things have still happened, and COVID wasn’t an excuse for something this big to be canceled.”
He reached out to the team at Red Lion, and they jumped right onboard as caterer. The only remaining task was determining how to put on the event safely.
“The way we have it set up is we should have two lines in the parking lot, one will be for outside and one will be for inside, and we can feed 500 total,” Crowton said. “We’ll have door counters inside and outside, and when people leave, we’ll let more people in. ... Every table will be wiped down after people leave, and servers will be masked and gloved.”
If everyone keeps their distance from one another, Crowton said he’s confident the event will provide a safe environment for people to enjoy some free pancakes and live music by longtime pancake breakfast act Bob Mathews.
Wings Over Warren Airshow
When: Gates open at 7 a.m., show starts at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 22
Where: F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Roundtop Road gate
Even though the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds can no longer be part of this Cheyenne Day airshow this year, Col. Brian L. Rico, commander of the 90th Maintenance Group at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, said there is plenty in store for eventgoers.
“They did cancel, it’s extremely unfortunate, and we are very disappointed. However, the air show is not canceled,” said Rico. “We still have an F-22 demo and an F-35 demo, so that will be a first for Cheyenne – those are the Air Force’s newest jets. It’s going to be phenomenal. … Even if they bring one, people will be amazed.”
He added that there will also be a B-1 and B-2 flyover during the national anthem at the start of the event, which will be drive-in style and limited to approximately 1,500 vehicles on a first-come, first-served basis. The gate on Roundtop Road will be the only way to access airshow parking, and the gate will open at 7 a.m. and will close at 9:30 a.m., or when capacity is reached.
Cheyenne Day Street Party
When: 1-10 p.m. Wednesday, July 22
Where: Freedom’s Edge Brewing Company, 1509 Pioneer Ave.
Cost: Free admission, but beer tickets are $5 per ticket or $20 for 5
Celebrate Cheyenne Day with a cold one, which you can legally drink on the street until 10 p.m. due to the one-day open container ordinance. Freedom’s Edge Brewing Co. will have food trucks, games, live music and outdoor beer taps for everyone to celebrate. The whole block in front of the brewery will also be closed to pedestrian-only traffic to encourage social distancing. Hand sanitizer will be available. If you’re drinking, you must check in at the ticket booth to get an open container armband and buy beer tickets.
Sugar Britches: Midtown Tavern
When: 3-6 p.m. Wednesday, July 22
Where: Midtown Tavern, 1303 E. Pershing Blvd.
Cost: Free admission
Midtown Tavern thinks it’s time to head back to the bar and party on the patio for Cheyenne Day. Enjoy live music by this “high-brow honky tonk” group from Colorado featuring Brian Johanson and Josh Lon. Note: This event is for those 21 and over only.