Bailey Bishop has waited longer than most to become Miss Frontier.
The Burns native served as Cheyenne Frontier Days’ lady-in-waiting in 2019. But when the “Daddy of ‘em All” was canceled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bishop worried she wouldn’t get to take up the position.
But Bishop was, in fact, selected at Miss Frontier for the 125th anniversary of the rodeo, with Cheyenne native Savannah Messenger chosen as her lady-in-waiting, and likely next year’s Miss Frontier.
“It’s meant a lot to me – it’s been a big part of my life for three years now,” Bishop said. “It’s been a journey, a really awesome journey, being able to travel across the world and represent Cheyenne and Cheyenne Frontier Days.”
Miss Frontier and her lady-in-waiting are ambassadors for Frontier Days. As the current face of the rodeo, Bishop has gotten to visit events like the Calgary Stampede in Canada, the Pendleton Roundup in Oregon and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in Texas.
Bishop has been involved with Frontier Days for most of her life, beginning with parade appearances as a young girl, later competing in junior barrels. She was a Dandy throughout high school, which she said led her to trying out for and ultimately becoming Miss Frontier.
She also has quite the family legacy: Her father, Todd Bishop, currently serves on the Frontier Days board of directors. Her grandfather, Cliff “Doc” Bishop, was a longtime steer roping contestant, and later became the arena veterinarian, eventually being inducted into the HEELS organization. Her grandmother, Gerrie Bishop, co-founded the Cowgirls of the West Museum in downtown Cheyenne. Bishop’s other grandfather, Morris Bullard, worked as a lead volunteer on the Security Committee, and her cousin, Stacy Bishop, was Miss Frontier in 1995.
Bishop recently graduated from the University of Wyoming with a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and Health Promotion. She aims to become a nurse practitioner, and she spends much of her time shadowing and working at a practice run by nurse practitioners.
Messenger, a seventh-generation Wyomingite, also has a lengthy history with the “Daddy of ‘em All.” She was in “every Grand Parade” as a child, and was also in rodeo grand entries.
“I just gained this huge love for not only Frontier Days, but what it does for the community of Cheyenne and the people, how it just brings everyone together in such a positive way,” Messenger said. “So by the time I was able to try out as a Dandy, I knew that that was my next step to really see if that was something for me – Miss Frontier, that is.”
Bishop and Messenger’s friendship began years ago when they were Dandies together, and it’s only grown since then.
“We were definitely friends, acquaintances, but being in this role together – especially for two years, rather than one, like normal – we’ve grown really, really close,” Bishop said. “We are definitely best friends. So, we got lucky with that.”
Both women now live in Cheyenne – close to one another, and close to Frontier Park.
Messenger recently graduated from an esthetics program in Fort Collins, Colorado. She and her family are also very involved in showing draft horses, and she plans to get back on the road for shows sometime in August.
During the 10 days of the rodeo, Bishop and Messenger are expected to be almost everywhere: at pancake breakfasts, in every parade, at every rodeo and watching every night show.
“We have two seconds to eat, and sometimes we don’t even have time for that, because we’re moving on to our next thing, and it is such an adrenaline rush,” Bishop said. “You’re really tired, but you don’t even notice, really, because you’re just trying to take it all in, and you’re having so much fun.”
There are so many places to be, Bishop said, that the women can seem as though they are defying the laws of physics.
“Some people are like, “Do you girls have superpowers?’” she said with a laugh.
For decades, the iconic white buckskins worn by Miss Frontier and her lady-in-waiting have remained largely unchanged. But for the 2021 rodeo, thanks to Bishop, Messenger and their buckskin maker, there will be a new addition to their wardrobes: red buckskins, symbolizing the return of the rodeo after a difficult year for so many, and the unique experience Bishop and Messenger have had together over the past three years.
“I don’t know if they’re going to be a continued thing or if it’s just going to be a one-time 125th (anniversary) thing – that’ll definitely be up to Frontier Days in the future – but so far they’ve been a hit,” Bishop said.