CHEYENNE – On Wednesday, April 14, the HEELS of Cheyenne Frontier Days elected the following to the 2021 Class of HEELS:
• Jenny Lakin
• Dean Nuse
• Izabella Jackson
• Andrea Marker
• Joe Budd
• Brad Kincheloe
• Don Sailors
• Tom Romig
• Dave Urquidez
• John Lenton
• Julie Federer
• John Babson
• Ed Galavotti
• Brian Ritz
• Marietta Dinneen (Honorary HEEL)
During the Depression years of the 1930s, continued success, threatened by financial instability, became a very serious and ongoing problem for the Cheyenne Frontier Days Committee. Following a performance of the 1935 rodeo, a group of very dedicated individuals, who had become increasingly aware of the economic impact on the rodeo, met to discuss ways to curtail expenses for the “Committee,” by doing whatever they could.
This concerned group of supporters quickly zeroed in on the fact that, until this point in time, people involved in promoting and producing the rodeo were paid for their participation. The group agreed that they would offer to perform whatever tasks they were assigned by the “Committee” on a strict volunteer basis; therefore, replacing some of the “paid help.” It was further agreed that any member of the group not willing to go along with this decision of giving of their time “for free,” would be labeled a darn heel. Immediately, someone in the group picked up on the label and referred to the entire group as the “Heels.”
At a subsequent meeting, a discussion focused on the perceived treatment of the group by the “Committee.” These dedicated volunteers felt their efforts were not being appropriately appreciated and that the “Committee” had their noses a little too high in the air, along with a little attitude of “better than thou,” which left the group feeling they were being treated like nothing more than a bunch of heels within the organization. Once again the name “Heels” was the reference to this determined group of rodeo supporters.
Realizing the need to become more cohesively organized in order to effectively manage work assignments and problem logistics brought about by the increasing demands of a growing show, the group held a meeting in August 1935. These 13 members were declared “Charter” members because of their attendance and the two events they would place into history as a result of this meeting.
The group adopted the name “HEELS,” and henceforth, has been known as “The HEELS of Cheyenne Frontier Days.” As an all-volunteer group recognized within the Cheyenne Frontier Days organization, the “HEELS” would take their place as the “first true volunteers” known to Cheyenne Frontier Days.