Frontier Days
Cheyenne, Wyoming
July 2000

Warning: This page is a bit long.
Cheyenne, Wyoming

Home of 
Frontier Days
"The Daddy of 'em All"

This was their 104th

Frontier Days is a ten day festival that's straight out of the old west.

.... and, what would a rodeo be without cowboy hats? 

These guys are crazy!!!

The idea in this event is to get the steer on the ground.

First, you grab the steer, then you give him a big hug and kiss while you whisper in his ear, "just lay down and I'll sneak you some extra feed tonight."

Don't forget, this guy just flew off his horse to get the steer.

Hang on!
Plenty to see here.  In the mornings are free events called "slack".  These are events during slack time to allow all of the contestants to compete.  The winners of the slack events go on to compete in the rodeo.  We went one morning to watch some barrel racing -- (did you know that only women complete in this event)?  There is a rodeo each day at 1:00 p.m. and finals are held on the last day.

Every night a large stage is rolled out and top name entertainers perform.  Most performers are country music stars but we chose to see some classic rock-n-roll.  We saw STYX, Lynyrd Syknard, Charlie Daniels, and Don Maclean (the American Pie guy).

Just hanging around 
behind the chutes.

Ed wanted a close up so he went in the corral to get this picture.

.... or did he use a zoom lens?

There was a parade on Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.  We went to one of them and watched one of the longest parades ever -- not only long but also with the most horses. 

There were 1,200 horses in this parade.  The mayor, the governor, the sheriff, council members, the princesses, and anybody who's somebody is riding a horse or  wagon in this one. 

There were old cars, tractors of all makes and vintage, wagons of all types and even some old bicycles.  This yellow limo is an old Yellowstone National Park tour car. 

In the picture to the left you can see horses and wagons coming as far as you can see.

Here's a pioneer wagon pulled by oxen, (did you know that there is not a breed of animal named "oxen"? An ox is any cow that has been trained to pull in a yoke).

The wagon on the right was full of folks that looked like they were all over ninety years old.  The banner on the side said,

"We were pioneers when this was a frontier"

I'll bet some of them could have been at the first Frontier Days celebration in 1896.

Here's the owner of the RV park where we stayed.  The name of the place is the Terry Bison Ranch. 

As they went past us in the parade the buffalo stuck his tongue threw the bars and gave him a big lick on the cheek.

There's more about this ranch below.

Another "must see" is the Pancake Breakfast

On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 7:30 to 9:30 there was a free pancake breakfast with sliced ham and juice, milk and coffee.  We arrived about 9:00 and found a line of about five hundred people. 

The line went two ways around the block, switch backed five times up and down the street, then went around the corner for another block. 

But they must have been shoveling out the pancakes because the line kept moving at a slow walk.  We were only in line for 20 or 30 minutes and the time was full of friendly conversation and lots of interesting activities to watch.

I bet there were nearly 100 volunteers cook'n, serve'n, guide'n and clean'n.  An old timer in line told us that one year they were use'n a cement mixer to mix up the batter for the flapjacks.
We weren't sure what this boy scout and cook were looking up at --
But later when I was reviewing the video tape for these pictures I noticed something. 

Can you see it?

It looks like there's a UFO in the picture!  It looks like it's moving pretty fast since it's a little streaky.

It turned out that these were really unidentified flying pancakes.  The cooks would flip the cakes high into the air over their heads and the scouts would catch them on  big cookie sheets.

The morning we went they served over 10,000 people a free pancake breakfast within two hours.  As the line rounded the last corner it split into four lines.  Some one would hand us a plate, the next gal would hand us a fork, the next guy handed us a napkin, then a stack of pancakes and another served us some ham.  Then someone was pouring syrup and another person for each type of drink, coffee, juice or milk for the kids.   They also had benches set up to seat about 800 to 1,000 people.  They were all having a lot of fun and there were pancakes flying everywhere.  They even had a cowboy band serenading us all as we ate.
On Wednesday we watched a performance by the Thunderbirds.

We also saw a snake, but this hawk spotted it first. 

I, (Ed), remember this building from a time when I was six years old.  We asked about it and found out that in the 1960's it was the town drug store.

My family was moving back to Seattle from an assignment that my dad had been on for Boeing in the midwest.  Our small moving truck had blown the engine, the motel we were staying in caught on fire so we had to move to another one, (I slept through the whole thing).  My dad caught the flu so Mom drove to this drug store for some medicine.

While she was in there, (not more than five minutes), a police woman stopped by and placed a piece of paper on our car window.  (Back then kids could stay in a car while their parents went into a store).

You guessed it -- a parking ticket!  The meter posts are still there but the meters have been removed on this street to widen the drive lane.  We parked around the corner and used the same old meters.  It only costs five cents for fifteen minutes so I plunked three nickels into the meter just to be on the safe side.

The Terry Bison Ranch and RV Park

We had called about a month ahead of time to reserve a RV spot, but every RV park was full up for Frontier Days.  The Terry Bison Ranch had lots of room for dry camping, (no hook-ups at all -- just a spot to park).  Since we have solar power for electricity, we filled up our water tank and checked in to this huge ranch, just 3 miles south of town.  They advertise having 30,000 acres available for dry camping. 

We learned that this place has been a working ranch since the 1870's.  It was originally owned by a man named Terry who had cattle.  Now there are several thousand head of bison here that are raised for their meat.

If you're ever RV'ing in Cheyenne this is a great place to stay -- it turned out to be one of our favorites.  It's not only a great RV park, but an inexpensive way to stay at a real Dude Ranch.  There is horseback riding, gun fights, wagon rides and a great restaurant and bar with live cowboy music, (when's the last time you heard someone sing the title song to Rawhide)?  You can even go on a five day trail ride.


It's also just 90 miles north of Denver.  We went to a great museum in Denver and to the U.S. Mint.  The Mint did not allow pictures and the museum pictures would just bore you too much.  There's alot to see and do in Denver so we'll come back and stay longer next year.  Also, the Fort Collins area, (half way between Denver and Cheyenne), is a great place to visit.  It's an old style town with a college town atmosphere.
Back to the Terry Bison Ranch -- Mitch and Max made several friends here.  Together they would hang around the barns, sit on the fence and spit in the dirt just like the big cowboys. They looked pretty cute when they all had their hats on.

These three boys are the kids of the cowboys that work on the ranch.  They had a few chores of their own like barn cleaning.  Mitch and Max got a real taste of ranch life by hanging out with this bunch.  One chore (with a $5 reward attached to it) was to catch a peacock that had been out of its cage for a week.  Every morning Mitch would get up and head out to attempt to catch it by himself.  Peacocks are pretty big and I'm not sure he'd know what to do with it if he did catch it.

The rabbits didn't get left out of this chase game either.  If it wasn't for the kids chasing the rabbits, then it would be a wild fox that we spotted sneaking around the barns one morning. 

The ranch had lots of different animals -- horses, long horn cattle, bison, ostrich, peacocks, donkeys, camels, lamas, lots of rabbits, chickens and a few other barnyard critters. 
Maybe if I run fast enough dad won't be able to catch me on film.

It didn't work, did it Max?

Another favorite was playing in the trees and sliding down the rope.  One of the older boys took a bent branch and cut a little notch in it to make a handle for sliding down a rope

Mitch and Max were not the least bit happy about leaving the ranch.  We were there for a week and a half and they became very comfortable at this place.

We left town under protest from the boys.  We got about five miles north of Cheyenne when we heard a boom!

The kids where so happy when they learned we would be staying for another night to fix the damage from a blown tire. 

We put the spare on and went back to town.  We had the tire replaced within a couple of hours but the blowout damaged one of the gas lines, a 12 volt ground cable and as you can see, twisted a steel mud guard.

Each morning the Cheyenne sky started out as clear as could be.

By 11:00 a.m. the moisture in the air began to form a few small clouds

By noon the heat from the sun was lifting the moisture up to form cumulus clouds, the big white puffy ones.
2:00 p.m. and the clouds would have grown quite large

Once they climb to the troposphere it's too cold to rise any higher.  The moisture turns to ice crystals and the cloud begins to flatten into a cumulonimbus cloud.

We enjoyed watching these clouds.  We could easily see the edges churning and swirling with a mixture of up and down draft. 

It was common to see four or five of these storm clouds form around us each day.

The RV Park had a touch screen weather computer in the office.  We would go in an check the radar images to see which clouds were turning into storms. 

About 5:00 in the evening the local radio and TV stations would begin broadcasting severe storm warnings.

These storms would typically form just west of Cheyenne, pass over head mid day and then turn into a storm just east of us. We could see the flashes of lightning in the eastern sky most nights.

There was only one day that a storm dumped rain and lightning on us. 

By 9:00 p.m. the clouds would pass and all that was left was some beautiful sunsets.

Next week we'll have pictures from the Black Hills of South Dakota and the annual Biker Rally at Sturgis (600,000+ bikers)
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