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Itinerary for Fun

Discover the best of Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo

By Erin Giffords

Got Cheyenne Frontier Days on your mind? So do we. It’s a bucket list-worthy Western celebration filled with world-class rodeo events, fantastic parades and A-list country music acts that runs 10 days every July. If you’ve only got a weekend, here’s what you’ve got to do.

Friday, July 24 - 7 am: Pancake Breakfast, Downtown

Start the day with a tall (and free) stack of pancakes courtesy of the Kiwanis Club of Cheyenne. That’s right, free pancakes. Get there early because the pancake breakfast is legendary and draws in tourists, locals, even musical acts. Some line up at the historic Depot Plaza as early as 5 a.m., for the very first flapjacks off the griddle.

9 am: Behind the Chutes Tour, Arena

Meet up in front of the Old West Museum for a behind-the-scenes (er, chutes) tour that will knock your boot and spurs right off. This mile-long walking tour gives visitors a first-hand peek into the rodeo and the history of the 10-day event that draws a half million people each year as you walk the arena. Meet bulls and broncs, step into the chutes and learn how each event is scored.

11 am: Old Frontier Town

Just steps from the arena is Old Frontier Town. Here visitors go back in time in a recreation of a historic wild west town. Local artisans and craftspeople sell authentic wares, like handmade lassos, moccasins and saddles. Kids will love panning for gold and cuddling up with baby goats and llamas at the petting zoo. You may even encounter a special guest or two, like Wyatt Earp and Wild Bill Hickock. Old Frontier Town is open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

1-4 pm: Rodeo, Arena

Plan to spend the better part of your afternoon captivated by thrilling rodeo events, like barrel racing, tie-down roping, and of course, bull riding. As host of the world’s largest outdoor rodeo, Cheyenne Frontier Days earns its reputation as the “Daddy of ‘Em All,” drawing some of the top names in rodeo. You won’t want to look away and risk missing any of the action.

A new rodeo format allows visitors to see winners every single day of competition, not just on the final event day. For first-timers, look to Rodeo 101. Here you’ll get the scoop on what to wear and what to expect from each event, even in-between events like the Dinner Bell Derby.

5 pm: Carnival Midway

Get ready for fun at the carnival thanks to thrill rides, fun houses, midway games and carnival classics, like Tilt-A-Whirl and Scrambler. The giant slide and Ferris wheel wow with bird’s eye views across the carnival grounds. Plan to arrive hungry because you’ll want to eat all the carnival food staples, from giant turkey legs and cowboy burritos to deep-fried Oreos and funnel cakes. The Carnival is open daily from 10:30 a.m. to midnight.

8 pm: Eric Church Concert, Arena

When the sun goes down, get ready for the boot-stomping energy of Eric Church as he takes the stage at the rodeo arena. He’s just one on an impressive roster of musical acts set to entertain country-loving crowds nearly every night of Cheyenne Frontier Days. Preceded by Grammy-nominated singer Ashley McBryde, this is sure to be one rocking evening in Cheyenne. Concert tickets range from $65-$94.

Saturday, July 25 - 9 am: Grand Parade, Downtown

For lively marching bands, colorful floats, rodeo princesses and horse-drawn stagecoaches, you won’t want to miss the Grand Parade. The parade starts in front of the state capitol building on 24th Street, slowly winding its way along the streets of downtown Cheyenne for all to enjoy. The 90-minute parade is such a crowd-pleaser that it takes place four times during the 10-day festival (but do note that July 25 parade is the last one for this year’s Cheyenne Frontier Days).

11 am: Chuck Wagon Cookoff, Western Experience

It’s a guarantee that you will leave hungry following the Chuckwagon Cookoff, but it’s so worth it to watch authentic chuckwagon crews at work. Each team is assigned five foods they must use to whip up deliciously creative from-scratch meals. Simple enough, right? Nope. They’ve got to use period cast iron cooking utensils and open fires. No microwaves or gas ranges here.

2 pm: Old West Museum

The stirring history of Cheyenne and westward expansion comes to life at the Old West Museum thanks to rotating artworks and artifacts, including horse-drawn buggies, trophy saddles and stagecoaches. A short film and festival memorabilia tell the history of the annual Cheyenne Frontier Days celebration, which first began in 1897 (and was just one day). Outside, look for western statues, as well as a historic Big Boy steam engine. The museum is open year-round, but hours will be extended during Cheyenne Frontier Days (8 a.m. to 7 p.m.).

5 pm: Indian Village

At Indian Village, visitors can appreciate the significant contributions of Native Americans to the growth of the American West. Their history and culture are shared through traditional regalia, like feather headdresses, beaded moccasins, stories and music. You’ll also find native artisans, craft-making for kids and food vendors tempting with Indian Tacos and Buffalo Burgers. The Indian Village is open daily from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

8 pm: Blake Shelton Concert, Arena

Get ready for another night of high-energy music in the arena with Country Music Association’s 2012 Entertainer of the Year, Blake Shelton. You’ll be tapping your boots to his current single, “God’s Country,” which became his 26th number one hit on country radio. He’ll be joined by rising country music singer and songwriter, John King. Concert tickets range from $65-$89.

Plan your visit to Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo this year!