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Cheyenne Frontier Days welcomed fans back to Frontier Park with at or near capacity crowds throughout the week. Both Saturday rodeos and the Garth Brooks and Blake Shelton concerts were sold out. A record number of 267,369 rodeo and concert tickets were sold overall – rivaling the 100th Anniversary in 1996.
The “Daddy of ‘em All” returned after canceling in 2020 due to the global pandemic. This year, organizers introduced a clear bag policy, emphasized digital tickets, and increased sanitation to make the event as safe as possible for everyone involved. The University of Nebraska Global Center for Health Security provided recommendations for health and safety protocols. Security measures were also modified and increased.
This year’s event was dedicated to Chris LeDoux, the rodeo and recording legend. Garth Brooks and Ned LeDoux spoke at the dedication of the bigger than life bronze statue Just LeDoux It that was added to Frontier Park to commemorate the event’s 125th anniversary.
The 2021 rodeo had 1,403 contestants competing for over $1 million in prize money. Women’s breakaway roping and a tournament-style format returned for the second time.
At the Championship Finals on Sunday, 14,925 fans witnessed history when reigning all-around champion Stetson Wright won consecutive titles. It is the first time in over 60 years a cowboy competing from the bucking chutes has done that. Wright also became the first member of his famous saddle bronc riding family to win that event here. His father Cody Wright started competing here in 2001 and there have been family members on the roster every year since.
The two Saturday rodeo performances on July 24 and 31 were sold out. All rodeo performances were broadcast worldwide on the Cowboy Channel. Competition was sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association.
Animals are an important part of CFD. An estimated 6,000 make their way through the rodeo arena, parades, and the bull riding. All animals are checked multiple times throughout the day with their health and welfare being of primary concern. CFD veterinarians treated seven animals and all but two were expected to make a full recovery.
Rodeo attendance through nine performances was 111,617 compared to 97,373 two years ago, an increase of over 14 percent. Total attendance for Frontier Nights was 155,618 compared to 120,518 in 2019, a 29 percent increase. Total attendance increased as well, but numbers aren’t available as much of the gate admission was free.
Professional Bull Riders (PBR) hosted their Last Cowboy Standing competition as part of Frontier Nights July 26-27. The last bull rider standing on Tuesday night was Brazilian Jose Vitor Leme. It was one of the best crowds since CFD added bull riding with 20,257 in attendance. Events were broadcast on PBR’s Ride Pass and CBS Sports.
Other numbers were in line with previous years. Four parades were extremely well attended. Two of those parades were broadcast by the Cowboy Channel. Three pancake breakfasts saw 19,025 meals served and approximately 50,000 visited the Indian Village.
Military Monday again honored all branches of the military with active personnel and veterans receiving free admission. The USAF Thunderbirds performed Wednesday over F.E. Warren Airforce Base with approximately 5,756 people in attendance on base.
“After missing a year, it was amazing to see how our volunteers and everyone involved came together to produce a fantastic event,” said Jimmy Dean Siler, General Chairman of Cheyenne Frontier Days. “I can’t say thank you enough to the fans, competitors, performers and volunteers, and most of all this great Cheyenne community.”
(Press release courtesy of Cheyenne Frontier Days.)