Cheyenne Frontier Days has been canceled for the first time in 124 years. It is both a financial and emotional blow to the entire state. Wyoming's Governor Gordon seemed to choke a bit on the words as he made the announcement. Even he had competed there in his youth.

So why is this event, the first professional rodeo in the world, The Daddy Of 'em All, so big and so important to so many people? To find that out, let's look back at where it all began:

Cheyenne was once the richest city in the world. But times changed, and the bottom fell out of the cattle market. How then to keep the crippled city alive?

In one version of the conception of Frontier Days, Frederick W Angier, a Traveling Passenger Agent with the Union Pacific Railroad, suggested in 1897 to the editor of a Cheyenne newspaper, that Cheyenne should hold a festival like the Greeley, Colorado "Potato Day." The conversation continued to Tivoli Saloon in Cheyenne where they drew up plans for a "Frontier Day" celebration that would include pony races, bronco busting, and steer roping.

Everyone in Cheyenne worried if it would work. Would anyone around the region or around the nation care to show up?

It did work, beyond their wildest dreams. The event was so successful, in 1898 the event was expanded to two days, and continued to grow from there into the 10-day western celebration we know today.

The event grew into daily parades, a famous pancake breakfast, a world famous Indian village, the Chuck Wagon Cook Off, and a long list of other sights and events including evening concerts with big name acts.

Over the year, tourists and competitors from all over the world have come to Cheyenne for the events. World records have been broken, and broken again. Along the way bones have also been broken and lives lost. Rub some dirt in it and move on.

Frontier Days will be back. Until then, let's remember were it came from and why it is important to so many people.



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