Wyoming Arts Council

Cheyenne Frontier Days

Coming to work this morning, I thought I’d get here early to beat the parade entries that begin to line up on the street just north of the Arts Council’s office, and get a parking place in the garage. At 7:30 this morning, there weren’t many assembled, but the 24-count packs of bottled water were being dropped off on corners along the parade route from the rented truck, enough at each point that they were stacked two or three high in two and three rows. I walked down the street to the post office, had invites to mail for my mother’s upcoming surprise party, and saw the pick-up truck and flatbed trailer that pulls the giant-sized pair of jeans (representative of the Frontier Days legend) parked there, waiting to pull into its place in the parade. It was a beautiful morning and I had some time to dally before work, so I walked the block east to the coffee house. A group of three people were slowly walking down the street, looking back and forth. I must have looked enough like a local, one of them asked me if this was the street that the parade went down. “No, I said, just go one block over, and you’ll be good.” “So I guess those chairs we set up down there,” the young man in the group said, pointing, “won’t do us any good.” He and the other man took off to move them, and the woman ended up in line a few customers behind me at the coffee place. The group of people in front of me were getting their parade munchies, and I don’t think that one of the ladies had ever been in a Starbuck’s before. Simplicity abounds. On the way back, another group of people had set up their chairs almost in the exact wrong place that the others had, but were already in the throes of packing up and moving. It’s pink shirt day, and everybody that works and volunteers wears a pink shirt to bring attention to and collect donations for breast cancer awareness. The guys who man the water stations are cowboy-hatted, helpful and friendly, saying as I passed by two of them on my walking trip this morning, “When you get thirsty, come on back and get some water. It’s free.” My daughter and grandsons will be in the parade this morning. They’ll be in the prairie schooner.

This is the 113th time that Cheyenne has done Frontier Days, and they are a well-organized machine. But I thought about the extraordinary effort by all of the people ( and there are many) who work to make all of this happen. It’s a steeped tradition here in Cheyenne, and people from all over the world pass through this town during this incredible rodeo-based festival. From my office window, I can see a large group of riders on horses has assembled, and two of the old yellow Yellowstone buses are parked on the street. So I’m going to watch the parade this morning, hopefully see the family and wave, and try and get a decent picture of them. And grab a bottled water.

Linda Coatney

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