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Sunday, September 1, 2013

CHEYENNE "The Daddy of them All"

Roger Edison - Reporting for Cowboys and Chuckwagon Cooking
Wyoming is well known for Cowboys and rich with history.  A mere 90 minutes north of Denver, Colorado is Cheyenne, the capital of Wyoming.  It's name brings forth the romantic images of the west; Cowboys, Rodeo, Railroads and majestic plains.  Since 1897, Cheyenne Frontier Days host one of the greatest Rodeo attractions often termed, "The Daddy of the all."   This year, 447 steers walked a three-mile course in unison from Hynds Boulevard into Frontier Park to await the forthcoming events.  Through the years, Cheyenne continues to draw over 200,000 tourist to experience the cowboy life and see the exciting shows.  Their slogan, "Cheyenne - Live the Legend."   
The legend begins long before the cowboys came to the frontier.  The Crow, Shoshone, Cheyenne and Lakota, were but a few of the original inhabitants that Anglo explorers first encountered.  John Colter, a member of the 1804 Lewis and Clark Expedition, was prohaps the first white American to enter the region in 1807. Colter, born in Virginia grew to become an avid hunter and mountain man.   French-Canadian trappers ventured into the Wyoming state in the late 18th century, leaving French toponyms such as Téton and La Ramie, though it would be  Colter that would map the area and report on what today is known as
John Colter, painting by Gerry Metz
Yellowstone National Park.  Colter as a guide for a newly form business, the Missouri Fur Trading Company  ventured on his own with pack and rifle.  It the spring of 1808, he return to Fort Raymond describing the thermal wonders of Yellowstone, though most were skeptical of his story and Yellowstone would be known as "Colter's Hell." Although while often believed Colter's stories to be myth, two expeditions and decades later, President Ulysses S. Grant signed the Act of Dedication law that created Yellowstone as a National Park, the first in the nation and the beginnings of what would later become the National Park Service.
The western frontier was attracting new migration of pioneers.  Earlier on the mountain men who operated fur trade came to the territory. By 1836, settlers and wagon freighters cross the area as an early route of the Oregon Trail.  Mormons began passing through Wyoming on their way to Utah and other pioneers followed seeking new lands, gold, silver and other opportunities. An estimate of 350,000 pioneers crossed the area from 1841 to 1860.  
Clashes between the new pioneers and Native American Indians, the US Government established Forts to protect the emigrants. Fort Laramie originally an outpost to protect fur traders would house 350 soldiers by 1849.  The need for beef to feed the Army and growing populations would motivate early trail drives to the area, though raising cattle locally would become profitable.
Seth Ward, a sutler to Fort Laramie, left cattle out to graze the open range in the winter of 1852-53 along Chugwater Creek north of what is now Cheyenne. He expected to find carcasses in the spring. Yet when he returned he found “the oxen,” as he called them, thriving.  
The region had acquired the name Wyoming by 1865, when Representative J. M. Ashley of Ohio introduced a bill to Congress to provide a "temporary government for the territory of Wyoming". The name Wyoming derives from the Munsee name xwé:wamənk, meaning "at the big river flat", but it was also named after the Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania, made famous by the 1809 poem Gertrude of Wyoming by Thomas Campbell.  

 On Susquehanna's side, fair Wyoming! 
Although the wild-flower on thy ruin'd wall, 
And roofless homes, a sad remembrance bring, 
Of what thy gentle people did befall; 
Yet thou wert once the loveliest land of all 
That see the Atlantic wave their morn restore. 
Sweet land! may I thy lost delights recall, 
And paint thy Gertrude in her bowers of yore, 
Whose beauty was the love of Pennsylvania's shore!
After the Union Pacific Railroad had reached the town of Cheyenne in 1867, the region's population began to grow steadily, and the federal government established the Wyoming Territory on July 25, 1868.  
On December 10, 1869, territorial Governor John Allen Campbell extended the right to vote to women, making Wyoming the first territory and then U.S. state to grant suffrage to women. In addition, Wyoming was also a pioneer in welcoming women into politics. Women first served on juries in Wyoming (Laramie in 1870); Wyoming had the first female court bailiff Mary Atkinson, Laramie, in 1870); and the first female justice of the peace in the country Esther Hobart Morris, South Pass City, in 1870). Also, in 1924, Wyoming became the first state to elect a female governor, Nellie Tayloe Ross, who took office in January 1925. In fact, Wyoming and Texas both elected female governors at the same time, but Wyoming's took office sixteen days before Texas's.  Due to its civil-rights history, Wyoming's state nickname is "The Equality State", and the official state motto is "Equal Rights." 
Wyoming was the location of the Johnson County War of 1892, on which the controversial 1980 film Heaven's Gate was based, which erupted between competing groups of cattle ranchers. The passage of the federal Homestead Act led to an influx of small ranchers. A range war broke out when either or both of the groups chose violent conflict over commercial competition in the use of the public land. 
The Daddy of them all - The Cheyenne Frontier Days has received the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) Large Outdoor Rodeo of the Year award for the fourteenth time at a National Finals Rodeo award banquet held in Las Vegas, Nevada. 
 The Air Force performs their annual air show where the Thunderbird's share a long history with Cheyenne Frontier Days.  In 1947, while the jet age was still in its infancy, military aviation was hurtled into the future with the creation of the U.S. Air Force as a separate service.  Just six years later, on May 25, 1953, the Air Force’s official air demonstration team, designated the 3600th Air Demonstration Unit, was activated at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. The unit adopted the name “Thunderbirds,” influenced in part by the strong Native American culture and folklore from the southwestern United States where Luke Air Force Base is located.  That same year, they made the first public appearance at the Cheyenne Frontier Days. 
Air Force Thunderbirds
In 1989, our nation lost a great bullrider on July 30 at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo. Lane Frost after completing a successful 91-point ride on a Brahma bull named "Taking Care of Business", dismounted and landed in the dirt. The bull turned and hit him in the side with his horn, breaking several of Frost's ribs. Lane initially rose to his feet and yelling at Tuff Hedeman for help. As he was running and signaling for help, Frost fell to the ground causing the broken ribs to puncture his lungs and heart. Lane was rushed to Memorial Hospital where he passed on. 
Free pancake breakfast held Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with nearly 40,000 people taking advantage of this every year, volunteers serve over 100,000 pancakes along with 3,000 pounds of ham that is sponsored by the local Kiwanis chapter. 
The rodeo action is powerful in Cheyenne.  Taylor Price won the Bareback Bronc with a scoring ride of 86 points.  Wade Sundell who had a serious injury to his left foot last year scored a 90 point ride on the third go around winning the Saddle Bronc event.  Will Scaffer would be this year Rookie having two great rides.
Dru Melvin with a 5.9 second score on the first go around of Steer Wrestling along with contestants Bray Armes and Matt Mousseau both had great times in the first go around but could not maintain a winning average in the second and third run finding Pampa, Texas born Matt Reeves winning the event.  
Mike Chase lasso over Bobby Harris and Trevor Brazile winning the Steer Roping event while contestants in the Senior Steer Roping found all but one performance having no time allowing Bobby Harris to easily win having three successful scores.  
Teague, Texas cowboy Scott Kormos entered the final round in eighth place and still did not believe he had any chance of a victory win in the Tie-Down Roping Event, even after his 12.4 seconds run in front of a giant crowd at the Frontier Park Arena. But combined with his other two runs, the veteran tie-down roper had a three head average of 39.5 seconds that held up and took first place by four-tenths of a second.   Jade Corkill from Fallon, Nevada partnered with Clay Tryan from Billings, Montana takes first with Team Roping.  
Christy Loflin
"In the sport of barrel racing we have so many variables that affect the outcome of our success. Sometimes things don't go our way and it's easy to lose sight of our dreams. Being positive and able to take the good with the bad has been the key to my success. I don't have any special talents or great barrel racing skills, I just always kept my dream in my heart and never, never, never gave up," states Christy Loflin who took second place last year at the Cheyenne Frontier Day's Rodeo. Her perseverance paid off winning First this year. 
Former Marine and rodeo performer, Wild Bill Williams who today is a football coach remembers a young skinny lad weighing 140 pounds and standing Five feet eight inches getting ready for high school rodeo. The left handed rider would go on to join the CBR, then entered the PBR earning Seven PBR World Finals Qualifications.  Today, that young cowboy is Cody Whitney from Asher, Oklahoma and an inspiration to the sport of Bull Riding winning the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo with a purse of  $10918.93     
However, the best part of the Cheyenne Frontier Days might just rest with the chuckwagon cooks, who like rodeo contestants, come from all across the nation to compete.  One cook, Randy Brown discovered chuck wagon cooking by just tagging along where he became hooked after his weekend there. Before he left, he made arrangements to buy a wagon and took it back to his home in Pennsylvania. Along with the chuckwagon competitions, many youth show off their cooking skills working off the chuck wagons.  All part of living the legend.  
Read  Cheyenne Frontier Days 2013 Chuck Wagon Cook-Off   story by Cassandra Swanson
Cheyenne Frontier Day's Youth Chuck Wagon Cook-Off

Seth Ward, a sutler to Fort Laramie, left cattle out to graze the open range in the winter of 1852-53 along Chugwater Creek north of what is now Cheyenne. He expected to find carcasses in the spring. Yet when he returned he found “the oxen,” as he called them, thriving. - See more at:

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