The 118th Annual Cheyenne Frontier Days celebration ended on Sunday with 12,883 fans watching rodeo champions crowned which approached the record of 13,203 set in 2005. Attendance numbers are all preliminary. Total rodeo attendance at the 118th Annual “Daddy of ‘em All” was 85,379. Night Show was 118,833. Total paid attendance was 250,264, an increase over 2013 nearing the record set at the 100th celebration in 1996. Of those guests 104,600 visited and participated in activities in Old Frontier Town.
There were 46,205 visitors to the Indian Village. Three pancake breakfasts fed 26,668 and over 50,000 people attended the four Grand Parades. Behind the Chutes Tours, which are free to the public, engaged 4093 rodeo fans in an in-depth look at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo.
“Our volunteers are the heart and soul of organization and none of this would be possible without their hard work and dedication,” said general chairman Darin Westby. “We have 10 separate committees that work together before, during and after the event. This year has been seamless and it makes me really excited for the future of Cheyenne Frontier Days.”
Tim McGraw on the final Saturday night was the biggest night show draw with 23,313 in attendance, the third largest crowd in the history of Frontier Nights. Also on Saturday night, it was announced that Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert will be performing here in 2015.
Members of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and Women’s Professional Rodeo Association competed for nearly $1 million in cash and prizes. Champions received a package including some of most coveted prizes in professional rodeo – Cheyenne buckles and trophy saddles.
Night shows included the Championship Bull Riding World Finals (CBR) with Sage Kimzey from Strong City, Okla., earned the world title and a $100,000 bonus. Additionally, Neil Holmes won the Cheyenne CBR event title and $50,000.
This year’s celebration kicked off with a new event, the Cinch Shootout, featuring bareback riding, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, women’s barrel race and bull riding and $70,000 in prize money. Contestants were invited to compete representing one of eight of the largest rodeos in North America. Along with Cheyenne; Reno Rodeo; Calgary Stampede; National Western Stock Show Rodeo; San Antonio Stock Show Rodeo; Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo; Rodeo Austin and Rodeo Houston participated. Each event winner got a $10,000 prize and the winning team also got a bonus.
Nearly 1,300 contestants were part of this year’s rodeo and CBR. The Justin Sportsmedicine Team saw one third of them throughout the competition. The worst injury came to Cody Whitney during the Cinch Shootout when he got stepped on by a bull. Whitney, from Sayre, Okla., sustained a broken collarbone and shoulder joint and is recovering.
Throughout the rodeo and CBR over 4,500 animals appeared in competition in the arena. Additionally more than 2,000 animals appeared in parades, grand entries and other activities. A team of veterinarians inspected all animals a minimum of twice daily. Comprehensive reports showed that on-site veterinarians examined 82 animals for sickness or injury, 20 less than in 2013. All but eight of those were treated and released or found to be injury free.
The Annual Western Art Show and Sale benefitting the Old West Museum had total sales of more than $300,000. The Championship Round Calcutta, benefitting the CFD Volunteer Crisis Fund, generated an all-time record contribution.
Off-site activities that were held in conjunction with the event were also successful. More than 15,000 fans watched the U.S. Air Force Thunderbird Arial Demonstration at Laramie County Community College. Thousands of others also enjoyed the demonstration as the Thunderbirds soared over Cheyenne. Fort D.A. Russell Days at Warren Air Force Base attracted another 21,000 spectators.
For the fourth year, fans were able to interact with social media outlets. The CFD Facebook page has seen tremendous growth with 114,693 likes compared to 75,205 last year. Other social media outlets are also seeing growth. There are 9,588 Twitter followers, and an additional 3,000 on other social media outlets.
“We had a truly incredible year,” Westby added. “Every person that is involved with our celebration has a deep commitment to the history and tradition here. We work hard to ensure our guests have fun and are able to experience all that Frontier Days has to offer. My hat is off to everyone who participated this year.”