2013: Cheyenne Frontier Days Without The Thunderbirds
This year's performance will continue a CFD tradition that has been scheduled for every year since 1953--except one.
That year was 2013, when federal budget cuts grounded the famed demonstration team from Cheyenne for the only time in 63 years. The cuts were part of federal "sequestration" cuts that targeted a wide range of federal agencies The budget cuts prevented the pilots in the team from practicing.
For a high-precision flying team that depends on minute timing, perfect technique and ultra-polished flying skills, not being able to practice presented a safety risk that Air Force officials just weren't willing take take.
While Cheyenne Frontier Days officials did their best to schedule other events for the Wednesday when the Thunderbirds normally took to the skies, many local residents and CFD visitors felt the annual celebration just wasn't quite the same without the familiar ''thunder" sound coming from the skies and the sight of high tech planes performing feats that seemingly defy the laws of physics.
The sense of loss was heightened by the fact that at the time no one could be sure when--or if--the death defying pilots would again ply their craft before the thousands that typically take in the air show.
Fortunately, the funding issues that grounded the Thunderbirds were resolved in time for 2014, and the tradition of the Thunderbirds at Cheyenne Frontier Days is one that has returned for 2015 and 2016.