A Look Back: Cheyenne Frontier Days 2020 Canceled On This Date
Three years ago today, on May 27, 2020, Cheyenne Frontier Days was canceled for the first (and so far only) time in it's history.
CFD was once of six large Wyoming rodeos cancelled by COVID concerns that year.
In his news conference announcing the cancellations Governor Mark Gordon, his voice quivering with emotion, said 'this hurts," noting the important role that rodeos have historically played in the Cowboy State's culture.
Frontier Days is of course, an integral part of life in Cheyenne, bringing in big-name concerts, the largest outdoor rodeo in the world, and a host of associated events including pancake breakfasts, parades and other festivities.
Economically the ''Daddy of 'em all" brings in a lot of money, pumping as much as million according to some estimates into the Cheyenne/Laramie County economy. For some businesses, including hotels and motels, gas stations, bars and restaurants, Frontier Days is the make or break time of year.
Tom Hirsig, who was the President and CEO of CFD at the time, explained the cancellation decision:
Here is the article KGAB posted about the cancellation:
Cheyenne Frontier Days CEO and President Tom Hirsig took the podium Wednesday afternoon to explain the reasons behind the decisions to cancel CFD as well as the five other largest Wyoming rodeos in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The cancellations were announced on Wednesday afternoon due in large part to safety and health concerns related to having large crowds at a time when COVID-19 continues to pose a threat across the country and around the world.
Each of the decisions was made independently in consultation with state officials. Many smaller rodeos across the state will still be held.
Hirsig said there were a number of factors beyond simply the obvious health concerns that went into each of the decisions, including the decision to call off CFD 2020.
You can hear Tom Hirsig's remarks in the video above.
2020 will be the first time in the 124-year history of CFD that it has been canceled.
The decision will mean a big financial hit for the Laramie County economy, as the annual economic impact has been estimated at around $25 million dollars or more in the Cheyenne area. Businesses such as gas stations, restaurants, bars, and hotels are likely to be especially hard hit
Here is the Cheyenne Frontier Days Facebook post announcing the cancellation
Then-Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr posted a statement on the cancellation:
This afternoon Governor Gordon announced the cancellation of Wyoming’s six larger summer rodeos including our own Daddy of ‘Em All. This decision was not an easy one. Tough decisions are made by tough people, and I thank Governor Mark Gordon and officials at CFD for making this tough call. Next year will be CFD’s 125th (CFD isn’t going away this year. They’ll remain a big part of our community - simply in a different way.) In 2021, you bet we’ll all be ready to go, show, and rodeo."
Big Piney Rodeo-Tie Down Roping