CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Cheyenne Frontier Days, billed as the world’s largest outdoor rodeo, has been canceled for the first time in its 124-year history due to the coronavirus, the city’s mayor said Wednesday.
Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr told The Associated Press event organizers decided the risk of spreading the virus was too great for the more than 140,000 people who typically visit the city for Frontier Days over the last two weeks in July.
“What this pandemic means is we just can’t come together,” Orr said Wednesday. “We really have to stay apart so we can come together again sooner rather than later. It’s clear that we just aren’t going to be ready for this.”
Frontier Days carried on through both world wars and the Great Depression, when tough finances prompted it to become a mostly volunteer-run event. To this day, a small army of local volunteers runs the Western heritage festival of rodeo, music concerts, carnival rides, parades and downtown pancake breakfasts that feed thousands of people at a time. Bars all over town are typically standing-room-only during Frontier Days.
The rodeo is also a big draw for top rodeo athletes. A Frontier Days belt buckle is among the sport’s most coveted prizes.