Here we spent a few nights with Wild Horse John, Saginaw Sue and Bonnie (a Miniature Aussie Shepherd or American Herding Dog).
The first evening we had a barbecue and the house fire a street away created an interesting backdrop and entertainment for the evening.
Friday was spent at Cheyenne Frontier Days “Daddy Of 'Em All” PRCA Rodeo. We had seats in the East Stand underneath the mist sprayers and as it warmed up and the sun crept over to us they came on and kept things cool.
The rodeo was amazing! Being reasonably close to the chutes we could see all the action. The events for the 3 and a half hours were saddle bronc riding, bull riding, bareback bronc's, steer wrestling, steer roping, barrel racing and then the wild horse race.
There was a carriage parade, the colour guard girls ripping around the arena on their horses with the sponsor flags, the Rodeo Queen and her lady in waiting, a mounted shooting lady and the guy did pistol his first run and the second with rifle.
They had an exhibition of a cowboy roper/gun twirler/whip cracker who's idol apparently was Will Rogers and I must say this guy was really good. Nearly went wrong with his flaming whips though! Caught fire leaving some light scorch marks on the back of his shirt and some melted fringing!
Friday night was followed up by Trace Adkins and Toby Keith concert! What can I say but awesome!! The place was packed, the music was loud, there were firework and video displays, it was so so good.:) 🙂 🙂
Saturday, after breakfast, the four of us headed to Frontier Days again. First up we went and did the 'behind the chutes' tour and heard information regarding the event as I outline briefly below.
Cheyenne Frontier Days started in 1897 and it cost 15c to sit in the bleachers.
The Rodeo only had two events then – 'pitching and bucking' and 'steer roping'. You rode til the horse quit bucking or you hit the dirt.
In the early days they used straight chutes, where at times if a horse started bucking before they got out could injure horses and cowboy's alike. The chutes now open sideways and bulls and horses do a quarter turn out of the chute. Cheyenne chutes are now used world wide.
Bareback bronc riders use what's called a riggin. Like a suitcase handle strapped to the horse. The saddle bronc riders use a saddle that is a little different from your usual saddle. (Info learnt from Wild Horse John who has previous rodeo experience) The saddle strap sits further forward on the horse and the stirrups adjust on a different point allowing the rider to move their feet forward above the shoulder and snap their heels back up to the horses rear,
Contestants must start with their feet above the shoulders of the horse as they come out of the chute. If their feet are down or back from the shoulder then they will get a 'no score'.
For the bull and bronc riding, the animals and Cowboys are drawn at random to see who will ride who.
The wild horse race (which was incredible to watch) consists of a team of 3. The first guy, a strong stocky guy is the one to hold the horse rope and attempt to hold the horse. The 'mugger' is the tall strong guy who will hold the horses head, sometimes covering the horses eyes to try and calm them. While this is all going on it is then up to the lucky/unlucky guy to saddle the horse as fast as he can and ride the 1 mile lap around the arena and see if they can beat the others to win.
A visual picture for you, these poor guys look like monkeys on ponies in a circus as they bob around the track trying to stay on the horse!
The only ladies event at the rodeo is the barrel racing event which runs at a fair pace, knock over a barrel during a turn and you get a 5sec penalty added to your time. Sounds familiar right?!
The animals are very well looked after and are in excellent condition. Different animals are brought in each year so as they don't get too familiar with the events. The animals they use for this rodeo are usually on the larger side compared to other rodeos. Calves are 300pds and steers around 600pds.
For the steer roping the steer will get a 35ft head start on the horses and riders. The 'header' will rope the steers horns, the 'heeler' will rope 2 of the steer legs.
In steer wrestling the rider jumps from the horse and must take the steer to the ground and all 4 legs must face the same way as the steer's nose for his score to count.
In short, I want to be riding horses again and become proficient at it!!
A jaunt through all the vendors, a few purchases, ran into a few cowboy shooters and another full day was done.
Margaritas were calling!
Thanks again to Wild Horse John and Saginaw Sue for their hospitality.