By Ellen Fike, For the Wyoming Tribune Eagle
There were still 30 minutes to go before the first Cheyenne Frontier Days pancake breakfast began, but people streamed through the Cheyenne Depot Plaza to get in line.
It had been two years since anyone could gather in the plaza for breakfast and everyone was anxious to be back.
By the time the first pancakes were served at 7 a.m., hundreds of people from all over the country and even the world gathered in a line that stretched all the way past the depot and for many blocks back on 15th Street.
Families with young children rubbing the sleep from their eyes lined the street, craning their necks to get a better look at the handful of chefs flipping hundreds, if not thousands, of pancakes early Monday morning.
Wil Tenacchio, who recently moved to Cheyenne, decided to come to the pancake breakfast following his workout Monday morning. This was his first time attending a breakfast, and intended to report back to his wife and daughter (who are moving to the city next month) about it.
“I love pancakes. I mean, it’s cake and it’s free,” he joked. “It’s really interesting to see how quickly the line has been moving, considering how many people are in it.”
Tenacchio intended to bring his family to Frontier Days next year so they could experience all of the events together, such as the parade, Military Monday and of course, the pancake breakfast.
“I think [the breakfast and Frontier Days] is a great opportunity to meet your community,” he said. “I know some of us are coming from out-of-state, but this is just a great opportunity to meet your neighbors and experience a little bit of what Cheyenne has to offer.”
The closer a person could get to the plaza, the more they could take in: the smell of the pancakes cooking on the large griddles, the music, the excited chatter of the people around them, the questions from young children about how many pancakes they could have.
Once in line, the process of getting breakfast is streamlined: you’re given silverware wrapped in a napkin, three pancakes, then two pats of butter, then syrup, then ham, then either coffee, milk or water.
This year, there was an added bonus of a small container of blueberries for breakfast.
Once inside the plaza, scores of benches filled the area, giving the audience plenty of seats to sit back, eat their breakfast and watch the band perform songs such as Garth Brooks’ “Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old).”
By the end of the week, volunteers from the Cheyenne Kiwanis Club and the local Boy Scouts will have served more than 100,000 pancakes, 630 pounds of butter, 475 gallons of syrup, cooked 3,000 pounds of ham, served 9,200 cartons of milk and 520 gallons of coffee.
Melinda and Ethan Morton of Alabama were also attending the pancake breakfast for the first time on Monday. The family attended CFD as a military family, and even participated during the first parade on Saturday morning.
Melinda Morton had a souvenir program in her hand, noting she wanted to collect more of them to send to her friends back home. She had even bought a pair of cowboy boots and a hat to get more into the western spirit.
“Some of them have [Frontier Days] on their bucket list, so I want to mail these to them and say that they definitely have to make the trip out here,” she said. “I would definitely love to come back here and bring more people, bring more family.”