Were These New Yorkers Impressed At Their First Cheyenne Frontier Days? Fuhgeddaboudit

Cowboys, pro rodeo and trucks — lots of trucks — made impressions on a couple from Brooklyn during their first trip to Wyoming and Cheyenne Frontier Days.

Mark Heinz

July 30, 20235 min read

Brooklyn, New York, residents Tom Moran, a firefighter, and Josie Moran, a teacher, talk about their favorite parts of visiting Wyoming for the first time, including people’s reaction to Tom’s thick Brooklyn accent.
Brooklyn, New York, residents Tom Moran, a firefighter, and Josie Moran, a teacher, talk about their favorite parts of visiting Wyoming for the first time, including people’s reaction to Tom’s thick Brooklyn accent. (Courtesy Photo)

The Cheyenne Frontier Days grounds are worlds away from the streets of Brooklyn, New York, so Tom and Josie Horan were soaking up all the Wyoming culture they could in a few days’ time.

“I’ve never seen so much sky,” said Tom, a New York City firefighter and lifelong Brooklyn resident during a visit with Cowboy State Daily on Friday.

Josie, a teacher, grew up in Virginia, so has seen rural living and a few rodeos, at least how they’re done back East. But the vistas in Wyoming are nothing like the thickly forested hills of her childhood home.

“I’m not used to being able to see all the way east and all the west,” she said.

First Time In The Cowboy State

Josie grew up as a country music fan, and Tim McGraw is one of her favorites. So when she found out McGraw was performing at Cheyenne Frontier Days this year, it was the perfect excuse for a quick getaway, and the couple’s first trip to Wyoming.

They’ve been married for 12 years, but “this is basically our 10-year anniversary trip,” Tom said. “In 2020, during our actual 10-year anniversary, we couldn’t go anywhere because of COVID.”

The couple’s two children stayed home.

“They’re at a beach camp, and they’re saying it’s really hot,” Tom said, referencing the 90-plus-degree heat that’s been blanketing the New York area.

Temperatures in the mid-80s in Cheyenne this week were far more pleasant, particularly given the dry, clean Cowboy State air, Josie said.

“The humidity back East can be disgusting,” she said.

Unmistakable Accent

There’s only a trace of the classic New York accent in Josie’s voice, but Tom’s accent is pure Brooklynese, as thick as they come.

It sticks out at CFD, he said, adding that folks in Wyoming seem to appreciate it.

“The whole time I’ve been out here, if somebody asks me a question, when I answer, the next question is always, ‘Where are you from?’” he said.

But it’s always out of genuine curiosity, and never hostile, he said.

“The people out here have been so unbelievably friendly and helpful,” Tom said, adding that’s a sharp contrast to New York City, where most people really do have the stereotypical bad attitude.

“Back home, if you’re stopped at a light and it turns green, you had better go right away, or the person behind you will start laying on their horn,” he said.

But in typical New York fashion, he gives as good as he gets.

“When that happens, I stand on my brakes and flip ’em the bird,” Tom said.

‘I Love All These Trucks!’

Josie said the rodeos her parents took her to in Virginia were all “local competitions,” so she’s never seen anything on the scale of the “Daddy of Them All” in the Cheyenne Frontier Days arena.

“These people are competing on an international level,” she said. “It amazed me when they were announcing that competitors were from places like Australia.”

Tom lit up when asked about his impression of seeing rodeo for the first time.

“It was awesome!” he said. “One of the guys I work with is always using that saying, ‘This isn’t my first rodeo.’ So when I was in the stands I texted him, ‘Guess what? I’m at my first rodeo!’”

He added that he was most amazed by some of the events for younger competitors.

“Some of those girls they had up on those horses were about 13, and they were going fast,” he said. “My son is 11, and I don’t think I’d lit him do that.”

“It’s part of their culture here,” Josie said. “They get them on up on horses when they were little.”

She also responded to her husband’s amazement of seeing so many people wearing jeans and boots in the summer heat.

“You can’t do farm work and ranch stuff in shorts,” she said.

Tom was also appreciative of the typical Wyoming vehicles.

“I love trucks,” he said excitedly. “I love being out here and seeing all these trucks!”

Memories Of Dad

Tom said his only previous exposure to Wyoming was through his father, who traveled to the Cowboy State years ago to attend a wedding and came back “dressed up like a cowboy.”

“He forgot his suit for the wedding, so he had to buy one in Wyoming,” Tom said. “He got the corduroy dress pants, the Western jacket, the boots, the bolo tie — everything. He said it was is favorite suit.”

Will Be Back For More

Seeing just a sliver of Wyoming and the West has been amazing. It’s also left Tom and Josie wanting more.

“I definitely want to come back here,” Tom said. “I want to bring the kids next time. They would be in heaven, seeing all of the cowboys and the rodeo.”

Josie said they don’t want their next trip to be such a whirlwind. Next time, they want to explore everything from the peaks to prairies. 

Tom agreed.

“I want to rent a car. I want to see Nebraska, then I want to go the other way and go see the mountains,” he said.

Mark Heinz can be reached at mark@cowboystatedaily.com.

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Mark Heinz

Outdoors Reporter