Tag archive

CFD

Cheyenne Frontier Days: Behind the Chutes

in Community/Tourism/arts and culture
1700

By Seneca Flowers, special for Cowboy State Daily

You can tell it’s Cheyenne Frontier Days because the heat has finally kicked up to the 90s in Cheyenne. When the July heat starts cooking, Cheyenne Frontier Days gets into gear. Part of the magic can be witnessed by locals and tourists who can step in the arena mud and dirt as part of the Behind the Chutes tour.

The tour features a variety of history and facts narrated by guides as it passes from the Old West Museum through to the animal holding area and emptying out in to the arena near the bucking chutes and chute nine.

Public Relations Committee Volunteer Jessica Crowder is a tour guide for Behind the Chutes and has been so for nearly a decade. She said over the years, she has enjoyed meeting people from around the world.

“We have had people from Europe, South America,” she said. “I can’t think of place we haven’t seen someone from.”

One family took the tour as part of a vacation from their hometown of Bloomfield, Ind. The Holtsclaw family visited Cheyenne as part of a Wyoming and South Dakota sightseeing trip. As a child, Jarrod Holtsclaw would often visit a Labor Day rodeo in Palestine, Ill., near his hometown with his parents and grandparents. The rodeo was not as large as Cheyenne Frontier Days. He said he was impressed by the size of the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo.

His son, Boone, enjoyed being up close to the livestock.

“My favorite part was looking at the bulls they had,” Boone Holtsclaw said.

Although the tour took people along the path for 45 minutes, it was a much tighter tour than it was in the past, according to Crowder. The tour used to be just one to two tour guides who had to know every detail. But nowadays, newer volunteers get to shadow the veterans and take part in guiding the tourists. This allows them to help out without having to know every part of the script.

“That adaptation really made it a lot of fun,” Crowder said.

Although she has done the tour for nearly a decade, she said she enjoys hearing about the tourists’ experiences and watching them have fun while interacting during the tour.

The doctors are in: Meet the Cheyenne Frontier Days wagon doctors

in Community/arts and culture
1626

The dozens of wagons that travel the Cheyenne Frontier Days parade route every year are on the road thanks largely to the work of a dedicated handful of mechanics, painters, carpenters and other volunteers known collectively as the “Wagon Doctors.”

The group not only checks and maintains the wagons that are a fixture at the annual rodeo parade, but handles any repair work necessary on the vintage vehicles.

“We repair and restore old wagons,” said team member Ed Galavotti. “Anything that goes wrong with them or they need painting.”

Tom Watson said a number of volunteers with a wide variety of talents take part in the work.

“The guys we have, they do it as a hobby,” he said. “They do it year-round. We have machinists, we have carpenters, we have painters. We have one guy who does upholstery. So we pretty much can cover anything.”

Materials used to repair and refurbish the wagons, many of them more than 100 years old, are often not readily available, Galavotti said.

“We use specific lumber, we use carriage bolts that you don’t find,” he said. “But there’s places around that supply us.”

The repair work is almost constant, Watson said.

“You never run into something that you’re just going to bring in and fix real quick,” he said. “Because it always leads to something else that you find out wrong.”

Even wagons that do not need repairs get attention from the “doctors,” Watson said.

“All the wagons that are in the parade every year, we grease the axles, we give them a good look-over and tighten bolts,” he said.

The collection of wagons used for the parade is all them more impressive because they are actually used, he added.

“We used to say this was one of the biggest (wagon collections) in the United States,” he said. “There’s none bigger that uses them more.”

Go to Top