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COVID-19 Bucks The Biggest Rodeo Of Them All

Cheyenne Frontier Days

Cheyenne Frontier Days, the world's largest outdoor rodeo, has been cancelled for the first time in its 124-year history.

Marian Orr, Cheyenne's mayor, said she's never known a Wyoming without a Cheyenne Frontier Days.

"It has survived wars. It's survived the Great Depression. So essentially it's that wild horse that just couldn't be broken. This is the one break that it just couldn't beat," she said.

The ten-day celebration typically attracts about 500,000 people, making it an economic workhorse for Laramie County. An economic impact study commissioned by the Wyoming Tourism Office found that 2018's Cheyenne Frontier Day generated more than $27 million in direct visitor spending.

But Orr knows it was the right decision.

"This isn't maybe the year to celebrate," she said. "This is the year to maybe just get through."

If there's ever a time to celebrate, Orr said it will be next year, when the "Daddy of 'em All" marks its 125th anniversary.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Maggie Mullen, at mmullen5@uwyo.edu.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Do you have questions about COVID-19? How has this crisis affected you? Our reporters would love to hear from you. You can submit your question or share your story here.

Maggie Mullen is Wyoming Public Radio's regional reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau. Her work has aired on NPR, Marketplace, Science Friday, and Here and Now. She was awarded a 2019 regional Edward R. Murrow Award for her story on the Black 14.
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