Every year, the University of Wyoming has a presence at Cheyenne Frontier Days. Wyoming Public Media's Anna Rader asked UW's Institutional Communications Specialist Milton Ontiveroz about the university's involvement.
Anna Rader: How did the University of Wyoming become involved with Cheyenne Frontier Days?
Milton Ontiveroz: UW first became a partner with Cheyenne Frontier Days in 1998 when former UW President Phil Dubois wanted to increase the university's involvement with Wyoming communities. Members of the Cheyenne Frontier Days committee and members of UW's administration worked for several months to develop a partnership agreement, the first between Frontier Days and a non-profit organization. This was a way for UW to promote educational opportunities.
AR: What is the university’s role at CFD?
MO: The university’s role at CFD is to promote itself with visitors to the annual event. UW has a prominent role at CFD during the event’s 10-day run. UW has a presence in some of the parades, with President Dick McGinity riding a horse at one of the parades this year. He also will attend the rodeo and sponsorship reception at the governor’s mansion. UW also has an informational booth yearly in the main exhibition hall on the CFD park grounds, where UW materials are distributed. The university has official signage posted in the park, plus in promotional materials. In return, UW offers four scholarships each year in the name of the Cheyenne Frontier Days Committee.
AR: How do UW students or faculty participate with Frontier Days?
MO: Perhaps the biggest participation by UW students, and faculty and staff members, and also some administrators, is volunteering to staff the UW informational booth. UW is required to staff the booth from 10:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. each of the first nine days, and on the final day, from 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. This year, volunteers are from Institutional Marketing; Institutional Communications; Admissions Office; Alumni Association; Student Affairs; Career Services; the Foundation; Greek Life; and the Wyoming State Veterinary Lab. The goal, of course, is to promote the university and what the institution offers.
AR: What is your favorite part of being a part of Frontier Days?
MO: I have helped to organize UW’s participation since the beginning in 1998 as part of my Institutional Communications public relations duties -- it never gets old. This year, my co-workers on the marketing side have taken over organizing the booth promotional activities. I’ve just worked on the president’s schedule this year. And I would have to say my overall favorite part of being at CFD is staffing the booth. You meet many UW graduates who are pleased to see the university having a presence at this popular event. You also meet many folks from around Wyoming, nationally and internationally. People generally are interested in UW and Wyoming.
AR: Even in its name, Frontier Days hearkens back to an old—even romantic—vision of the West. In the 21st century, what’s UW’s relationship to this vision of the West?
MO: Well, we are the Cowboys! Both UW and the state embrace and celebrate our Western traditions.