Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Cheyenne Frontier Days, Cheyenne, Wyoming July 17- 20

July 17----we decided to take a rest day and chill by the pool in Rock Springs, and, as it turns out, the National High School Rodeo Championships were being held there all week. In the evening, we went to the rodeo grounds and were surprised to see what a huge event this was. There were high school kids from 36 states, Canada and Australia competing, and it was a major production, with campers, horse and cattle corrals, sponsor tents, food vendors, and the whole deal for as far as you could see. We decided to check it out, so we had an evening of rodeo, with the kids competing against each other, not only as individuals, but state team scores were kept also. Texas was the defending champ, and they seemed to be kicking butt again. Some eastern states were represented like Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and North Carolina, but there was a huge difference in skill level. Texas, Wyoming, Utah, North Dakota , Colorado and Florida seemed to be the cream of the crop.

At the start of the rodeo, they performed all three national anthems

Canadian flag going around the ring during the anthem.  Note the cowboys in pink shirts with their hats over their hearts.  It was wear pink night.

We had two rodeo rings to watch at the same time and each ring had a big screen for replays!

July 18-----thirty years ago, when Pam was single and carefree, she traveled the west with her dog, Buffy, in her blue 'gypsy van.' One of her stops was the Cheyenne Frontier Days, and she has talked about it fondly ever since. As we approached Wyoming, I thought I would check on the dates, and surprise, it was starting in just a couple of days, but we were 287 miles away. We decided to pack up the bikes and RV it to the Frontiers Days, and it made it even better, because Buddy is with us. It was a straight shot from west to east on I-80. Wyoming is miles and miles of grasslands and wind, so it suited me just fine that this was an RV trip, not a bike trip. I would have had to ride on I-80 anyhow, because it is the ONLY road. There were sections of US route 30, which used to be the main road, but they would appear and disappear randomly. We passed a couple of towns, but it pretty much was grasslands, with lots of cattle as we approached the towns.
      We pulled into the Terry Bison Ranch and RV park, a few miles south on I-25,  and were guided back into a field that was going to be filled with RV in a few days, but we were one of the early ones, along with a few gas industry workers who were set up. Our view from the field, with no hookups, by the way, was a bison herd, two wind farms with their huge white windmill turbines off in the distance, the Rocky Mountains to the south in Colorado, and I-25.

Dry camping on the Terry Bison Ranch.  Right after we rolled in, we had a big storm.

Our view from the motorhome!

We were all alone for the first night, but next day, the rigs rolled in!
Our rainbow!  (See the raindrops on the lens?)

Our sunset the first evening.
July 19 We had to drive about ten miles north to get to the park and ride shuttles, which we did because we had no idea where we were going, so we figured our first day we would let someone else do the driving, and after we learned the lay of the land, we would go from there. Even though Frontier Days was open, today was basically a set-up day, and the crowds weren't very big. The whole place is not as big as I expected, and Pam said she barely recognized it from thirty years ago. The high school rodeo in Rock Springs probably took up more acreage. We walked around and visited what we could, but it wouldn't start rocking until tonight, with the first concert of the week. We went to the ticket windows and got our tickets to a concert, the rodeo, which is the centerpiece of the whole deal with about a million dollars in prize money, and the pro bull riding event. We beat the crowd and the lines. There were some events going on at Warren Air Force Base, which was within walking distance, so we  went over there and saw some Revolutionary War, and WWII displays, and some Calvary horse drills. We bought our concert tickets for tonight, and we saw Styx and Journey play, on the only night that wasn't going to be country. Later in the week, after we head out, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, Rascall Flatts, Luke Bryan, and Jason Aldean would all be playing in the evenings. Pam and I had seen Styx in Pittsburgh, and decided they were good enough to see again, and I had seen Journey and was pleasantly surprised at how good they were, so that's who we decided to see. Styx was once again great, and Journey was a disappointment for me, because they had a new lead singer, and he wasn't as good as Steven Parry, in my opinion. The rodeo arena, where the concert was, was new, and held 20-25,000 people, but because we took the shuttle, we hopped on a bus and rolled right out with no traffic, and were in bed at midnight.

At the air force base, the guys checked out a helicopter.

And got a little silly.....

and sillier....

and then I got involved!
July 20 the Cheyenne Frontier Days Parade was to start at 9:30 in downtown Cheyenne, so we drug ourselves out of bed and were on the parade route, sitting in our chairs by 9am. The parade lasted an hour and a half, and it was very entertaining for us because everything was so different than the Canonsburg Fourth of July parade. The weather was warm, but nice, and instead of politicians, dance groups, and corvettes, we saw horses, wagons, rodeo queens, horses, four high school bands, fiddle players, horses, cowboys and cowgirls, and more horses. The governor and first lady were in the parade RIDING THEIR HORSES!!  There was a large group of politicians, but they were all on horseback in their western gear - it was awesome!  Every time a special group from out of state came by, the announcer would call for everyone in the crowd to give them a big Wyoming Yee Haw, and everyone would scream, 'yee haw'. Not like Canonsburg at all. The streets were wide and no one was pushing out in the road, and no one put their chairs on the street a week in advance! We had breakfast burritos from Taco Johns, and had a great time yee hawing everyone.

Pam went a little crazy on the parade pictures, so enjoy!

Miss Frontier Days Rodeo Queen

Trick roper

Yee Haw!

Visiting Rodeo Queens!

Of course the military was represented

Purple heart recipients

Union Pacific has a huge rail yard in Cheyenne - this is their "float"

The train was so long, it almost made a complete circle.


Cool horse and carriage


Ladies out for a drive!

To transport liquid....I'm sure it was always water!

Bicycle built for two

This was a high school string band that was JAMMING!

This group came all the way from Nebraska with their horses and trailer.

Mexican dancer

What's a parade without John Deere tractors!!!

If you look backwards, you can see all of the many John Deere tractors in the parade

Of course the parade finishes with the street cleaners following the last of the horses!!!

     We were home by noon, and I decided to take a bike ride into Cheyenne. I should have known something was up when I saw a storm chaser truck parked on a hill as I went by, and had black clouds coming out of the mountains in Colorado, which were behind me. I had a head wind going into town, cruised around Cheyenne for a while, and the black clouds had me surrounded, but I hadn't gotten wet. As I headed back toward the campground, I once again had a headwind because the storm had traveled to the east of Cheyenne as was putting on a hell of a light show.  It rained on me for about five minutes, and I had to ride on some wet roads, but I. Never really felt anything from the storm, except the wind. When I got back I found out that the area was under flash flood warnings and some places had already gotten two inches of rain. I don't know how I got so lucky, but every time the storm zigged I zagged, and I somehow made it home with a 32.33 mile ride in 2:50 and I never got wet. I rode around the town of Cheyenne, and got to know my way around pretty well. It is the state capital, and I stopped at the capital building and took some pictures, and even though there is a population of about 60,000, it has a small town feel, and was very easy to navigate on a bicycle.

Union Pacific railroad yard

Capital building in Cheyenne

Around the capital building are many statues.  

The western spirit is definitely in Cheyenne!

Did we mention that there are 5 camels on the Terry Bison Ranch?!!

They like to race the bike!

After the ride, Pam and I laid low  and had a dinner at the restaurant at the campground. There was a two guitar band playing, and they had a buffalo buffet for $28.00 including buffalo prime rib, buffalo ribs, buffalo meatballs. Even though it sounded interesting, we weren't going to drop that kind of cash on a meal. We weren't even that hungry, and we stuck with plain old beef. I got a hamburger and Pam got a Philly cheesesteak. Buddy was on the prowl with some locals and we didn't see to much of him, but we all had an early Saturday night. (Speaking of buffalo, I didn't know that there were no buffalo in North America, they are all bison. Also, there are no antelope here either, they are all pronghorn deer, or sheep, or antelope, depending on who you ask. So the guy who wrote the song about the buffalo being home on the range, and the deer and the antelope playing had it all wrong.)

After dinner, Mike tried his hand at roping the steer (note he is cheating and looping it over the horns)

Then he decided to ride the steer - note the front legs were off the ground because it was trying to buck him off!  Yee Haw!

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