Cheyenne Frontier Days 2018
Story & photos by Eric and Karie Salveggio
Since 1897 the ‘Daddy of ‘Em All” rodeo has continued to draw people from across the globe. This year’s rodeo was no different, with over 500,000 in attendance. From the concerts showcasing names like Florida Georgia Line and Eric Church, to the Indian village where traditional dancing could be witnessed, here was something for every person to experience and take away.
(Pictured: Victoria Kelbert)
This year, Miss Natrona County 2018, Victoria Kelbert of Casper was in attendance. She had the opportunity to discuss her platform of mental health awareness and was able to witness Cheyenne Frontier Days from behind the scenes. The intensity of preparation for the riders, the hustle and bustle behind the chutes, and the amount of media covering the event blew her away. She also had the opportunity to speak with some of the rodeo queens who saw her as a kindred sister. Her experience gave her a much deeper appreciation for CFD.
Weather was the bane of the event, turning the arena into a 5” morass of mud and soup that couldn’t drain off fast enough. Animals sent spray up to 50’ away, covering everything including spectators! It was so bad that the arena was dubbed the ‘Beaches of Cheyenne’. Many of the contestants, either bucked off or otherwise, wound up with muck in places that even a Q-Tip would have trouble cleaning out. The weather was so rough that it actually stopped the rodeo twice, in and of itself, a historic moment. It was stopped once for hail on Wednesday and again for a tornado on Sunday.
(Pictured: Will Lowe)
Prize winning contestants included Trevor Brazile, who won the overall title, making this the fourth time the multi-million dollar cowboy has taken the prestigious award home. Will Lowe, world champion in bareback riding, took the title home for the third time in his career. He narrowly edged out Lane McGhee by less than 2 points in the aggregate by posting an 88-point ride. He then had to wait to see what Bill Tutor, the No. 3 world ranked bareback rider would do. It was a nail-biting event for Will, who heaved a sigh of relief and pumped his fist in a victory salute. Other champs for the 10-day event included steer wrestler Levi Rudd, team ropers Chad Masters/Joseph, tie-down roper Shane Hancey, barrel racer Nellie Miller, steer roper Brodie Poppino, and bull rider Ruger Piva.
(Pictured: Shane Hancey)
There were also record-breaking moments. Tie-down roper Sterling Smith shattered a 21-year CFD record by half a second with a time of 9.4 seconds. It was no small feat in the conditions everyone competed in. The biggest record broken was by Cheyenne Wyoming native, Brody Cress. Last year, Brody took home the saddle bronc title by taking the option of a re-ride, edging out his competition and leaving the entire stadium roaring their approval. This year, the question was could he do it again?
(Pictured: Brody Cress)
Sunday’s final event was tumultuous, to say the least. With a bit of trepidation, Brody knew he had to wait to see what his traveling partner, Wyatt Casper, would post for a score. The two were close in points. For Wyatt, it meant a trophy and bragging rights for Brody, a chance to make history. Brody watched nervously as Wyatt roared out of the chutes, bucking, spurring, mud flying, riding the horse like a man possessed. He posted an amazing 87-point ride, but fell 2 ½ points behind Brody. If the stadium roared last year, it went insane this year. With Brody winning, it was not only a back-to-back title, but he crushed an amazing 86-year record set by Tuff Greenough in 1936! With his dad, Tommy Cress, watching from the stands, it made winning the event that much sweeter. Once again, Cheyenne Frontier Days lived up to its name as being the biggest and best outdoor rodeo event in the world!