Hello Cheyenne, it is Frontier Days, and our city is busy. Not only is the city busy, but so are Judy and I.
I started out last Friday with an interview with 850 KOA out of Denver. I was going to say no, but realized it is an opportunity to sell Cheyenne and Frontier Days to the Denver market. Hope to see a lot of Colorado residents here spending money.
Lunch that day was spent at the Chamber’s Pardners N’ Prosperity event at the Ice and Events Center. It is a chance to celebrate our business community. I spoke at the luncheon and thanked our partners that make our city a success: LEADS, Visit Cheyenne/DDA, County Commission, State, Military, and the Chamber to name a few. Thanks to all of you for making Cheyenne a great place to live, work, and play.
The unveiling of the Chris LeDoux statute on Friday afternoon was an emotional event. Chris grew up like many of us, the son of an Air Force member, and he attended Cheyenne Central High School. It is fitting that CFD is honoring Chris this year. A Wyoming guy who was a Collegiate and World Champion Bareback rider, Grammy-nominated singer, and someone we all admired. Ned LeDoux and Garth Brooks spoke so eloquently, and it was great to see the family all together. One highlight for my wife Judy was the chance to meet Garth Brooks. He shook her hand and introduced himself. She did a big fan girl thing.
Friday night was electric at the Garth Brooks concert. We had a big group of my boys, their girlfriends, two sisters, and a couple of family friends. It was so much fun listening to the crowd sing back to Garth. He is the consummate showman, and it was the best CFD concert of my life.
Riding in the CFD parade with your name on the carriage is a new experience for me. Saturday the crowds along the parade route were amazing. They were 10 rows deep in many places. So fun to have folks from other places shout out where they are from. Our drivers were from Missouri. They bring a team every year to be a part of our historic carriages that make up a big part of our four parades. Thanks to everyone who waved back at us.
The rodeo was sold out on Saturday, the first time in the memory of all our CFD friends. It is an honor to be part of the grand entry before the start of the rodeo. The tradition and pageantry of the 125th Daddy of ‘Em All is amazing when you get to participate and see it from that point of view.
Thomas Rhett killed it Saturday night. I love how he sings about his love for his wife and kids. The weather was perfect, and the crowd was another sell-out.
Sunday morning, I was invited to say a few words at the christening of the new grills the Kiwanis Club has purchased just in time for this year’s pancake breakfasts. The grills have been named in honor of the late Mike Dowling. Mike was such a force for good in Cheyenne. Active in so many efforts to make our city better. YMCA, Kiwanis, and the Chamber just to name a few. He passed away a couple of years ago from brain cancer at way too young of an age. It is a deserving honor for Mike and his family.
I was able to spend a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon with Nathan Anderson from the Union Pacific Railroad. He is their rep and a busy guy during CFD but was gracious to give me some time to discuss projects the city is trying to make happen. We talked about the trail system in the Belvoir ranch and the tie to the big hole, our East Park greenway connection to the business park, and my dream about a walkway from the depot to the historic roundhouse. I think we have a game plan of how to navigate the railroad processes.
Vice Admiral Sean Buck and his wife stopped by my office on Monday morning. He is the Superintendent of the Naval Academy. It was so nice of them to come by and introduce themselves and to educate us on the Naval Academy. An hour later we were in front of the Capitol to watch the Admiral swear in 10 new members of our Navy. I loved how Admiral Buck was with our nation’s newest naval enlistees. I am looking forward one day to attending an Army vs. Navy football game.
I would like to thank our City Council for moving the Council Meeting on Monday to noon. This let me be the MC for one of the shows for the 65th anniversary of the Melodrama. Waiting to go on stage was the most nervous I have been since being sworn in as your Mayor. Once I got on stage though, it was a blast. The crowd and the cast made it fun. If you have not been to the Melodrama lately, buy a ticket and go. The show was great! Thanks for the invitation.
By Tuesday, I felt I was getting into the CFD routine. Parade in the morning, hotter than heck, rodeo grand entry, followed by the rodeo. I am loving the opportunity this job is giving me.
After the rodeo duties were done, I had the privilege of attending the Thunderbird enlisted BBQ. 40 of the Airmen who handle the logistics of keeping the planes in the air were in attendance. I enjoyed meeting them and learning all the jobs they do. What an amazing group of young men and women.
We went to the PBR bull riding event Tuesday night. Wow! The bulls were so rank, and the cowboys were all over them. I do not remember that many 90-point rides ever happening in one night. Perfect weather, company, and show.
The Thunderbirds were awesome on Wednesday morning. The hospitality shown by Colonel Barrington and the crew of F.E. Warren Air Force Base was tremendous. I met a man named Steve Chealander, a Thunderbird pilot from 1981 to 1985. He had a radio to listen to the flight leader and explained what was happening. He was joined by Rip, a pilot from the 1972 team. It was so cool to watch our team and get the perspective from the past. Both men lost teammates to crashes, but it did not dampen their enthusiasm for the show and the experience. I swear they flew right over us. Wow!
Wednesday afternoon, another experience that I was not comfortable with. I joined the Governor at the Indian Village for an honor dance. I do not have much in the way of rhythm, and that was apparent at this event. The Nations were great hosts and made me feel welcomed. By the way, the Indian Village cabin has amazing frozen margaritas on a hot day.
I went home early on Wednesday evening, fell asleep on the couch, and slept for 12 hours. I must have needed the rest after the first half of CFD.
Thursday was back in the routine. Parade, grand entry, and rodeo. It was Tough Enough to Wear Pink Day at the rodeo. I was privileged to speak at a luncheon for cancer survivors. They were beautiful and I was blessed to meet many of them. I am looking forward to the day we beat cancer, but until then, these events are so important. Awareness and fundraising to find the cure are the plan.
Judy and I also attended the Challenge Rodeo. So much fun watching the kids do rodeo events and get the cheers for their performances. Governor Gordon gave me a roping lesson. He grew up in a roping family and is a great teacher.
One of the things I am doing every day is stopping by the sponsor booths to thank them for supporting CFD. We have 3,500 amazing volunteers putting on the world’s largest outdoor rodeo and western celebration. Without our sponsors, there would not be a rodeo for our volunteers to support. We have so many diverse sponsors that make our rodeo happen and I am so grateful.
I need to give a shoutout to my Chief of Staff, Andy Worshek. He is a long-time Public Relations volunteer and has been invaluable to Judy and me during this week. He knows where we need to be and how to get there. We would be lost without him. I also cannot believe the hospitality of the CFD general committee. They have rolled out the red carpet and made our experience beautiful.
We have a few more days of CFD, and I will report my experiences next Friday.
If you have a question for me, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll continue to answer them in my following Mayor’s Minute column.