20220724 – Fort Collins to Homestead Crater

We rolled out of Fort Collins into Wyoming. We had tickets to the rodeo! If you are not familiar, a rodeo is all about six things.

  • It’s boots and chaps
  • It’s cowboy hats
  • It’s spurs and latigo
  • It’s the ropes and the reins
  • And the joy and the pain
  • Garth Brooks

Cheyenne Frontier Days

Cheyenne Frontier Days started in 1897. It’s called the “Daddy of ‘em All”. It is almost completely volunteer supported. We went on the “Behind the Chutes” tour. Got to stand in the chutes, avoid mud traipsing across the ring. The weather was pretty much perfect. 70s, overcast. We checked out some of the vendors. Cheyenne Frontier Days runs for two weeks. It brings in around 250,000 attendees.
Cheyenne and the rodeo are mentioned in On the Road by Jack Kerouac. Apparently, the party used to run all night long, through downtown Cheyenne from bar to bar. The official history can be found here. https://cfdrodeo.com/about-us/125-years-of-history/
Nowadays. There is a rodeo and a concert every day. The hotels are booked solid for miles around, for the complete duration.

Indian Village

We wandered over to the Indian Village. I think the Indian Village was an offshoot of 1898’s Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and his “his famed troupe of Sioux Indians”. I didn’t have high expectations. It was a pleasant surprise.

Little Sun Drum and Dance Group

The dance exhibition group at the Indian Village is called Little Sun Drum and Dance Group. As a DJ, I listen for quirks or mistakes in anyone who dares pick up a microphone. I keep score. After about five minutes of critical listening, I didn’t have any criticism. Zero points on the master of ceremonies. She was exceptional. She was personal, encouraging, and informational. She described the dance troop as extended family. “Three sisters married three brothers, so I am mom, grandma, or auntie to pretty much everyone”
Her name is Sandra Iron Cloud. She teaches at Wyoming Indian High School on the Wind River Reservation, in Wyoming. She has been a teacher and coach for the school’s speech team for thirty years. She is one of the best public speakers I have ever encountered. I was absolutely charmed.

A lot of the Indian vendors at Cheyenne Frontier Days are Navaho affiliated. They are selling worked silver and turquoise. I asked Sandra about crafts that would be distinctly Wyoming/ Wind River. Her first suggestion was bead work. She had a beautiful hand made pair of shoes with elaborate beadwork for the dance demonstration. Some of the dancers also were displaying similar work on their costumes. Other dancers represented different communities and styles of dress.

My instinct is to try and explain everything I know about the different Native American groups in the west.

I don’t know anything.

I read Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” this year. He claims that learning Native American mythology as a kid informed his world view at an early age. I grew up in Indiana. I don’t know if I met a Native America person until I was an adult. I have still probably talked to more white people who claim to be recognized by a tribe as an “unofficial” member than I have actual card carrying Native Americans.

I had plenty of access to Greek and Roman mythology. Probably because I was reading my dad’s college textbooks in grade school. I moved onto Norse, then Central America, Africa, India, China, and Japan. I am 52. I just bought 4 books on Native American mythology. I started with Iktomi. I could know more than I do now. I am a work in progress.


After the dance demonstration, we wandered over to the main entrance to the Rodeo. The crowd was buzzing. Someone had seen “Dog the Bounty Hunter”. I don’t know if that is true, but I am probably not going to let that detail go. We checked out the merch tent and the exhibit space, food vendors, and avoided the carnival midway. I should have bought a lasso.

The rodeo is pretty action packed. There is always something going on. The music was amazing. The announcers were great. I think this was my first rodeo. I am glad I got to experience it. It is very high level sports entertainment. It’s part sports, part variety act.

Bull riding, then stage coach parade, then bronco riding, then ladies in sparkling spandex waving flags doing trick riding, then calf roping, this is on top of a pop music mega mix of banging tracks that anyone my age should know by heart. There are six safety riders who move the animal athletes back into the pens and protect the riders. There are also rodeo clowns/bull fighters. It’s really fast paced and fun.


The only thing that struck a nerve was the calf roping. It was almost August. The calves were born January to March and weigh 215-285 pounds. They are huge. Watching them get roped and pulled up short by the cowboy and horse reminds me of clotheslining my little brother playing football when we were kids. I was twice his size. He would quit playing. I thought the cartoon physics were hilarious. He was getting the TBI’s. The NFL won’t allow a player to tackle another player by their head or neck, but in rodeo this is how it is done.

I am not a hypocrite. I eat beef. I don’t think it is a stretch to say that I am pro meat and anti-suffering.


Don’t eat Cheyenne’s favorite Philly cheese steak. Those words don’t even make sense in a sentence. I am not suggesting that my suffering after eating a Philly Cheese Steak equals that of the animal athletes, but I went longer than seven seconds on the porcelain bull. There were no bullfighter or safety riders to save me.

We hit the road for our next destination

This was a slightly less brutal drive. I did at one point suggest that we just turn around and go home. I wasn’t having any fun.


I would tell you that I-80 is one of my top five favorite roads. Who doesn’t love Iowa? This was not a day for that. We were driving directly into the sun all afternoon. The visual fatigue was real. Dipshits in fifth wheels were blocking all the lanes in the steep inclines. Mrs. JonTheBruce took over driving. We arrived at our destination and slept.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s