Best Places to Live

Cheyenne, WY

Population: 62,195
Photo: Cheyenne Frontier Days

Cowboys, bucking broncos and bulls take over Cheyenne, WY, once a year for Cheyenne Frontier Days, a 10-day summer festival that celebrates the city's Western heritage and cowboy culture on a grand scale.

Just like the first Frontier Day in 1897, a rodeo forms the backbone of this event, drawing thousands of spectators and competitors to what has become the largest outdoor rodeo in the country, known as the "Daddy of 'em All."

While the festival's biggest events, such as the rodeo and concerts by some of today's most popular country music stars, take place at the 83-acre Frontier Park, a series of resident-focused events such as a parade, a huge community pancake breakfast and tours bring people to downtown Cheyenne.

"The whole community gets into this event," says Darin Westby, general chairman of Cheyenne Frontier Days. "You can't walk five feet without seeing someone in Wranglers and cowboy hats. We have a whole bunch of cowboys in and around this state, but during these 10 days it's like everyone in town is a cowboy."

Popular attractions like an authentic Indian village and an old frontier town create a sense of adventure and intrigue in young children and the young at heart.

Frontier Days brings in about $25 million to Laramie County each year, according to Westby. Several local charities and civil groups use the festival as a fundraiser by selling food and performing other services. In total, more than 2,300 volunteers, mainly Cheyenne residents, help run the festival.

When: Last full week in July

What: Rodeo, parade, Western culture, concerts, art shows, carnival, Indian village, frontier town, cooking contests, pancake breakfast

Cost: Most community events are free, while the concerts and carnival require tickets

Average Attendance: 500,000

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