I timed my first visit to Wyoming’s capital of Cheyenne to coincide with the city’s annual Frontier Days which has been kicking up dust since 1897. It’s evolved into the world’s largest outdoor rodeo and western celebration. The 10-day festival features a PRCA rodeo, a parade, concerts, pancake breakfasts, a Western art show, gunslinger performances, a carnival, an Old West Museum, and an Indian Village with Native American performances, food and art.
After checking in at the Little America Hotel & Resort on the outskirts of Cheyenne, I headed into town to get “duded up” at The Wrangler, a massive retail space which dates back to 1892, packed wall-to-wall with ranch wear and Western clothing.
Properly attired I headed nine miles south to the Terry Bison Ranch for a horseback ride along the Wyoming/Colorado border. Also on the ranch is a train that ventures into the middle of a bison herd giving visitors the opportunity to get up close and personal with these magnificent beasts. Time out on the range can build up a mighty appetite and Senator’s Steakhouse at the ranch features what famed chef Bobby Flay and the Food Network called the “Best Burger in Wyoming.”
Back in town there are world-class restaurants such as the Morris House Bistro featuring New Orleans and Cajun influenced cuisines and Wheatgrass Seafood and Steaks in the Historic Plains Hotel. The hotel opened in 1911 and is a National Historic Landmark designed in a Western High Style decor. One can also sleep in history at the elegant Victorian Nagel Warren Mansion B & B, owned by Jim and Jane Osterfoss, which was built in 1888 and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. English High Tea is served at the mansion on Fridays and Saturdays.
Micro breweries such as Danielmark’s Brewery, Freedom’s Edge Tap House Brewing Co., and Accomplice Brewery in the historic Cheyenne Depot are must watering holes for cerevisaphiles. The 26,000 square-foot Outlaw Saloon is the hot spot for country and rock music with live bands seven nights a week.
A great farewell BBQ with all the fixins’ back at Little America’s outdoor terrace was a time to reflect on my trip to the Old West which is very much part of the present for the people of America’s Heartland.
The 2017 edition of Cheyenne Frontier Days will take place from July 21 – 30.
All Photographs Are © Mark Edward Harris
Mark Edward Harris Photographer Bio
Mark Edward Harris’ editorial work has appeared in publications such as Vanity Fair, Life, GEO, Conde Nast Traveler, GQ Thailand, Tatler Russia, The Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, and The London Sunday Times Travel Magazine as well as all the major photography and in-flight magazines. His commercial clients range from The Gap to Coca-Cola to Mexicana Airlines. He is the recipient of numerous awards including a CLIO, ACE, Aurora Gold, and Photographer of the Year at the Black & White Spider Awards. His books include Faces of the Twentieth Century: Master Photographers and Their Work, The Way of the Japanese Bath, Wanderlust, North Korea, South Korea, and Inside Iran. North Korea was named Photography Book of the Year at the 2013 International Photography Awards.
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