Country star Garth Brooks is set to return to Cheyenne Frontier Days for next year’s 125th rodeo and entertainment event known as “The Daddy of ‘Em All.”
“We know we had to cancel this year but we know we’re coming back bigger and better next year,” CFD contract acts chairman Randy Krafft said. “We’re calling it the re-ride.”
One of Wyoming’s premier events, CFD draws more than 250,000 people with the world’s largest outdoor rodeo, big names in music and a host of festivities. This summer’s event was canceled because of the coronavirus.
Next year’s event will be dedicated to late Wyoming country music star and world rodeo champion Chris LeDoux.
LeDoux, who was the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association bareback world champion, often competed in the CFD rodeo and performed six concerts there.
Brooks’ return is fitting for next year’s anniversary celebration, Krafft said. The country musician and LeDoux were friends, and they performed together during the 100th anniversary show.
“One of my favorite memories was the fact that I got to play with Chris LeDoux, the man,” Brooks said in a video on the CFD website.
He said he carries his belt buckle from the 100th event everywhere he goes and has worn it for album covers and awards shows.
The lineup will also include Thomas Rhett, Eric Church and Blake Shelton, who’ve rescheduled from the canceled 2020 shows. CFD will announce when tickets go on sale for the 2021 events.
“Well first off, dedicating everything to Chris LeDoux, that’s just Wyoming,” CFD general chairman Jimmy Dean Siler said in a video. “He’s a world champion cowboy, he’s an amazing singer, world class. So when you put those two together, that’s Cheyenne Frontier Days.”
Wednesday, CFD launched a “365 to 125 Campaign” to raise funds for two projects before next year’s event slated for July 23 through Aug. 1.
One is a bronze sculpture of LeDoux, which Buffalo artist D. Michael Thomas created for the Frontier Park sculpture collection, that Brooks will dedicate.
“The statue will be a part of our new gateway onto the park welcoming park and ride customers during the show and accessible to the public year round,” Siler said. “It will be the beacon for travelers on I-25 welcoming all to come see what Cheyenne and Frontier Park have to offer.”
The second project will refurbish Barn 15 to store and protect the world-class carriage collection showcased in CFD’s Grand Parades. The project will provide a place to house the horse-drawn carriages year-round and keep them inside and protected them from weather between parades, Krafft said.
“Our four parades are the mainstay of our Western celebration,” Siler said. “Between Cheyenne Frontier Days and the Old West Museum, we have one of the biggest carriage collections west of the Mississippi in the world.”
Donations will be matched up to $200,000 through a challenge grant, foundation members said in videos from Wednesday’s event.
“We are excited to showcase what the foundation can do with these two initial projects,” Siler said . “We are going to enhance visitor experience, honor our past and protect our legacy.”
While the historic carriages won’t parade this year, a collection of them are on display at the Cheyenne Frontier Day Exhibition Hall with free viewings 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. now through Sunday and tours available at noon and 2 p.m.
The Cheyenne Frontier Days Invitational Western Art Show also is on display through Aug. 16 at the Old West Museum.
Follow arts & culture reporter Elysia Conner on twitter @erconner