As the last place where the wild west lives on, Wyoming knows how to celebrate its cowboy heritage. We do it every day in a million little ways, but we also officially commemorate the Old West lifestyle in a variety of festivals across the state. From pageants to rodeos to rendezvous, these 9 epic events pay homage to the ranchers, trappers, and buckaroos who gave the Cowboy State its nickname.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Old West Days, Jackson
Jackson Hole revels in its reputation for being one of the best places to experience the Old West, so it's no wonder that it's been the location of the Old West Days celebration for almost 40 years. People come from all over the U.S. and around the world for the 4 days of shootouts and other theatrics, parades, horse-drawn stagecoach rides right in town, live music, rodeo events, historical tours, and awesome food.
2. Laramie Jubilee Days, Downtown and Albany County Fairgrounds, Laramie
Laramie has a lot to celebrate, so the city dedicates 8 days every year to their epic jubilee. Among the events, festival-goers can enjoy a bull riding golf tournament, the Miss Laramie Jubilee Days contest, shopping, a kids horse show, rodeo events, a carnival, and a legendary chili cook off guaranteed to make your mouth water and your tummy tingle.
3. Evanston Cowboy Days, Evanston
The events for the 4-day Evanston Cowboy Days festival happen all over town. Food, games, live music, shopping, and a parade take place downtown, and you can see the barrel racing, bull riding, and other rodeo events at the Unita County Fairgrounds. Old West cowboys may not have been much into golfing, but a golf scramble tournament at the Purple Sage Golf Course is a part of this cowboy celebration.
4. Fort Bridger Mountain Man Rendezvous, Fort Bridger
One of the things that make this festival so epic is the participants' dedication to authenticity. A detailed dress code is available for anyone who wants to attend wearing clothing of the day, and it includes period footwear and a ban on sunglasses. Don't worry, long underwear and hand-stitched leather britches aren't a requirement. Anyone can attend the weekend-long event and enjoy events such as knife-throwing and archery contests, Dutch oven cooking, Native American dancers, storytelling around the fire, and the Buck Skinner's Ball.
5. Ride a Horse Feed a Cowboy, Hulett
Up in northeastern Wyoming, near the Devil's Tower Monument, sits the little Wyoming town of Hulett. There, they celebrate the cowboy way with an awesome 3-day charity event benefitting those in need. There's a ride-in where cowboys saddle up and ride their horses into town, a cowboy and Indian collectibles trade show, a barbecue, a benefit rodeo, and great live music.
6. Festival of the Cowboys, 33 Old Yellowstone Highway, Crowheart
There's a lot packed into one day at this cowboy festival. The ranch rodeo features common and not-so-common rodeo events including trailer loading, team branding, bronc riding, and cow milking. There's also live music, an arts and crafts fair, a silent auction, and the best cowboy chow you've ever tasted.
7. Legend of Rawhide, 224 South Main Street, Lusk
This 2-day festival celebrates the heritage and history of Lusk and the surrounding Niobrara County. The entire event centers around the reenactment of a local legend, a performance that almost the entire community participates in. However, there is also a parade, live music, dancing, a Texas Hold-Em Tournament, and delicious food.
8. Green River Rendezvous, Pinedale
The Green River Rendezvous is a 4-day festival filled with food, entertainment, and Old West fun. All over town, you can enjoy events like historical reenactments, rodeos, and museum tours. There's also live music, trapping demonstrations, and an art auction to round out the festivities.
9. Cheyenne Frontier Days, Cheyenne
People flock by the thousands to Cheyenne for this 10-day festival every summer. The celebration is built around the rodeo, but there's plenty to do after you've watched all the barrel racing and bull riding you want. There's a parade, an art show and sale, chuckwagon cooking, an old frontier town to tour, live country music, and an epic carnival with rides and games.