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"Yippie-yi-yo-ki-yay!" Cheyenne, Wyoming's Wild West!

© By Mike Keenan
  Big Boy On the map, I notice Wyoming's capital city is located nicely near the geographical and time center of North America, strategically situated at a major transportation hub which enhances its commerce. Only 90 minutes north of Denver, Colorado, Cheyenne acts as the northern anchor city of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. I feel safe here; it's the site of the F.E. Warren Air Force Base.
     Of course, the Cheyenne are a Native American people of the Great Plains of the Algonquian language family. If you remember your history books, the Northern Cheyenne fought in the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876 when Lt. Col. George Custer and most of his 7th Cavalry contingent of soldiers were lost.
     Cheyenne is Sioux for "aliens" or "people of foreign language." The "pale face" variety first arrived in 1867 to work on the Union Pacific Railroad. Cheyenne's "Wild West" featured every other building as a saloon and the theatres provided "burlesque" performances with an ample supply of attractive female dancers.
     Cowboys will appreciate that Purebred Hereford cattle were raised at the famous Wyoming Hereford Ranch (near Cheyenne) as early as Engine 1242 1880. Accordingly, the town attracted wealthy businessmen from the East and from Europe and these cattle barons wintered in Europe but spent their summers in Cheyenne, most often enjoying their private and lavish "Cheyenne Club."
     Cheyenne's locomotive history is proudly on display here. In Holliday Park, Old Number 4004 remains an impressive sight. The world's largest steam locomotive, this powerful coal-fired engine was designed to pull a 3600-ton train over steep grades between Cheyenne and Ogden, Utah. It's one of only eight remaining "Big Boys" in the country. Another engine to view is Ol' Sadie built in 1890 in New Jersey. Wyoming's oldest steam engine was donated to the city by Union Pacific. A train folk-art fence hand-constructed by Floyd Young, Sr., the last engineer to drive Ol' Sadie, surrounds and embraces his esteemed engine.
     A self-guided walk through the past in the historic downtown area includes notable buildings such as the old Union Pacific Depot and the beautiful Tivoli Building. Designated a National Historic Landmark, the former Union Pacific Depot has been restored to its original glory, and features a visitor center, restaurant and the Cheyenne Depot Museum, replete with railroad history, exhibits and interactive displays. Don't forget the capitol. Completed in 1888 before Wyoming was a state, the Wyoming State Capitol is a National Historic Landmark and the dominant structure on the Cheyenne skyline.
     The Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum is another must-see, depicting pioneer life in the American West with year-round programs, exhibits and activities that celebrate the pioneer spirit of the American West and the remarkable history of the world's largest outdoor rodeo and western celebration known as Cheyenne Frontier Days. One marvels at one of the nation's largest collections of historic horse-drawn carriages and wagons, as well as the celebrated western art exhibit. Yippie-yi-yo-ki-yay! Where is my lasso? I feel like a cowboy from the wild, wild west!

Depot Square  Farmers Market  Moccasin Dancer  Native American Dancer  Old West Museum  The Marshall

Mike Keenan writes for QMI Agency (Sun Media) Canada's largest newspaper publisher, printing 44 daily newspapers as well as a web portal, Canoe.ca. Besides regular columns for the St. Catharines Standard, Welland Tribune and Niagara Falls Review. Mike has been published in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Buffalo Spree, Stitches, West of the City and Hamilton-Burlington's View Magazine. His work is found in QMI published dailies such as the Toronto Sun, Ottawa Sun, Vancouver Sun, London Free Press, Calgary Sun, Winnipeg Sun and Edmonton Sun.

Photo Credits
Courtesy: Cheyenne Convention & Visitors Bureau

If you go
Cheyenne, Wyoming
as seen on
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Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheyenne
Wikitravel: http://wikitravel.org/en/Cheyenne
About.com: http://rodeo.about.com/od/wyoming/a/cheyenneresults.htm
Cheyenne Convention & Visitors Bureau: http://www.cheyenne.org/
Wyoming Tourism: http://www.wyomingtourism.org/

What's happening, money, distance, time?
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Health precautions (WHO): http://www.who.int/ith/en/
Google interactive map: http://maps.google.com/
Temperature (Temperature World): http://www.temperatureworld.com/




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