Cheyenne Frontier Days has decided not to pursue a proposal to host parimutuel horse racing at Frontier Park. The proposal from Accel Entertainment offered to lease and make substantial upgrades to CFD’s infrastructure and facilities in return for CFD agreeing to host 16 days of live horse racing at Frontier Park.
The proposal to bring parimutuel horse racing back to Cheyenne was met with passionate opposition from neighbors and others concerned about issues related to noise, traffic, gambling and negative reports about animal safety at other horse racing venues. If CFD had decided to move forward, the proposal still would have needed approval from the Laramie County Commissioners, the Wyoming State Gaming Commission, and the Cheyenne City Council.
“A lot of people don’t realize that unlike many other sports venues, we are not subsidized by taxpayers. We rely entirely on privately generated revenue,” said Cheyenne Frontier Days CEO Tom Hirsig. “It’s our responsibility to consider reasonable options that could allow us to remain a premier bucket list event that draws hundreds of thousands to Cheyenne every year.”
CFD officials estimate needing in excess of $150 million over the next 20 years to repair or replace Chute 9, the aging west side grandstands, restroom facilities, and other areas that need upgrades. Revenue from horse racing could have contributed to addressing those needs, but the organization will now look for other potential options.
“We have always managed to meet big challenges by working with our community to arrive at creative
solutions,” said Hirsig. “Cheyenne is our home and we take great pride in the CFD brand. We are committed to continue delivering a world class show that preserves and promotes Cheyenne’s history, culture and tradition.”