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Frontier Days rodeo-goers get peek at action behind the chutes

Jul 28, 2013 - By Becky Orr, McClatchy Newspapers

A huge crowd headed out from the Old West Museum to get an up-close and personal look at the workings of the rodeo.

About 270 people took part in a one-mile Behind the Chutes tour on a cloudless, blue-sky morning. They saw animal athletes and the arena from a unique behind-the-scenes perspective.

Tour guide Justin Derner told the story of CFD.

He explained different rodeo events like steer wrestling and roping.

Derner rode a horse named Cody as people followed behind.

Visitors walked into the middle of the arena of the world's largest outdoor rodeo at Frontier Park. They walked in the soft dirt and opened chutes usually reserved only for the animals and cowboys.

Many visitors took photos of each other to preserve the memory of their once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The first CFD was a one-day event in 1897, Derner said. About 4,000 people attended, he said.

Chutes did not exist during the first rodeo. Back then, a competing cowboy had to ride a calm horse to the middle of the arena.

The cowboy then switched to the back of bucking horse to start his event.

CFD is an international activity. Visitors have come to from all of the continents except Antarctica, Derner tells the Wyoming Tribune Eagle (http://bit.ly/11kaTyb).

Bente and Lynge Truelsen, who took part in the tour, traveled from their home in Hilleroed, Denmark. The city is close to Copenhagen.

They found out about CFD a few years ago while watching a Discovery channel program on television.

They came to Cheyenne from Denver, riding on the Denver Post-sponsored train.

"I'm very impressed," Lynge Truelsen said as he walked through the arena.

"I'm very excited to see the rodeo," he said, referring to the activities planned for the afternoon.

He said he has wanted to see a large rodeo since he was a child.

Bente Truelsen wore a long red dress with lace sleeves accented with a red hat.

Her dress in fashioned in the Old West style of more than a century ago n added some flair and fun to the tour.

The two enjoy Western styles. They are members of a square-dancing group in Denmark. Their 2010 wedding was styled around a Western theme.

Lynge Truelsen even wore a bolero tie for the marriage ceremony.

Not far from the Truelsens, Kathy and Howard Dunston of Aurora, Colo., walked with their grandsons, Logan and Jackson Hicks.

The boys are from Highlands Ranch, Colo.

The four also made the train trip from Denver. "People waved to you," said Kathy Dunston, who gave high marks to the train ride.

"I loved the band playing when we pulled into the station (at Cheyenne). You just feel like Cheyenne really welcomed us," she said.

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Editor's note: Becky Orr writes for the Wyoming Tribune Eagle (Cheyenne).

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