The Most Shocking Moment in Cheyenne Frontier Days History
Over the past 120 years, there have been plenty of shocking moments at Cheyenne Frontier Days. Here's a look back at, arguably, the most dangerous event to ever take place at the "Daddy of 'Em All".
In August of 1909, CFD organizers introduced their first automobile race, the Cheyenne 200. A four mile race track was built around the grandstand and thousands flocked to witness the spectacle.
After two shorter preliminary races and an exhibition featuring the "world's fastest car", the Stanley Steamer, seven teams embarked on the 200 mile main event. In the early days of auto racing, drivers were accompanied by a mechanic who rode beside them in the car.
Several laps into the race, after two teams had already dropped out, tragedy struck.
Heading into a turn, one of the drivers lost control. According to an article in the Wyoming Tribune, the car "struck a bank, jumped into the air and made a complete somersault, throwing the mechanic out of the car but holding the driver under it.”
Sadly, the driver died later that day.
Meanwhile, the race continued with only three teams remaining. Eventually, an Oldsmobile was the only car able to finish all 50 laps and was declared the winner.
Later that week, on August 19, 1909, another race was held in Indiana that also made national news when a driver was killed. By 1911, the Indianapolis 250 became the Indianapolis 500 and remains the most prestigious event in motor sports.
Cheyenne Frontier Days hosted two more automoble races in subsquent years, before cancelling the event.