USAF Thunderbirds Have Been A Cheyenne Tradition For 66 Years
2019 marks the 66th anniversary of the first United States Air Force Thunderbirds show at Cheyenne Frontier Days. The Demonstration Squadron has flown over Cheyenne since the year it was founded in 1953.
Over the years, the show has only been called off twice, due to weather in 2017 and budget cuts in 2013. Cloudy skies also delayed the event last year. The show was marred by tragedy in 1977 when a T-38 Talon jet lost control and crashed into the bullpen at Cheyenne Frontier Days, killing Captain Charlie Carter. Carter's co-pilot, Staff Sargent Ted Foster ejected into the rodeo arena and escaped with only minor injuries. The Thunderbirds had another close call during their 2011 performance when a plane was forced to make an emergency landing.
Laramie County Community College has hosted the Thunderbirds since 1999. Due to the construction of the Sweetgrass development south of the LCCC campus, the show is moving back to F.E. Warren Air Force this year.
Cheyenne Frontier Days Military Chairman Col. Brian Rico is urging spectators to arrive between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. for this year's show, which starts at 10 a.m. Entrance to the base and free parking can be accessed through Gate 1.
"If you're not on base, we're going to be flying a very steep northeast to southwest angle through the base," Rico said. "There's a large housing development just to the east of the base, Roundtop Road to the west and Horse Creek Road to the north. I would also venture to say that you could probably even see it from Frontier Park."