Nearly 75 years of rodeo for long-time Ten Sleep resident
July 9, 2020
TEN SLEEP – Derald Cheeney, 85, has been a resident of Ten Sleep since his parents moved to town just a month after his birth, and has attended nearly every single year of the Ten Sleep Rodeo since the first edition of the annual event 74 years ago in 1946.
Cheeney has been in attendance for nearly all 75 editions of the rodeo, except a small amount of years in the 1950s where he served in the military and was unable to attend the annual event.
"I consider it a privilege and an honor to do it," Cheeney said. "My uncle was a grand marshal in 1987 at nearly 90 years old, and I believe my mom may have been one too in the 90s."
Cheeney was honored as the grand marshal of the 2020 Ten Sleep Parade that took place on the morning of the Fourth of July. The grand marshal of the parade is typically someone of importance within the community that has been a part of the area for a long time.
"When you get to my age it is nice to be recognized," Cheeney said.
Cheeney has been a part of the community nearly his entire life, from moving cattle and livestock to being a part of the Washakie County Road and Bridge department for 30 years.
The 75th edition of the Ten Sleep rodeo took place last Friday and Saturday, and Cheeney has been a fan of the sport since he attended the very first one with his father when he was 10 years old. While a spectator, Cheeney has not been a participant at any point in his many years of attending.
The rodeo has grown significantly as a sport since it was an event before World War II, where it was a simple rodeo that took place each summer in an arena created by cars. Even with rodeos being a part of Ten Sleep since 1908, the annual event began through the creation of the Ten Sleep Rodeo Association 74 years ago.
The event overcame a major hurdle this year with COVID-19 and guidelines that had to be in place, but it has held to its roots and developed a proud tradition, growing into a staple, multiple-day celebration around the Fourth of July.
The tradition is set to continue for many years to come as the non-profit rodeo looks toward the future, thankful they were able to hold their annual event when many other communities had to make the difficult decision not to hold their events this summer due to COVID-19.