CHEYENNE (WNE) — Cheyenne Frontier Days officials announced Friday that they have decided not to pursue a deal with Accel Entertainment that would convert Frontier Park into a live horse racing venue every year in the late summer.
“The decision was made based on what we feel is best for Frontier Days, the city of Cheyenne, Laramie County and the fans and supporters of Frontier Days,” CFD President and CEO Tom Hirsig told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, “and amidst controversy on gaming and horse racing and all those things, that’s why it was decided.”
Neighbors of the park are pleased with the decision after they initially felt blindsided by CFD’s intent to bring horse racing to the park.
“We think it’s the right decision,” said Larry Wolfe, a resident of the surrounding neighborhood representing Citizens Against Horse Racing @ Frontier Park, an informal organization of more than 50 residents. “We don’t think that horse racing belongs at CFD. We’re glad that CFD leadership has agreed with that.”
“Activism is not dead,” said Peg Ostlund, another representative of Citizens Against Horse Racing @ Frontier Park. “Truly, my heart is warmed.”
Although Hirsig described the deal with Accel as a once-in-a-lifetime financial opportunity, he said it is more important to maintain the CFD brand. He estimates that CFD will need more than $150 million over the next 20 years to maintain and upgrade Frontier Park facilities, and he isn’t sure that an opportunity like this will come again.
“At the end of the day, our brand is more important to us than any financial contribution,” Hirsig said. “This was just an opportunity that was presented that was really going to help us meet those needs through the private sector, instead of asking taxpayers to help fund this.”