Case Study: Key Messaging and Crisis Communications for Cheyenne Frontier Days
Aug 23, 2019
Cheyenne Frontier Days is the world’s largest outdoor rodeo and Western celebration. For nearly 125 years the festival has been thrilling fans from around the country and the world with 10 days of action-packed rodeo events and concerts featuring some of the biggest names in country music. Pushkin PR has been working with this iconic Western brand since 2010, and Cheyenne Frontier Days is one of the highlights of our summer.
Each year more than 2,500 animals come through Frontier Park as part of the rodeo action. While most fans enjoy seeing cowboys and cowgirls being tossed around by bulls and bucking broncos, what they don’t see is the care and concern that goes into protecting each and every animal’s wellbeing off stage. Often, animal rights organizations raise concerns about the treatment of pro-rodeo animal participants, so it was important to highlight everything that goes on behind the scenes to prevent and treat animal injuries. Cheyenne Frontier Days engaged our firm’s help to help them tell the story of the great work the festival does to keep animals safe.
One of the reasons clients select Pushkin PR when they search for Denver PR firms is because of the extensive research and time we spend digging into their industry and organization to uncover the newsworthy aspects of their unique stories. With Cheyenne Frontier Days, we worked with the team to learn the ins and outs of everything ranchers and cowboys do to care for and protect the animals that are the heart of the rodeo.
After conducting our research, we saddled up and got started on key messaging. We developed a messaging platform that highlighted the care that goes into protecting the animals behind the scenes. For example, most fans don’t realize that a dedicated team of veterinarians and volunteers inspects the animals before each event to identify potential injuries or illnesses that need attention. While most rodeo injuries are minor, if an animal appears injured during a rodeo performance, arena veterinarians will isolate, examine, and provide appropriate medical treatment so that the animal has the best chance of recovery. Cheyenne also adheres to more than 60 animal guidelines specified by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association guidelines.
We decided that an important story we wanted to tell was about the unique bond that cowboys have with their animals. People who grow up on a ranch or around livestock treat their animals like family. They raise them, provide for all of their needs, care for them when they are sick, and protect them. It isn’t just the cowboys’ livelihood; it is the Western way of life. So we crafted key messages to showcase this unique bond.
After developing the messaging platform, we worked with the Cheyenne Frontier Days PR team to invite journalists behind the scenes to see firsthand what the animal care process looks like. One result of that effort was an excellent feature in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle that included many of the key messages we developed.
Our work helped Cheyenne Frontier Days share an important story with the media that told an entirely different narrative than the one that is often portrayed by animal rights groups that object to the rodeo.
Each year we have a bucking good time working with the Cheyenne Frontier Days team. We look forward to continuing to help them showcase the great work that CFD volunteers do to make this event a bucket list must-see for hundreds of thousands of fans each July.
Caty Carrico is an award-winning social media strategist and public relations practitioner at Pushkin Public Relations, a Denver-based PR firm. Her expertise lies in helping brands identify their distinct social media persona and crafting communications strategies that engage target audiences. In her spare time, she can be found eating her way through Denver's restaurant scene or working on her latest DIY project.