About the Heels Organization
Cindy Braden | Leather Heel
Bob Kotzbacher | Rubber Heel
Dean Jackson | Run-Down Heel
During the depression years of the 1930’s, continued success, threatened by financial instability, became a very serious and ongoing problem for the Cheyenne Frontier Days Committee. Following a performance of the 1935 rodeo, a group of very dedicated individuals, who had become increasingly aware of the economic impact on the rodeo, met to discuss ways to curtail expenses for the “Committee," by doing whatever they could.
This concerned group of supporters quickly zeroed in on the fact that, until this point in time, people involved in promoting and producing the rodeo were paid for their participation. The group agreed that they would offer to perform whatever tasks they were assigned by the “Committee” on a strict volunteer basis; therefore, replacing some of the “paid help." It was further agreed that any member of the group not willing to go along with this decision of giving of their time “for free," would be labeled a darn heel. Immediately, someone in the group picked up on the label and referred to the entire group as the “Heels."
At a subsequent meeting, a discussion focused on the perceived treatment of the group by the “Committee." These dedicated volunteers felt their efforts were not being appropriately appreciated and that the “Committee” had their noses a little too high in the air, along with a little attitude of “better than thou," which left the group feeling they were being treated like nothing more than a bunch of heels within the organization. Once again the name “Heels” was the reference to this determined group of rodeo supporters.
Realizing the need to become more cohesively organized in order to effectively manage work assignments and problem logistics brought about by the increasing demands of a growing show, the group held a meeting in August 1935. The meeting took place in F. B. McVicar’s backyard and was attended by 13 members of the group. These 13 members were declared “Charter” members because of their attendance and the two events they would place into history as a result of this meeting.
The group adopted the name “HEELS," and henceforth, has been known as “The HEELS of Cheyenne Frontier Days."
As an all-volunteer group recognized within the Cheyenne Frontier Days organization, the “HEELS” would take their place as the “first true volunteers” known to Cheyenne Frontier Days.
On March 29, 1936, the first adopted by-laws were drawn up by then Leather Heel, Ed Storey, who hand wrote the original by-laws on a sheet of 1930 Cheyenne Frontier Days letterhead. Although they have been revised and updated through the years, the by-laws still serve as the index as to how the organization will function. The HEELS by-laws call for a governing committee of three officers, Leather Heel (President), Rubber Heel (Vice-President) and Run-Down Heel (Secretary/Treasurer). The by-laws also establish the number and term of active HEELS, specify the term of officers, requirements, and status of membership, when general membership meetings will be held, eligibility for election into the organization and a process for amending the by-laws.
With the escalating popularity of rodeo, western celebrations and the increased level of activity on every committee within Cheyenne Frontier Days, the HEELS’ responsibilities continued to grow. Today, as the challenges of Cheyenne Frontier Days change in complexion and size, members of the HEELS organization, in their usual volunteer manner, continue to rise to the occasion and assist Cheyenne Frontier Days and it’s corps of volunteers, however, they are asked. This effort by members of the HEELS is an earnest commitment to help ensure that Cheyenne Frontier Days remains the premier event that history will record it as being.
Thank you for your support and interest!