“The Beaches of Cheyenne” might just be one of the best rodeo songs Garth Brooks sings other than his song titled “Rodeo.” Listeners back in 1995 agree with us on this one.
The song became Brooks’ 15th No 1 single. The hit is off his album Fresh Horses that produced two other hit singles. The song is co-written by Brooks, Bryan Kennedy, and Dan Roberts. Kennedy and Roberts came up with the title of the song before it was even written, The Boot reports. The two knew that they wanted the feeling of the song to be a cross between Chris LeDoux and the Bellamy Brothers or George Strait.
However, they didn’t know what they could do with a title like “The Beaches of Cheyenne.” Fast forward a few months later, and the song becomes an instant hit.
Unpacking ‘The Beaches of Cheyenne’ by Garth Brooks
Fifteen years ago today, Garth Brooks introduced us to “The Beaches of Cheyenne.” You might be thinking, “Wyoming is land-locked.” However, if you know anything about this song, it’s so much more than that.
The plan for the song was to keep it light-hearted and be a feel-good tune about cowboys. The song was going to highlight one man in particular that didn’t have any rodeo talents. Instead, he walked the beaches of his home in California, dreaming of becoming a rodeo cowboy.
However, during one of the songwriting sessions for the track, Brooks accidentally sang “she” instead of “he.” Kennedy, Roberts, and Brooks all looked at each other and knew that they had to switch up the lyrics. The song then transformed into one of heartbreak.
Garth Brooks writes about what he knows, and the iconic artist knows that the rodeo lifestyle is a hard one. Professional cowboys spend more time away from their loved ones than they do with them, while they chase the dream of winning that gold buckle.
The lyrics talk about a bull rider’s wife that “just went crazy” when her husband dies in a bull-riding accident in Cheyenne. Side note, Cheyenne is home to one of the biggest outdoor rodeos named Cheyenne Frontier Days.
Her last words to her husband are “I don’t give a damn if you never come back from Cheyenne.”
She can’t imagine life without him, and as a result, she takes her own. When she gets the call that her husband has died, she goes crazy and drowns herself in the California ocean.
“[That] if you go down by the water / You’ll see her footprints in the sand / ‘Cause every night she walks the beaches of Cheyenne,” the chorus reads. The woman’s body was never found and she continues to haunt the beach.
The “beaches” is both a reference to the place where she died, as well as her husband’s in Cheyenne.
The Real Bull Riding Death in Cheyenne
A famously known death that did happen at Cheyenne Frontier Days is that of Lane Frost. On July 30, 1989, the legendary bull rider was killed in an in-arena accident. Frost had just finished riding the rank bull Takin’ Care of Business for an 85-point ride.
He landed face down in the dirt. Then the bull’s horn struck Frost in the back, breaking several ribs and severing an artery. When Frost tried to stand up and ask for help, his broken ribs punctured his heart and lungs.
The 1987 World Champion Bull rider was pronounced dead at the hospital.