Saddle Up: Finding the Best Deals on Flights to America’s Top Rodeo Destinations
Saddle Up: Finding the Best Deals on Flights to America's Top Rodeo Destinations - Cheap Flights to Cheyenne, Wyoming for Frontier Days
Each summer, rodeo fans from across the country flock to Cheyenne, Wyoming for the annual Frontier Days festival. Known as the "Daddy of 'em All," Frontier Days is one of the biggest and most prestigious rodeos in the world. The event stretches over 10 action-packed days in July and includes all the classic rodeo events like bull riding, steer wrestling and barrel racing. On top of the competitions, you can also experience lively nightly concerts, a carnival midway and an interactive Old West museum.
With so much to see and do, it's no wonder more than 200,000 spectators attend Frontier Days every year. The crowds mean demand for flights skyrockets during the event. That's why it pays to plan ahead and be strategic with booking your airfare. Here are some tips to keep costs low:
- Book early. Prices tend to creep up the closer you get to Frontier Days. Aim to purchase tickets at least 2-3 months in advance for the best rates. Sign up for airfare deal alerts so you're notified right away when fares drop.
- Consider nearby airports. If flying into Cheyenne is pricey, check rates to Denver or Colorado Springs. Both airports are within a 2 hour drive of Cheyenne. You may be able to rent a car or take a shuttle service for less than the cost of flying directly into Cheyenne.
- Use miles. Airlines often institute blackout dates over Frontier Days, meaning you can't redeem miles for award tickets. But it's still worth checking mileage rates as they could offer a good deal compared to revenue fares.
- Grab sale fares. Sign up for deal alerts from airlines like United, Delta and American that fly into Denver. Act fast when they announce sales - reduced fares may disappear within 24 hours!
What else is in this post?
- Saddle Up: Finding the Best Deals on Flights to America's Top Rodeo Destinations - Cheap Flights to Cheyenne, Wyoming for Frontier Days
- Saddle Up: Finding the Best Deals on Flights to America's Top Rodeo Destinations - Score Low Fares to Pecos, Texas for the World's Oldest Rodeo
- Saddle Up: Finding the Best Deals on Flights to America's Top Rodeo Destinations - Finding Deals on Flights to Prescott, Arizona for the World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo
- Saddle Up: Finding the Best Deals on Flights to America's Top Rodeo Destinations - Uncovering Airfare Sales to Pendleton, Oregon for the Pendleton Round-Up
- Saddle Up: Finding the Best Deals on Flights to America's Top Rodeo Destinations - Using Miles for Flights to Guthrie, Oklahoma for the National High School Rodeo Finals
- Saddle Up: Finding the Best Deals on Flights to America's Top Rodeo Destinations - Saddle Up With Budget Airlines to Bandera, Texas the Cowboy Capital of the World
- Saddle Up: Finding the Best Deals on Flights to America's Top Rodeo Destinations - Last Minute Airfare Hacks for the Calgary Stampede in Alberta, Canada
- Saddle Up: Finding the Best Deals on Flights to America's Top Rodeo Destinations - Maximizing Credit Card Points for Hotels Near Top Rodeo Venues
Saddle Up: Finding the Best Deals on Flights to America's Top Rodeo Destinations - Score Low Fares to Pecos, Texas for the World's Oldest Rodeo
Saddle up and head down to Pecos, Texas for a thrilling dose of authentic cowboy culture at the West of the Pecos Rodeo. This iconic event lays claim to the title of the world’s oldest rodeo, with rowdy competitions dating all the way back to 1883. Today, the rodeo continues to celebrate the grit and spirit of the American West through heart-pounding spectacles of bull riding, calf roping, steer wrestling and more.
The West of the Pecos Rodeo strikes a balance between preserving historic tradition and showcasing new talent. You’ll see modern professional cowboys and cowgirls competing alongside local ranch hands. There are also special events that honor Pecos’ cowboy heritage, like the campfire meals where singing and storytelling keep Wild West folklore alive.
Like any good rodeo, West of the Pecos spans several days packed with entertainment. It’s held every year in late June, running for about 5 days straight. With the long program, you’ll want to clear your calendar and settle in to properly experience this world-famous rodeo.
- Depart on less crowded travel days like Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Saturdays. Flying on peak dates near the weekend will drive up fares.
- Consider flying into larger hubs like Dallas/Fort Worth or El Paso, then renting a car or taking a bus to cover the 200+ miles to Pecos. This opens up cheaper flight options.
Saddle Up: Finding the Best Deals on Flights to America's Top Rodeo Destinations - Finding Deals on Flights to Prescott, Arizona for the World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo
Saddle up and mosey on down to Prescott, Arizona for a real slice of the Wild West at the World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo. Dating back to 1888, this historic rodeo has been thrilling crowds with heart-stopping action for over 130 years running. Today, the Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo continues to embody the spirit of the American cowboy with events like steer wrestling, team roping, bull riding and more.
The rodeo’s long-standing tradition and prestige make it a bucket list event for any true rodeo fan. Over 200 cowboys and cowgirls come to compete annually, showing off their skills in hopes of taking home the coveted gold trophy buckle. On top of the competitions, you’ll find good old-fashioned fun with a carnival, live music shows, a parade and more.
With its scenic setting amongst the Bradshaw Mountains, a trip to the World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo is about way more than just the rodeo events. Prescott offers a charming getaway where you can take in the Old West architecture, sample local cuisine and enjoy outdoor adventures between rodeo festivities.
However, Prescott is a smaller regional airport with limited flight options. You’ll likely pay a premium to fly directly into town during the busy rodeo week. Here are some strategies to cut down on airfare costs:
- Fly into Phoenix instead. At under 100 miles away, Phoenix is an easy drive from Prescott. Shop flights on budget carriers like Frontier, Spirit and Allegiant in addition to American, United and Delta.
- Split up your trip. Fly into Phoenix, enjoy the city, then rent a car and drive to Prescott for the rodeo days only. This cuts down on total days needing Prescott airfare.
Saddle Up: Finding the Best Deals on Flights to America's Top Rodeo Destinations - Uncovering Airfare Sales to Pendleton, Oregon for the Pendleton Round-Up
Saddle up for rip-roaring rodeo action at the legendary Pendleton Round-Up in Pendleton, Oregon. This prestigious rodeo has been thrilling crowds since 1910, making it one of the longest-running events in the sport. Over 40,000 fans flock here every September to watch top cowboys and cowgirls compete in classic events like saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling and barrel racing. Bucking horses, flying dirt clods and edge-of-your-seat entertainment ensure the Pendleton Round-Up lives up to its reputation as "the Real West" experience.
Beyond the competitions, Pendleton offers a full slate of Wild West fun. You can ride the carnival rides, browse the Native American market, watch Indigenous dancing and sample tasty chuckwagon grub. The rodeo grounds are also home to the Hall of Fame, an interactive museum dedicated to rodeo history. With so much to see and do, you'll want to come early and make a real vacation out of your Round-Up experience.
Most rodeo fans fly into Portland, which is about 2.5 hours north of Pendleton. However, during the busy Pendleton Round-Up week, you may be able to score some surprisingly affordable fares into nearby regional airports like Walla Walla, WA, Pasco, WA or Boise, ID. Be sure to check rates at all nearby airports - you might get lucky and find a fare sale. Reduced round-trip tickets of $200 or less are possible if you hit the right sale.
Sign up for deal alerts from Alaska Airlines, Delta, United and budget carrier Allegiant to stay on top of deals into regional Northwest airports. Act fast if you see a good fare, as the cheapest seats will disappear quickly. Also, don't rule out one-way flights - sometimes last minute one-way fares to smaller airports like Walla Walla dip below $100 round-trip prices.
Saddle Up: Finding the Best Deals on Flights to America's Top Rodeo Destinations - Using Miles for Flights to Guthrie, Oklahoma for the National High School Rodeo Finals
Saddle up and let your rewards do the work when booking flights to the National High School Finals Rodeo in Guthrie, Oklahoma. This adrenaline-charged event draws over 1,500 talented teenage cowboys and cowgirls looking to clinch national titles in roping, riding and racing events. As the pinnacle of high school rodeo, this is the one every young cowboy dreams of competing at.
With so much talent and excitement, it’s no wonder the 10-day National High School Finals Rodeo attracts droves of proud parents, extended family and rodeo fans each July. Competition is fierce, so spectators want to be there to support and cheer on their high school rodeo stars.
All the extra visitors make finding affordable flights difficult, especially when traveling as a family. That’s where airline miles can really save the day. With a stash of miles, you can often book last-minute award seats without getting gouged on cash fares. Even if the mileage rate is higher than normal, it still beats paying outrageous last-minute airfare.
Delta SkyMiles and American AAdvantage miles can both offer solid value for flights into Oklahoma City. From there, Guthrie is less than a 30 minute drive. Alaska Mileage Plan miles are another great option, as they partner extensively with Delta.
Aim to have at least 50,000 miles available for a round trip domestic economy award. More is better if snagging last-minute seats. While blackout dates can limit award availability over rodeo week, keep checking back for seats to open up as plans change leading up to the event.
Also leverage airline cards like the Delta SkyMiles Gold AmEx and the Citi AA Executive for benefits like free checked bags and priority boarding - perfect perks when traveling with all the gear for rodeo events.
Saddle Up: Finding the Best Deals on Flights to America's Top Rodeo Destinations - Saddle Up With Budget Airlines to Bandera, Texas the Cowboy Capital of the World
Yeehaw! It's time to dust off your cowboy boots and mosey on down to Bandera, Texas - the Cowboy Capital of the World. Nestled in the beautiful Texas Hill Country, Bandera oozes Wild West charm with its honky tonks, horseback rides and dude ranches. But the town really comes alive in March when Bandera hosts an action-packed slate of rodeos during the Cowboy Capital Celebration. We're talking three full weekends jam-packed with bull riding, bronc busting, barrel racing and more from sunup to sundown.
With all the rodeo revelry, you can expect Bandera to be more crowded and hotel rates to be higher. But don't let that deter you from the adventure - you just need to tap some insider tricks to keep costs low. The key is flying smart by utilizing budget airlines.
While American, United and Delta serve San Antonio, consider flying in on ultra low cost carriers like Allegiant or Frontier instead. These budget airlines operate from smaller area airports on the outskirts of major cities. For Bandera, look at flying Frontier into San Antonio International's smaller Terminal A. Roundtrip fares often dip below $150, even during spring break and rodeo season. Allegiant flies into San Antonio via the suburban Laredo airport. Fares regularly come in around $100 roundtrip from places like Memphis, Tulsa and the Rust Belt.
Once in town, you can easily rent a car or use shuttles from either airport to cover the hour drive west to Bandera. Better yet, see if any other rodeo goers from your hometown are driving and hitch a ride with them. Splitting the cost of a rental car makes transportation even more affordable.
Beyond flights, keep costs down by staying outside Bandera proper in one of the cheaper hotels along Highway 16. There are lots of nice options near Pipe Creek, like the Roadway Inn, with rooms under $70 even during the rodeo. The 15 minute drive into Bandera each morning is easy and you'll avoid jacked up rates for downtown lodging.
To save on rodeo tickets, take advantage of early bird pricing. All-day passes rise sharply once the festivals kick off. So buy ahead online and you can score a day pass for just $20 rather than $40 at the gate. Once in the rodeo grounds, pack snacks and take advantage of free attractions like the livestock exhibits to limit on-site costs.
Saddle Up: Finding the Best Deals on Flights to America's Top Rodeo Destinations - Last Minute Airfare Hacks for the Calgary Stampede in Alberta, Canada
Each July, nearly 1.5 million revelers head up to Calgary, Alberta for the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth - also known as the Calgary Stampede. As one of the largest festivals in Canada, the Calgary Stampede draws huge crowds eager to take in the world-class rodeo action, chuckwagon races, live music, carnival rides and more.
With so much excitement, demand for flights skyrockets and airfares climb during the 10-day event. Procrastinators can easily spend $800 or more booking just a few weeks out. But with the right strategies, you can still find affordable last minute flights to the Calgary Stampede. Here are some tricks to cut costs:
Follow fare sales closely - Major airlines like Air Canada, WestJet, Delta and United often run sales in the months leading up to Stampede. Sign up for their email alerts so you’re notified right away when fares drop. Act fast, as the cheapest seats sell out quickly.
Consider flying standby - Most airlines allow standby travel for reduced rates or using your own frequent flyer miles. You won’t have a confirmed seat, but if you’re flexible on dates/times you can potentially snag an empty seat for $200-300 roundtrip.
Fly into alternate airports - Flights to Calgary will be most expensive, so check rates into Edmonton or even Kelowna airports instead. Both are totally doable as road trip options about 3 hours from Calgary.
Utilize budget airlines - Swoop, Flair Airlines and Lynx Air are Canada’s budget carriers. While Spirit and Frontier are options from the U.S. They serve smaller airports, but fares often run 50% less than major airlines.
Try same day travel - Believe it or not, same day airfare can be cheaper than booking in advance sometimes. If you live within a few hours, check rates for flights departing that same day - they can dip below $200 roundtrip.
Use miles for last minute awards - Most airlines open up award seats at the last minute. Have at least 50,000 miles ready to book impulse trips. BETWEEN MSP and CAL award seats pop up in the week before Stampede.
Watch for last minute deals - Apps like Hopper, Hitlist and Scott's Cheap Flights can alert you to 11th hour fare sales you’d otherwise miss. Turn on notifications so you're tipped off right away.
Split stays between Calgary and Banff - Stay in Banff for the first half of Stampede, where hotel rates are lower. Then move to Calgary mid-week when the crowds thin and ride out Stampede. Saves on total lodging costs.
Saddle Up: Finding the Best Deals on Flights to America's Top Rodeo Destinations - Maximizing Credit Card Points for Hotels Near Top Rodeo Venues
Finding an affordable hotel during the busy rodeo season can feel nearly impossible, with jacked up rates eating away at your vacation budget. But savvy travelers know maximizing credit card points is the secret to scoring comfortable lodging without paying premium prices.
With a stash of flexible rewards like Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards or Citi ThankYou Points, you can often cover the cost of hotels entirely with points. Even when cash rates soar over rodeo weeks, you can book award nights for just 5,000 - 50,000 points per night depending on the hotel category.
The key is using cards that earn transferable points. Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve, the Amex Gold and Platinum and the Citi Premier all fit the bill. For rodeo destinations, aim to have at least 100,000 points banked across your accounts. This gives you flexibility no matter which hotel has award availability.
Once you’ve built up your points balance, transfer rewards to hotel partners like Hyatt, Marriott or Hilton for award bookings. Hyatt generally offers the best value, with rooms from just 5,000 points per night. Their smaller boutique hotels put you right near the rodeo action for less points than major chains.
If riding the range at a dude ranch is more your style, Wyndham Rewards offers excellent redemption rates around 15,000 points per night. Brands like Ramada, Super 8 and Days Inn get you close to the rodeo grounds without blowing your budget.
Don’t wait until the last minute to book award nights. Unlike airlines, hotels don’t release last minute availability. You’ll need to plan 3-6 months out to lock in award rooms over popular rodeo weeks when cash rates skyrocket. Set calendar alerts so you remember to book at the 9 or 12 month windows when reservations open for top tier properties.
Another smart strategy is to split your stay between points and cash nights. Use points for weekends when rates peak, then pay out of pocket on cheaper weekdays. This helps your rewards balance go further so you can enjoy more trips.