A Coloradan Sings the Anthem at Cheyenne Frontier Days

As a tenor, Donald Tallman can hit the high notes – something that puts him in demand at sporting events, where the National Anthem has a particularly troubling “freeeeeee.”

And last Saturday, July 19, he belted out the tune before the rodeo on the opening day of Cheyenne Frontier Days, where 18,000 strong watched the bulls and blood, the dust and the mud, in the Wyoming heat. “It’s such a beautiful song and it arouses such patriotism,” he says. “And is so great to sing for a crowd like the Frontier Days crowd.”

And while it was his first time at Cheyenne Frontier Days, it certainly wasn’t Tallman’s first rodeo – so to speak.

“I did it for five different rodeo and bull-riding events at the National Western Stock Show in Denver last January,” he says. Tallman also sang the anthem at four or five Colorado Rockies games, and will do so again on August 9.

But singing – although he’s been doing it professionally for twenty years, from choirs, to quartets to opera – isn’t even Tallman’s day job. Nope, when not crooning, he’s the executive director of the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden, one of the largest historical railroad museums in the West.

So how did he get the Frontier Days gig?

“I put a video of me singing the anthem at a Rockies game on Youtube and I sent e-mails to rodeos and sporting events and that type of thing telling them to check it out,” he says. “I do a straightforward version of it,” meaning no funky stuff and certainly not the Renee Marie version. (“No comment” on that issue, Tallman quips.)

It’s also “a nice way to get free tickets and access,” he points out. For instance, he got to sit in the President’s Box in Cheyenne and ride in a stagecoach. And at Coors Field, “they have a professional videographer film it and they send it to you afterward,” he says. “I’m not compensated, so the expectation is you get good seats and they treat you right.”

To see Tallman sing the anthem, click here. -- Jonathan Shikes