With Cheyenne Frontier Days comes many people ready to spend a little money for a good time while others are looking to separate you from your money. Most are honest and Cheyenne Frontier Days has a committee that actively works to keep everybody honest. I believe they are doing their jobs but here or anywhere, you should know how some of the shadier cons try to take your cash.

You see the big stuffed toy prizes and the seemingly easy games and hear the call to “step right up,” but they never seem to produce results. Arm yourself with knowledge before you lay your money down.


ABC reports that there are about twenty thousand fairs and rodeos every year and some, have midway games that have tricks to make it difficult if not impossible to win. The honest operators would love to see the “Racket Games” off the midway.

Jenny Weiss Photography

ABC found Ring Toss games where the rings were too small to fit over the target, bbs that were substandard size to make it hard to shoot out the red star, especially when the guns jam frequently. Getting a baseball to stay in the basket is easy with another ball in there to reduce the bounce, but of course they disappear after the demonstration as to how the game works and there’s your money on the line. Some baskets have springs behind them.

Jenny Weiss Photography

Knocking over “milk bottles” that are overweight and misaligned by even a little can be impossible to win.

Jenny Weiss Photography

Very dull darts cannot pop under-inflated balloons smacks of deflate-gate while over inflated basketballs bounce off of unleveled hoops that are small and oval shaped, not round. You just can’t tell from your perspective. These hoops and accessories are for sale at prices as overinflated as the balls you throw at them are.

Jenny Weiss Photography

Even if you win, the carney may hand you a small, cheap prize instead of the big attractive prize hanging on the wall.

Here, and here, some carneys offer insight on some tricks and how to tip the scales in your favor in a homemade video.


NBC had a good piece on knowing how they slip their hands in your pocket

Experts say watch for games with only big prizes, because there won’t be many winners. Ask the operator to show you how to win, if it’s crooked he won’t be able to either. Also watch for a while first to see if anyone else is winning, if not, move along.