Cheyenne, Wyoming Frontier Days is pulling the plug on smokeless tobacco..

April 12, 2010 - After accepting sponsorship dollars for decades from U.S. Smokeless Tobacco — maker of Copenhagen, Skoal and other brands — the rodeo known as the “Daddy of ’Em All” now has reached a deal with the Wyoming Department of Health to promote the state’s “Quit Tobacco Program.”

So instead of urging people to dip, the event will encourage them to stop.

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Dr. Brent Sherard, Wyoming Department of Health Director and State Health Officer, said Friday, April 9th the state’s $45,500 sponsorship will buy it an anti-tobacco banner on a bucking chute and other exposure at the famous rodeo. The event held the last week of July drew 192,000 people last year.

“This is one of those areas that seems to be a place where smokeless tobacco is used, as it is in many other parts and other cultures in Wyoming,” Sherard said. “And I think it’s just an opportunity to get the message out about the harmful effects of smokeless tobacco.”

David Sylvia, spokesman for U.S. Smokeless in Virginia, said Friday the company ended its support of rodeos nationwide last year. Sylvia said the company had already made a business decision to make the move, even before the federal government limited tobacco sponsorship of sporting events beginning this year.

The company believes it’s appropriate for Wyoming to try to reduce the level of tobacco use among kids, Sylvia said. He had no comment on the state picking up the Frontier Days sponsorship.

Rod Hottle, general chairman of Frontier Days in Cheyenne, said Friday the tobacco company had been a great sponsor for many years. “It was purely on our part a business decision to seek other sponsorship,” Hottle said. Hottle said the rodeo looks forward to putting out a message that people who attend should be healthy. The rodeo will continue to sell beer, he said.

Reference: Frontier Days pulls the plug on smokeless tobacco by The Associated Press,, 4/11/2010.