Gearing up for his band’s visit to the Park County Fair this week, Moorcroft, Wyoming, native Chancey Williams is somewhat surprised that this will be his and the Younger Brothers Band’s …
Gearing up for his band’s visit to the Park County Fair this week, Moorcroft, Wyoming, native Chancey Williams is somewhat surprised that this will be his and the Younger Brothers Band’s first ever appearance at the venue.
“That’s one fair we haven’t played yet,” Williams said of the Park County Fair. “I feel like we’ve played most of the county fairs in Wyoming, and everyone has always said we need to come up and play it. For some reason it’s just never worked out until now. We’ve always heard it’s one of the best fairs, so we’re pretty excited.”
A state champion wrestler and saddle bronc rider in high school, Williams also discovered a love for performing on the stage, entering a high school talent show with friend and future bandmate Travis DeWitt. The two parlayed that experience into gigs at county fairs and local clubs, and continued to perform into their college years.
“We just started the band for fun in high school, and then we just kinda kept the band going through college,” Williams said. “We had a lot of fun playing college events, bars and stuff. It just evolved into something where we kept getting booked for bigger and bigger things. We kept after it, and it’s just continued to grow since then.”
Much like fellow Wyoming favorite Chris LeDoux, Williams was also a star in the rodeo ring, competing in saddle bronc riding at the high school and collegiate level, followed by a couple of years on the pro circuit.
“I went to Casper College on a rodeo scholarship and rodeoed about three years there, and then I went to the University of Wyoming and rodeoed there,” Williams said. “The whole time we were playing music, but back then my main thing was rodeoing. But it finally got to the point that we were playing music so much, it kind of took over.”
To this day, he and LeDoux are the only pair to have ridden in the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo and performed on the Frontier Days main stage as a featured entertainer — a distinction he’s proud of.
“The rodeo life ain’t easy, and it’s hard to get in to Cheyenne. But I rodeoed long enough that I was able to ride there a couple of times,” he said. “Getting to play in Cheyenne may have been even harder. The first year we played the main stage, one of the committee members told me, ‘You and Chris [LeDoux] are the only ones ever to ride here and play here on the stage.’ I thought that was pretty neat.”
Williams’ music career began to take off in college, though that’s not to say Williams didn’t take care of business in the classroom as well. He earned four degrees in college, including a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s in public administration. In the end, the desire to make music and perform proved too great to ignore.
“I kind of had to make a decision,” he said. “I can’t ride bucking horses forever, so I figured I’d try this music thing full time. It really worked out.”
The band’s current lineup — DeWitt on drums, Wyatt Springsteen on lead guitar, Brooke Latka on the fiddle and Jay Lee Downing on bass — have been together for a decade, and Williams said it’s been nice having that level of comfort that comes with working with the same group over time. He’s also been able to apply lessons learned on the wrestling mat to his music career.
“Wrestling is such a good life sport, it just taught me how to work hard. I knew that nobody was ever going to hand the music thing over to you,” he said. “Some of those skills you learn growing up wrestling is that the harder you work, the luckier you get.”
It’s been a busy summer so far for Chancey Williams and the Younger Brothers Band, as they continue their tour of the West. Williams said one aspect of touring he really enjoys is getting to perform in front of new crowds.
“We love playing live, and it’s always fun to go somewhere new, like Powell,” he said. “We’ll try to give people the best show that we can, and hopefully gain some new fans along the way. It’s always fun just to see new faces and new places, and every year things just keep getting bigger and bigger.”
As for the show itself, Williams said concert-goers can expect a high-energy performance, featuring a set list of old and new songs.
“We’ll play some older songs people might recognize, as well as some new stuff that’s coming out this fall,” he said. “We always throw in a couple of cover songs for those folks that have never heard us before.”
The band’s latest single “Tonight We’re Drinkin’” dropped earlier this month, and Williams said response to the tune has been very positive.
“The song’s been doing really good, it’s a fun little summer song,” he said. “It’s got a nice little catchy jingle to it. It’s been a lot of fun.”
Chancey Williams and the Younger Brothers Band will perform live in concert on Thursday night at the Park County Fair. The concert begins at 7 p.m. at the Main Grandstands. Tickets are $40 (floor), $35 (box seats) or $29 (grandstand). Tickets can be purchased at the box office at the fair or online at www.parkcountyfair.com.