Three cheers for Ogden Pioneer Days

Tuesday , December 09, 2014 - 12:00 AM

By ALAN HALL, Guest commentary

Congratulations to Ogden Pioneer Days for being honored as one of the top five best rodeos in the United States at the National Finals Rodeo underway in Las Vegas, Nevada. This honor comes from the vote of thousands of cowboys who are members of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. This outstanding award is the first time the Ogden rodeo has garnered this big league accolade.

The not for profit rodeo committee and its leaders deserve the credit for this wonderful accomplishment. Desiree Larsen, David Halverson and Jerry Shaw lead a dedicated team of scores of hardworking and loyal volunteers who produce a world class event now in its 81st year.

Situated on one of the most scenic spots in the west, with the lofty Ogden mountains nearby, the historic Ogden outdoor rodeo stadium is a favorite venue for the who’s who of top professional cowboys and cowgirls. In fact, nearly 700 riders appeared at last summer’s competition hoping to win prizes in bareback and saddle bronc riding, team roping, steer wrestling and roping, bull riding , and barrel racing.

Annually the very best livestock in America are in Ogden over the week of July 24th to test the skills of determined cowpokes. Scores are calculated on the performance of both the animal and the rider. Cowboys who win are just as great at their craft as are the horses, steers and bulls who give a cowboy a ride to remember.

We also tip our hats to the special acts, clowns, bull fighters and announcer who add to the distinctive quality of the rodeo. Each in his own way is a national rodeo celebrity. We salute our rodeo fans, nearly 40,000, who attend one of five performances every summer. We thank our many supportive corporate and individual sponsors who make the rodeo possible.

As part of the Pioneer Days celebration, the committee hosts two significant parades. The first is the Horse and Hitch parade. It features over 600 horse and wagon entries and is considered the largest of its kind. On the 24th of July, over 70,000 fans gather along Washington Blvd to cheer on the floats and bands of one of Utah’s largest parades.

Adding to the festival, we recognize that Ogden Pioneer Days hosts the Utah Cowboys Hall of Fame Induction ceremony; the Miss Rodeo Utah Queen competition; several musical concerts and a Sunday Fireside; Traces of the West Art Show and the ever popular and colorful Trail to Pioneer Days horse display which is found throughout downtown Ogden, and, lastly the Utah Cowboy Museum located inside the Union Station.

As a foundation that actively supports our pioneer legacy, we salute Ogden Pioneer Days and the many dedicated individuals who make it one of the best in America.

Alan E. Hall is chairman of the Ogden Pioneer Days Foundation and a member of the Standard-Examiner Editorial Board.

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