Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo ranked in top five nationwide

Thursday , January 22, 2015 - 12:07 PM

OGDEN — The Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo, which draws more than 30,000 attendees each July, was ranked among the nation’s five best large outdoor rodeos by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association last month during the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo held in Las Vegas.

On Tuesday, the Ogden City Council passed a resolution recognizing that honor, noting that the five-night statehood celebration has repeatedly been named the Best Rodeo in the Wilderness Circuit that spans Utah, Idaho and Nevada and has also been nominated numerous times for the best rodeo of its size in the PRCA.

The western-style celebration dates back to 1934, initially launched by former Ogden Mayor Harman Peery to boost community spirit and attract tourists.

“We are an icon here in Ogden in the most unusual way, an event where we get bucked off a horse or a bull,” said Pioneer Days Foundation Chairman Alan Hall, encouraging Council members to “try that experience” this summer.

“Our intent as a foundation is to grow this event and be THE best rodeo in the United States. That’s where our focus is,” Hall added.

Overseen by volunteers, the festival’s competitions range from bareback riding to steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronc riding, tie down roping, barrel racing and bull riding. According to Ogden City’s resolution, those events attract close to 700 top rodeo athletes from around the U.S.

Other Ogden Pioneer Days events include July 24th parades, Utah Cowboys Hall of Fame Induction ceremony, Miss Rodeo Utah competition, Traces of the West Art Show, Trail to Pioneer Days horse display and the Utah Cowboy Museum.

Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo Director Dave Halverson cited recent survey data that showed that 56 percent of the festival’s spectators are female, 55 percent live in Weber County, 18 percent from Davis County and 27 percent from other surrounding counties.

“The magnitude of this vote, for us to be in the top five, is unbelievable in the state of Utah,” said Ogden Pioneer Days Sponsorship Director Desiree Cooper-Larsen, citing other large rodeos that offer fierce competition.

Contact reporter Cathy McKitrick at 801-625-4214 or cmckitrick@standard.net. Follow her on Twitter at @catmck.

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