Honored cowboy tips his hat at Ogden Pioneer Days

Wednesday , July 23, 2014 - 3:04 PM

OGDEN -- Ron Brown tipped his hat to the Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo celebration, the endearment between performer and audience obvious.

Brown and his wife, Ginger, have performed in numerous specialty acts at the rodeo, believing that the Ogden Pioneer Stadium launched their careers as Roman riders.

"The Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo launched our careers into the field of entertainment,“ Brown said in a rodeo program in 2008. ”We think of the Ogden Stadium arena as a piece of hallowed ground. We breathed the arena dirt and now you can say it is in our bloodstream.“

The Browns also performed at the Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo in recent memory. They also were honored as grand marshals of the Ogden Pioneer Days Parade in 2008. 

Brown, who is of retirement age, was honored as Weber County’s inductee into the Utah Cowboy Hall of Fame on Saturday in celebration of the National Day of the Cowboy. He suffers from pancreatic cancer and he said he knows his days are numbered.

"We just live one day at a time,“ Brown said of he and his wife and the time they’ve been spending together while they can.

"I’ll never get rid of (the cancer) until it gets me,” he said. “Right now, we’re going on and doing the best we can.”

And it seems that Brown has lived his life with that same philosophy.

He’s a man who was born and raised in Weber County and who has achieved a level of recognition and accomplishment in the western world that has put his star on the map as having lived his western heritage.

For such accomplishments, Ron and Ginger Brown also were inducted earlier this month into the Utah Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum at Union Station.

Brown said he and his wife were grateful for both honors.

"We are very proud to represent the community and the state,“ he said. ”We are very proud for our families and people in the community who have helped us get to those positions.“

And one man who works closely with them said their recognition was well deserved.

“For their careers, both Ron and Ginger, as elementary school teachers, taught the history of the West and this state, positively influencing the lives of generations of their students,” wrote Kurt Anderson in a nomination letter for the museum honor.

Brown retired from teaching at Plain City Elementary School after 27 years. He also spent some summers working as a wilderness ranger for the U.S. Forest Service.

“As rodeo performers, the Browns traveled the country for many years during the summer months performing a Roman riding act. As is their nature, they earned the respect and friendship of individuals who would introduce them to the movie industry.”

Anderson said the names Ron and Ginger Brown are now synonymous with film making in Utah. They have trained and provided horses and other animals for nearly 100 western, historical, period and commercial productions in a variety of locations.

R & G Horseback concession on Antelope Island has also given the Browns the opportunity to act as ambassadors to visitors from throughout the world as they ride along on pristine land and describe what life was like for the settlers of Utah, Anderson said.

The couple recently was recognized by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as they were featured in the church’s video series “I am a Mormon.”

“God, family, horses and teaching are the elements that define their life,” Anderson said in his letter. “Both humble and approachable, they are good, honorable people.” 

And Brown demonstrated that humility when he discussed how he and Ginger were able to achieve their many honors throughout their lives.

“All the people that have helped us get to this point, it’s too bad they can’t be recognized,” Brown said. “It was the support of all the people that really did it. You don’t get those (awards) without the help of thousands of people. That’s the way I feel.”

He said he and Ginger are very grateful for those who have helped them along.

And Brown said it’s also that same support that’s helping him cope with cancer.

"I’m not cancer free,“ he said, ”but I’m going forward and doing the best I can with prayer and faith that people have given me and have made it, so I’m alive today.“

Brown said he was diagnosed two years ago and given 11 months to live by doctors at the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

He believes he has beaten the odds.

"God has given me a tender mercy,” he said. “I’ve just been going along.”

You may reach JaNae Francis at 801-625-4228. Follow her on Twitter at JaNaeFrancisSE. Like her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SEJaNaeFrancis.

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