In the moments between the saddle bronc competition and the barrel racing, Jessica Blair Fowlkes has the grounds of the Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo all to herself.
In the moments between the saddle bronc competition and the barrel racing, Jessica Blair Fowlkes has the grounds of the Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo all to herself. Five feet above the ground, the trick rider from Kentucky enters the arena standing tall with one foot on the back of each of her matching pale horses. For several minutes, Blair Fowlkes races around the edges of the arena and weaves around obstacles before leaping with her horses over a wall of flames and riding off into the night. Every year, the Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo features a specialty act who rides in between the traditional rodeo events. This year is Blair Fowlkes’s first time performing her Roman riding in Utah. Roman riding is a form of trick riding where the performer stands atop multiple horses. Growing up on a beef cattle farm in Eastern Tennessee, Blair Fowlkes always rode horses, but it wasn’t until college that she picked up trick riding. While earning degrees in animal science and nursing, Blair Fowlkes was also working at Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, a country western themed tourist attraction. There she learned how to become a professional trick rider. “I always told her she was crazy,” said her mother, Michele Blair. A decade after starting at the Dixie Stampede, Blair Fowlkes now spends around 40 weeks a year on the road performing as a rodeo specialty act. By her side for nearly all of those trips are her mother and her 13-month-old son Wilder. When Blair Fowlkes had her son last year, it was less than three months before she was back on the road again. This week, her husband has had time off from his own rodeo business and has joined her in Ogden. Often these trips are relatively short weekend turns at rodeos around the Southeast, but the rodeo business is changing. In recent years, Blair Fowlkes says she has seen a decline in the number of rodeos hiring specialty acts. This is especially true in the South where the trend is moving towards shortening rodeos and featuring large concerts at the end. Despite the changes, Blair Fowlkes remains on the road and on her horses. After five nights of riding in Ogden, she'll pack up her trailer and family and head to Montana where two more rodeos are waiting before making the trip back to Kentucky.
Utah biologists roam the wetlands of Monte Cristo in search of boreal toads. Boreal toad populations have been shrinking around the West. The large toads are difficult to study, but Utah scientists are trying to get a better idea of how local populations are doing.
In between the city of Ogden and the summits of the Wasatch Range sits Malan’s Peak. The summit of the rocky triangular peak rises above Central Ogden to a height of just under 7,000 feet. Despite a 2,000 foot climb, the Malan’s Peak Trail is popular during the summer as it winds through thick evergreens over cool creeks.
Rodeo riders, ropers and fans gathered on Thursday, July 20, 2017, at Ogden Pioneer Stadium for the second night of the Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo.
The annual Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo kicked off with the first of five nightly rodeos at the Ogden Pioneer Station on Wednesday, July 19, 2017.
Kent Keller found a badly burned golden eagle chick in the aftermath of the Dump Fire near Eagle Mountain, Utah, in 2012. The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah nursed the bird, which they named Phoenix, back to health.
Tim Smith founded Ogden's Own Distillery in 2009. At the time, it was only the second distillery in the state. Today, more than a dozen distilleries operate in Utah. Ogden's Own's Five Wives Vodka is the top-selling spirit made in Utah.
In the latest episode of the Out Standing in a Field podcast, Leia Larsen and Benjamin Zack learn about how scientists and engineers in Utah are playing an important role in taking humans beyond Earth orbit.