WEST HAVEN — Members of St. Mary’s Catholic Church hope to build more than brick and mortar when they sponsor a rodeo next weekend as a building fundraiser.
They are hoping the St. Mary’s Stampede on Friday and Saturday in Hooper will build community relationships and provide local residents with a fun recreational activity while raising money for the building fund at the church.
“It’s kind of a good time for the church, a good time for the community, and hopefully we can raise a little money for the parish,” said Gary Thompson, who is chairman of the rodeo committee for the church.
“The closest we get to a religious leaning is the priest will give an invocation at the beginning.”
Thompson said he hopes the rodeo, which the church now hopes to sponsor every year, will provide a means to bring people together, regardless of their differences.
“This is just for a good time,” Thompson said. “Nobody’s promoting anything except cowboys and the Western heritage.”
And he recognized that having a church sponsor a rodeo is unusual.
It was just a situation where need met opportunity.
“I have rodeoed all my life,” Thompson said. “We were looking for ways to raise funds. After a little research, we decided to do it.”
Thompson said he’s just one of a dozen members of the church’s men’s club who make up the rodeo committee.
But he’s the one with the experience they’re leaning on.
Thompson first was a rodeo contestant, and then he worked as a stock contractor for many years after that.
He ran the Frontier Rodeo Productions company, which he sold 10 years ago.
But now he’s back in the game for his church.
And he has employed the support of corporate sponsors who have provided for most of the costs of the production, allowing the church to collect needed funding with the proceeds.
Those corporate sponsors include:
Boot Barn, Ed Kenley Ford, Harmons Grocery, Jessie Jean’s Cafe, Les Schwab, Maddys Insurance, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Outlaw Saloon, Pepsi Company, Ream’s Boot & Jeans, Smith & Edwards, Staker-Parson Companies, Stucco Connection, Taggart Construction, The Electric Guy, The Metal WorkR, Thompson’s Smokehouse, TJ Trailer, TSC Construction, Wheeler Truck Rental and Wilson Lane Service.
“We’ve had great support from our community, from our corporate sponsors,” Thompson said. “Without them, we couldn’t do it.”
The rodeo will feature competitors from the Rocky Mountain Professional Rodeo Association, which hail from all over the Western United States.
“These are cowboys that have lots of years of experience,” Thompson said. “They are some of the best in the Western United States.”
Thompson said those who attend are guaranteed some top-notch rodeo action.
And he said local contestants also will be among those in the arena.
“I’ve had a lot local people call me,” he said. “I’ve referred them to Broken Heart.”
The rodeo producer for St. Mary’s Stampede is the Broken Heart Rodeo Company out of Plain City.
While Thompson and the owner of Broken Heart Rodeo Company, Ben German, are friends, Thompson also pointed to the company’s numerous qualifications.
Broken Heart has been the stock contractor of the year for the Intermountain Professional Rodeo Association and has been recognized by the Utah High School Rodeo Association.
Broken Heart also has had animals featured in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.
Those who attend will be the first to enjoy new improvements to the grounds finished just this month.
“There are new bleachers and a lot of improvements at the Hooper rodeo grounds,” Thompson said. “We’ve put them under a deadline for our rodeo.”
St. Mary’s Stampede Rodeo
WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday and June 2
WHERE: Hooper rodeo arena, 5500 S. 6300 West. Take I-15 Exit 338 in Roy and drive straight west on 5600 South for six miles. The road name changes to 5500 South.
TICKETS: $11/adults, $8/children, at the door; $8/adults, $5/children, in advance online at www.ezticketlive.com.
Gates open 5 p.m. both nights to allow participants to visit various booths that will be selling T-shirts, makeup and other items.
At 9 a.m. Saturday, there will be a “slack” event for overflow contestants not competing in the nightly events. This event is free to the public.