OGDEN — There was a lot of reminiscing about years past as Ogden Pioneer Days kicked off a new year of celebration Friday.
The event was the Utah Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum grand opening and the induction of the first Hall of Fame members at the Ogden Union Station.
Those who attended got the first look at a display of pictures from decades ago when Ogden had a beard-growing contest.
Also a first is a display of the outfits worn by Utah’s first two Miss Rodeo Americas, Connie Della Lucia Robinson and Susan Merrill Agricola, whenthey were crowned.
“They can have the Salt Palace, but they don’t have this,” said Cotton Rosser, who was one of the inductees.
Rosser was pointing to the mountains and the outdoor setting that makes Ogden Pioneer Days famous.
Included among the inductees were an image, an organization and 12 individuals.
The inductees are the Whoopee Girl, the Weber County Sheriff’s Mounted Posse, Susan Merrill Agricola, Judy Butler Anderson, Lorene Donaldson Call, A. Kenneth “Ken” Cross, Lewis Feild Calvin and Lew Grant, Harman W. Peery, J.G. Read, Connie Della Lucia Robinson, and Cotton and Karin Allred Rosser.
Rosser’s Flying U Rodeo Company produced Ogden Pioneer Days for about four decades and he was a competitor eight years before that.
“When the moon would come up, that was heaven,” he said of Ogden’s location.
Even as the recipient of a number of awards in his career, Rosser said receiving this award from Ogden was special.
Hailing from Marysville, Calif., Rosser said Utah was a special place for rodeo because it has more world champions, more rodeos and more rodeo fans per capita than any other state.
Lewis Feild, probably one of Utah’s best-known names in rodeo, said he was proud to be a part of the Ogden-based Hall of Fame and the ceremony.
“The first time I ever rode in a rodeo was here,” he said.
And before that, he attended the Ogden Livestock Show in the early 1960s with his grandfather.
Field, of Elk Ridge, is best known for his three back-to-back All-Around Cowboy World Championship titles in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association for 1985, 1986 and 1987.
Bev Cross, the widow of Ken Cross, said she was especially honored to be there to receive his award.
“He loved Ogden,” she said of her late husband. “He loved the western way.”
Cross spoke of rodeo queens who worked so hard to promote the sport of rodeo in Ogden and throughout Utah.
“He had a lot of respect for the queens and the work they did,” Bev Cross said. “They worked so hard and it showed in the caliber that we had.
Inductee Judy Butler Anderson pointed to the pink suits worn by Agricola and Robinson when they were named Miss Rodeo America.
She said the committee could not find mannequins small enough to wear their pants, so the trousers had to be pinned to the front of the life-sized dolls in order for them to be displayed.
The museum and hall of fame were developed under the direction of the Ogden Pioneer Heritage Foundation and Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo Committee.