Two of Team Hill's most ardent Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo supporters took up their passion for the event in much different ways.
Valerie Burke, 75th Public Affairs Community Relations chief, remembers attending the rodeo as a small girl wearing a cowgirl outfit complete with cowboy hat, gun belt, cap guns. "I attended the rodeo almost every year with different family members and friends. It was always the highlight of the summer," she said.
"My whole family participates in everything that goes on with Ogden Pioneer Days -- we go down for the horse unveiling, the concerts, and we always attend the parade. It's just a very fun month of activities," she said, as she described her family's summer activities and how they have continued to carry on the tradition.
Wynn Covieo, of the Ogden Air Logistics Center Plans and Programs Directorate, found out about all the fun goings-on when he was invited to take over marketing and advertising for the event 16 years ago. "Since that time I have served in different capacities," he said as he described efforts by the Ogden Pioneer Days Committee to take the event to the top.
Reinvesting in the venue and other efforts over the last seven years have helped raise the Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo status into the top 20 of more than 700 professional rodeos, he said.
Both enthusiastically endorse the rodeo as an enjoyable series of family friendly events including concerts, three parades and a wide variety of offerings at the rodeo itself.
"The fantastic opening for each night of the Pioneer Days Rodeo features skydivers carrying a giant American flag landing in the middle of Ogden Pioneer Stadium," Covieo said.
"The top cowboys and cowgirls, including current world champions, have signed up to compete in Ogden July 20 through 24," he added. "We close the rodeo each night with the Pro Tour FMX motorcycle team performing incredible motorcycle stunts. If you are looking for a fun, family-oriented patriotic entertaining event there is none better than the Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo."
Burke praised the organizers of the event for their support for the military. "They love Hill Air Force Base. We have a great bond with them," she said.
"Volunteers from Hill Air Force Base play a key role in the Ogden Pioneer Days celebration with over 1,500 hours donated annually," Covieo said. "Our military volunteers are widely recognized for their courtesy and professionalism and as such we consider them our front line volunteers.
"They are the first to interact with invited guests, elected officials including Utah's governor and congressional delegation, rodeo contestants from throughout the United States and rodeo spectators," Covieo said as he described some of the opportunities available to serve.
"We are also very fortunate to have the support of our senior leadership of the base including the Ogden Air Logistics Center Commander Maj. Gen. Andrew Busch," Covieo said.
The two members of Hill AFB serve on the Ogden Pioneer Days Committee.
That's probably as close as Burke will get to one of her dreams as a child.
"I always wanted to be a rodeo queen. I loved their costumes, their hair and the poise they showed as they rode their horses."
Unfortunately, she said, that was never a possibility as her father raised horses and she always got bucked off. "Horses don't like me," she said.
But Burke certainly likes the rodeo.
Join in the fun at the rodeo
Military/Veterans Appreciation Night will be Wednesday, July 21. Among events planned that night, Hill senior leaders will be present to enjoy the festivities. Military and veterans who have proper identification will get reduced prices on tickets.
Volunteers will have the opportunity to help direct traffic, hand out programs, direct patrons to their seats and serve in the VIP section as well as other opportunities July 20-24.
For more information about volunteering, e-mail email@example.com.