Between dances, Ogden hoedown features mock shootouts
NICHOlAS DRANEY/Standard-ExaminerKathy Valdez fires blanks in a mock shootout during the downtown hoedown festival in Ogden on Wednesday, July 18, 2012.
NICHOlAS DRANEY/Standard-ExaminerKiaya larsen (left) dances with whoopee girl Paige Whimpey during the downtown hoedown festival in Ogden on Wednesday, July 18, 2012.
NICHOlAS DRANEY/Standard-ExaminerTanner Barber rides a mechanical bull during the downtown hoedown festival in Ogden on Wednesday, July 18, 2012.
OGDEN — The lawman wandered the grounds, his boots barely making a sound on the green grass.
It was crowded. Tons of people had come out for the annual Ogden Pioneer Days hoedown Wednesday, and many more were still streaming in. The outlaw could be anywhere.
Children were running around, and friends were talking, eating barbecue and looking at the wares of some local vendors when gunfire exploded amid the happy bustle and music of the hoedown.
An outlaw fell to his knees and collapsed a few yards from the smoking barrel of a deputy’s revolver. A woman cried out and ran to the fallen man’s side.
But after sobbing over him for a moment, she traded her parasol for his gun. She aimed, fired and avenged him, taking down the lawman who had tried to stop him.
It was all in good fun. Costumed members of the Weber County Sheriff’s Mounted Posse used cap guns to play out Western shootout scenes like that throughout the hoedown, which this year was just outside the Ogden City Municipal Building.
The shows add atmosphere to the tradition, and they were 9-year-old Sarin Udell’s favorite part. She took a photo with some of the costumed cowboys and ladies wearing Western-style gowns, which Sarin thought looked pretty.
She and her family had come all the way from Pine Valley in Washington County to enjoy Pioneer Days, as well as to support Sarin’s older sister Jamie, also known as Miss Rodeo Utah this year.
Right after an announcer mentioned Jamie Udell, among other rodeo queens who were honored at the hoedown, children screamed with excitement as a band of outlaws opened fire and shot down a big group of Whoopie Girls.
The lawmen returned fire, and as the smoke cleared, people cheered, the country music resumed, and everyone — revived Whoopie Girls included — returned to the festivities.
Among the activities, including a bounce house, a big inflatable slide and henna tattoo painting, was the chance to ride a mechanical bull.
Orson Fenn, 7, sporting a red cowboy hat, hopped up onto the robotic beast. Holding on with both hands, he stayed on the bull for awhile as it bucked back and forth.
His older brother Dawson, 10, even stayed on with only one hand as the bull spun around.
“I want to go again,” Orson said shortly after he and his brother wrapped up their rides to much praise from the U.S. National Guard members who operated and sponsored the bull-riding booth.
Orson wants to be a cowboy when he grows up, said his mother, Amy Fenn.
Besides that, the boys love to dance with their mother at a hoedown, she added — though there was still another go with the mechanical bull to be had.
Besides a chance to explore the vendors at the hoedown, or even get a Tarot reading in a tent, attendees also had the opportunity to get a health screening, thanks to Ogden Clinic. Insurance would normally factor into the screenings, but the clinic offered them free at the hoedown.
The 2500 block of Grant Avenue was transformed into a motocross show, to much appreciative applause as the crowds lined either side of the street to watch the bikers take flying leaps from one ramp to another.