Ogden Pioneer Days rodeo to kick off: ‘Getting ready to go’
OGDEN — This year’s Ogden Pioneer Days rodeo could be the last at Pioneer Stadium in the facility’s current configuration.
Moves to upgrade and modernize the facility, a $5 million project in the works since at least 2020, are expected to get moving after the finish of the rodeo, which officially kicks off on Wednesday and goes through Monday. The initial focus, according to Alan Hall, chairman of Ogden Pioneer Days Foundation, will be on removal of the south stadium bleachers, which are to be replaced.
First things first, though.
Hall said, the planning is coming together for this year’s installment of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, or PRCA, rodeo, the marquee Ogden Pioneer Days event and a draw to some of the nation’s top cowboys and cowgirls. Slack events took place on Tuesday to fill out the slate of rodeo contestants, with the main rodeo activity to begin Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
“Getting ready to go,” Hall said. “We’ve been working on it for a year. Everything is now ready.”
He’s anticipating perhaps 45,000 visitors to rodeo events, a record total reached last year after cancellation of Ogden Pioneer Days events in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “I think people were anxious to get out and come to the rodeo. This year, it’s been much the same — people want to get out,” said Hall, who dubs Pioneer Days Northern Utah’s largest community event.
PRCA rodeo events are scheduled for Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday. Along the way, Miss Rodeo Utah events are scheduled around Ogden, including the horsemanship competition at Pioneer Stadium on Saturday, with the coronation set for next Monday.
The Ogden Pioneer Days Grande Parade is also set for Monday starting at 9 a.m., running along Washington Boulevard from 31st Street north to 20th Street. Typically it’s held on July 24, Pioneer Day, which marks the arrival of the first members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. But because Pioneer Day falls on a Sunday, this year’s parade will be Monday, which is July 25.
The parade grand marshals will be David and Ronda Wadman. David Wadman is president of Wadman Corp., a construction company and sponsor of Ogden Pioneer Days activities for the past 20 years.
The Wadmans “feel that Pioneer Days is a great time to celebrate the courage and strength of our pioneer ancestors, who willingly left their comfortable lives to be able to worship God and live with freedom to choose,” reads the Ogden Pioneer Days website. “They came to a new place and faced many challenging experiences.”
Bryan Schade, the parade director, said there will be 85 parade entries, the typical mix of marching bands, first-responder vehicles, groups of dancers and more.
Thursday’s rodeo will serve as a fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Weber-Davis. Donations to the group are encouraged and Pioneer Days officials will raise additional funds through an auction.
Country singer Charley Jenkins will be the featured performer after Saturday’s rodeo.
MORE ON THE STADIUM PLANS
Plans to overhaul Pioneer Stadium, located at 668 17th St., came to public light in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic began. The original timeline called for work to be finished that year, but that time frame has not panned out.
Hall didn’t delve into details of the current plans except to say that work to tear out the south stadium bleachers is to begin sometime after the Pioneer Days rodeo finishes. The north stadium bleachers were replaced in 2018 with seats removed from Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, where the Utah Jazz basketball team plays.
Other elements of the Pioneer Stadium upgrade plans call for a grand new entry to the west and more flourishes to the city-owned structure. Hall said $3 million of the $5 million needed has been raised.