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Pioneer Stadium renovations well underway, set to finish in time for July rodeo

By Rob Nielsen - | Jun 1, 2024

Rob Nielsen, Standard-Examiner

Rick Davis, vice chair of rodeo operations for the Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo, points out some of the ongoing renovation work at Ogden's Pioneer Stadium on Thursday, May 30, 2024.

OGDEN -- Pioneer Stadium will offer a drastically different experience when crowds arrive for the Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo in July.

According to a press release, long-sought $4 million renovations to the rodeo grounds are well underway.

Among the many changes, visitors will see and experience:

  • Replacements to the east- and west-end bucking chutes.
  • A new sound system.
  • The addition of more than 1,000 seats to the south grandstand, as well as the removal of old seating that will be replaced with numbered bench seats with backs. Paired with new box seating that will be constructed on the south side, total stadium capacity will rise to 10,441.
  • The construction of permanent office space and a "ticket operation center."
  • A new entrance on the west side.
  • Resurfaced asphalt around the stadium.
  • Improvements to underground water infrastructure, courtesy of Ogden's Public Works Department.

Alan Hall, chair of the Ogden Pioneer Days Foundation, told the Standard-Examiner that raising the funds was a collective effort between the rodeo committee, Ogden City and several entities.

"It's taken us a few years to get this done," he said. "We did the north grandstands a couple years ago, now we're completing the south and the stadium will be one of the most beautiful in the United States for rodeo. ... It's one of those marvelous things where you think about people coming together to get great, noble things done. And in my role as the chairman and the responsibility to work with everybody to move it forward, it's sort of a dream come true."

The press release notes several major donors, including the Utah Legislature, Weber County R.A.M.P., Ogden City, LDS Philanthropies, the Ogden Pioneer Days Heritage Foundation, the George S. and Delores Doré Eccles Foundation and Wadman Corp., which also is the general contractor on the renovation project.

Hall said much went into the three-year fundraising effort.

"A lot of things happened," he said. "When we went through the COVID time period, that slowed us down a lot. Then, obviously, working with the city, we want to make sure we have got the right budget -- what we're going to spend money on. That's been a little process for both entities to nail this down correctly. The city's obviously stepped up and put money into it as well from their point of view. Some of these things take a little time."

Rick Davis, vice chair of rodeo operations, who also is overseeing the progress of construction, told the Standard-Examiner the renovations will be complete before the Pioneer Days Rodeo begins July 19.

"We will have it ready for fans to come and enjoy the rodeo," he said. "Honestly, we're going to be pushing it, but we're going to have it completed."

Construction is expected to finish by July 15.

Hall said the renovations couldn't have come at a better time.

"We're going to celebrate this new facility on our 90th anniversary," he said. "I couldn't be more pleased with the support for this activity, for this facility. The rodeo at Pioneer Days is the largest community summer event in Northern Utah, so we're really happy that this has now come about."

Davis added that the renovations will be a huge boost for rodeo fans.

"As the pioneer Days Rodeo, we've grown substantially over the last three years," he said. "We'll have contestants from all across the United States, Brazil, Canada, Australia ... We're one of the premier professional PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) rodeos in the nation. We're a top-tier event, so it drives a ton of traffic from those competitors to Ogden. And with those great competitors -- the top contestants in the world -- it's just a phenomenal show for the fans. And with the new structure, the new seats, the new sound and all of those amenities, it's just going to improve and enhance their experience."

The 2024 Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo is set for July 19-24.

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