Three time all-around and two-time bareback riding champion cowboy Lewis Feild may have lived in Elk Ridge, Utah, but his influence was greatly felt in Ogden.
Feild, who died Monday, Feb. 15 of pancreatic cancer, had a long history of competing in the Ogden Pioneer Days rodeo. His fame in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association helped to draw crowds to the local statehood celebration.
“We’ve lost a legend,” said Desiree Cooper-Larsen, a former Ogden Pioneer Days chairwoman. “Not only was he a great cowboy but he was a great person.”
Cooper-Larsen said Feild competed in the Ogden Pioneer Days rodeo for many years and the committee made him a central focus of the opening act about nine years ago.
He had worked as a pickup man for the rodeo and he also supported his son, Kaycee Feild, a four-time world champion bareback rider, in his competing locally.
“I don’t remember an Ogden Pioneer Days that Lewie hasn’t been there in one capacity or another,” said Cooper-Larsen, who has been involved in the Ogden event for 35 years.
Ogden Pioneer Days recognized Feild in its Utah Cowboy Hall of Fame and as the Utah County honoree for the National Day of the American Cowboy. Cooper-Larsen said both of those honors were given to Feild the first years each were offered in Ogden.
“He was young and he had too much to give,” she said.
Dave Halverson, chairman of Ogden Pioneer Days, said Feild fought a good fight since he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Halverson said that’s what he expected out of the fine leader that Feild was.
“He was such an influence in Ogden Pioneer Days and in the sport of rodeo to bring it to the level he has,” Halverson said. “He brings so much into rodeo but also the Western way of life.”
Halverson called Feild an icon, saying he hoped there was someone coming up the ranks that could take his place.
“He really was a big part of Ogden Pioneer Days for so many years,” he said. “I have talked to committee members. There’s a lot of heart-felt expressions of appreciation and also words of ’We’ll miss him and his influence.’ ”
Cooper-Larsen said Feild’s wife, Veronica, was always a supporter, too. “You could always could count on seeing her beautiful face and her beautiful smile when he was there. They just were a great couple. They exemplified what rodeo is about. It’s about the sport, but it’s about character. It’s about being kind to people, and they always were very kind to people they knew and people they didn’t know.”
She said there will always be a hole for her in rodeo knowing he is not there.
She said she knows what the hole will be like as she missed him this year at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas this past December.
“It’s the first year he hasn’t attended the NFR since I can’t remember when,” she said. “He just wasn’t feeling well enough to attend.”