The Ogden Pioneer Days rodeo brings in 30,000 attendees each July and is ranked as one of the nation’s top five outdoor rodeos by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA).
The Pioneer Day’s rodeo is not only one of Utah’s biggest statehood celebrations but it has continued to be atop the best outdoor rodeos with the Pendleton Roundup and Cheyenne Frontier Days.
Each year, the rodeo brings thousands of tourists and the top cowboys and cowgirls from around the world to compete in the many different rodeo events.
Olin Hannum, who grew up in Ogden, finished eighth in steer wrestling at the Las Vegas Nationals and will be back competing in his hometown’s rodeo again this year.
“I love coming back to Ogden,” Hannum said. “Being on the rodeo circuit keeps me away from family and friends, but when I come back for the Pioneer Days, it allows me to enjoy company and to compete in such a big rodeo.”
Renae Cowley, a former Miss Rodeo Utah from Davis County, now competes in the rodeo as a barrel racer.
“Pioneer Days is an incredible thrill,” Cowley said. “The prestige of the rodeo and what it means to me personally is huge. It is a dream come true.”
Hannum and Cowley both attended the rodeo growing up attending it with family and friends and hoped to one day compete.
“The rodeo lets everyone who wants to come compete,” Hannum said.
Pioneer Days and the rodeo date back to 1934, when Mayor Harman Peery brought the western-style holiday celebration to Ogden to increase the community spirit and to bring tourists to the Ogden area.
“It’s such a huge holiday for Utahns,” Hannum said. “People around the city have excitement, and it makes the atmosphere in the stadium unlike any other PRCA rodeo around the world.”
Unlike any of the other rodeos on the PRCA tour, all of the hard workers working the rodeo are volunteers.
“This rodeo is so special because of all the hard work the volunteers do behind the chutes,” Cowley said. “They make this rodeo a top five each and every year and not to mention the beautiful backdrop of Ogden and its mountains.”
Because it is such a big rodeo, it attracts the top ranked cowboys from all over and it pays out to the top-placing contestants well.
“This is the pinnacle rodeo of my summer,” Cowley said. “Not only is the prize money big, but it also is my hometown rodeo, and I couldn’t be more proud and excited to be apart of it.”
Team roping, steer wrestling, bareback, saddleback, barrel racing and the fan-favorite bull riding will be competed each night at the rodeo.
Each night the rodeo will have a certain theme, including patriot night and tough in pink and ending with the Utah’s Statehood Celebration Rodeo, which will be followed by a firework display over the Ogden Pioneer Stadium.
Spectators who come early for the pre-rodeo, starting at 6:30 p.m., can watch muttin bustin and teams of three trying to milk a wild cow.
The rodeo begins July 19 and continues until July 24 at the Ogden Pioneer Stadium The rodeo begins at 7:30 p.m.