So, I went to my very first rodeo tonight. Yeah, I know, I can’t believe I’ve never been to a rodeo before either! It was so much fun though. So, here’s the deal- Pioneer Days. It’s like a BIG thing here in Utah…. Seriously… A BIG thing. It’s actually a state holiday. A lot of businesses close for Pioneer Day so everyone can celebrate.
So what is Pioneer Day? Let me tell you. I’ll give you a brief back story. Pioneer Day is technically July 24th but is celebrated the entire week preceding that day. So Pioneer Day commemorates the Mormon pioneers passage into the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. It’s kind of funny because the “non-mormon” individuals will sometimes celebrate Pie-and-Beer Day! (hahahahahahaha). Check out this website though for some more history on Pioneer Day if you’d like: http://onlinelibrary.utah.gov/research/utah_symbols/holiday.html
So, this rodeo we went to was part of Pioneer Days. There are like 5 days of rodeos in Ogden and Salt Lake City. Ogden is apparently one of the top 5 rated rodeos in the country. [They don’t tell you where you are in the top 5- they tell you who is number 1, and then the other 4]. So Kyle and I decide that after work we were going to check out this rodeo and see what it’s all about. We weren’t sure we were going to actually attend the rodeo, but wanted to see what was going on around there. So we are walking up to the gate and Kyle looks at me and goes “we need to find some people to slack jaw with” (his term…). I just laughed. Let me tell you a little bit about Kyle- he’s VERY personable and makes friends wherever he goes. So as we’re walking in he turns to the couple next to us and goes “Hey, can you tell us a little bit about what is going on here tonight.” I’m sitting there thinking, “c’mon Kyle… It’s a RODEO!” And of course, rolling my eyes. The guy, dressed in full rodeo attire- hat, boots and belt buckle, starts telling us it’s the rodeo for Pioneer Days. Kyle proceeds to tell him that we are from out of town which is when the guy reaches into his back pocket and informs us that he’s on the board for the rodeo and wanted to give us free tickets to get in. Thank You Kyle for your slack jaw skills! He asked us what we were in town for and turns out he works at a hospital himself- which is when he reached back into his back pocket and pulled out two VIP Lodge tickets. These are tickets that get us into a lodge that serves free food and beverages….. yeah… FREE food and beverages (non-alcoholic, of course)! But still… I’ll take free food any day of the week!
So we walked around a little bit, entered a raffle that we didn’t win (boo) and then got cozy in our seats (I mean, as cozy as you can get in bleachers) and waited patiently for the cowboys to arrive. We were surprised with an entrance from the sky… three skydivers carrying different flags entered the arena to start the rodeo… it was pretty cool! This rodeo had a little of everything… bareback riding, steer wresting, a clown act (yeah, that’s a real thing… a rodeo clown), team roping, saddle bronc riding, tie down roping, barrel racing and finished the night off with bull riding. Honestly, it was so exciting to watch. It was a long night and it was SOOOOOO freaking hot!! Like, I think I lost about 12 pounds in sweat sitting in the bleachers waiting for the rodeo to start… holy crap. Once the sun finally set it was a nice night but that doesn’t happen until 9:30 at night. Oh, and the rodeo finished the night off with some motocross bikers doing some jumps and flips and what not which was pretty cool to see. I need to find some more rodeos to go to…. and a cowboy too!
Also- I came home and just HAD to watch The Longest Ride (A Nicholas Sparks movie… super lovey dovey but totally my kind of movie [the book is better] but it’s about a bull rider… so obviously I had to watch it again after going to the real rodeo!) It was a great first rodeo experience!