The History of the Rodeo in Ogden

Early photo of Ogden Cowboy going after that 8-second ride.


Rodeos came to be in Utah, thanks to the pioneers. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints started celebrating their pioneer heritage in an annual tradition in 1911.

The Chautauqua Institution sparked the tradition. They were a traveling troupe of educators and entertainers from the Chautauqua Lake in New York. When they first arrived in Utah they stopped in Ogden during a “ten-day extravaganza,” as it was called at the time, locals gave a tribute to pioneers via song, patriotic speeches, and marches. Back then, the entire event was called the Chautauqua program. Eventually, the celebration of pioneer heritage became its own event after David O. McKay directed it in 1913. Then, it became known as the Pioneer Days program. However, the institution ran out of money during the Great Depression of the 1920s.

Livestock auction is taking place inside the old coliseum.

In 1935, Ogden saw its first rodeo in the Ogden Pioneer Stadium. But even before that, there were still “livestock shows,” where farmers and others passing through could auction their cattle, sheep, and hogs. At first, these shows were put on in stockyards, which were mostly used as feeding grounds for livestock traveling by train. By 1919, these shows became so popular that they were held annually. So, in 1926, the county built the Ogden Livestock Coliseum for $100,000. There, they hosted some rodeos. From the 1960s to the 1980s, the county expanded the fairgrounds and built more event centers, namely the Golden Spike Event Center, all with the thought in mind that more rodeos were on the horizon.

“While most rodeos were cancelled, the Intermountain Icebreaker Rodeo ‘kicked Corona.'”

The first Intermountain Icebreaker Rodeo, organized by Ben German, was almost ten years ago. Every year, it’s held at the Golden Spike Event Center, just four miles north of the Ogden Pioneer Stadium. The thought was a rodeo, specially organized for junior high and high school-aged children, would help the rodeo traditions live on. In the beginning, the participants were truly from the mountain west area. As time went on, however, the rodeo has captured international attention, and participants come from all over. There are even events in the rodeo for those with special needs. This past year, while most rodeos were cancelled, the Intermountain Icebreaker Rodeo “Kicked Corona,” and the show went on. That attracted even more rodeo participants who only had this rodeo to look forward to. Their latest rodeo was titled “Kicking Corona,” not to be confused with the brand-new “Kicking Corona Rod

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