Some may complain there’s a lot of bull at the Utah State Capitol — but steers are another matter.
Eight American-bred longhorns from Colorado alternately grazed on and fertilized the Capitol’s lawn Tuesday, taking part in a 200-foot cattle drive to promote the Days of ’47 Cowboy Games & Rodeo, which starts Friday at the Utah State Fairpark.
“Beverly Hills may have Rodeo Drive, but we have the real rodeo,” a Wrangler-clad Gov. Gary Herbert said at Tuesday’s event. Herbert then issued a declaration honoring the rodeo, which traces its roots back to Brigham Young — the early Latter-day Saint leader and the territory’s first governor — who ordered up a parade and rodeo in 1849 to celebrate the pioneers’ arrival in the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847.
The rodeo starts at 8 p.m., starting Friday and running through Wednesday, Pioneer Day — with a break on Sunday. Tickets, from $14 to $59 per night, are available at Smith’s Tix.
The rodeo is offering contestants more than $1 million in prizes, said Dan Shaw, CEO of the Days of ’47 Rodeo. The event features competitions in eight events, and is invitation only, “so only the best in the world will be coming,” Shaw said.
Tommy Joe Lucia, the rodeo’s general manager, said the longhorns come from the Sombrero Ranches in Colorado, and range in age from 4 to 15. They weigh between 800 and 1,500 pounds each, and their horns measure up to eight feet from tip to tip.
Six men on horseback wrangled the longhorns on the brief cattle drive, from one corral to another on the Capitol lawn, delighting a small audience of government staffers and surprised tourists.
The steers moved slowly at first, with one grazing on the grass for a bit until another steer prodded the first one along. Once the steers were out of the first corral, a horseman at the back of the herd slapped a leather strap against his saddle, creating a tapping noise that signaled the moseying cattle to move along.
The longhorns will be featured attractions at the rodeo’s “Frontier Fun Zone,” a free event outside the Days of ’47 Arena at the Fairpark. Other free exhibits are a mountain men training camp, a pioneer camp, a Native American village, a petting zoo and a country music stage. A “Young Guns Rodeo” will feature riders from 6 to 17, and younger kids will take part in mutton-busting competitions.
Herbert called the rodeo, and the other events leading up to the Pioneer Day holiday, “one of the funnest weeks we have here in Utah.”
The week, marking the arrival of Mormon settlers in the Salt Lake Valley, also “represents a significant event in American history,” he said.
The holiday, Herbert said, is a celebration of “people wanting to come here, to this area, to get an opportunity to be free, which is really the foundation of our country. The human soul yearns for freedom, and in this particular case the freedom to worship without persecution.”
Here are other events this beginning weekend; find additional events at https://www.daysof47.com.
Friday and Saturday • Pioneer Day Concert, with the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square, featuring Norwegian-born singer Sissel. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Conference Center, 60 W. North Temple, Salt Lake City. Shows start at 8 p.m. Tickets have been distributed for both shows; stand-by lines will form at 6:30 p.m.
Friday, Saturday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday • Days of ’47 Cowboy Games & Rodeo. Utah State Fairpark, 1000 W. North Temple, Salt Lake City. Events start at 8 p.m. each night. Tickets, from $14 to $59 per night, at Smith’s Tix.
Friday, Saturday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday • Ogden PRCA Rodeo. Ogden Pioneer Stadium, 668 17th Street, Ogden. Starts at 7:30 p.m. each night. Tickets, from $15 to $30 per night, at Smith’s Tix.
Friday, Saturday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday • Fiesta Days Rodeo, with PRCA Xtreme Bull Riding on Saturday. Spanish Fork Fairgrounds Arena, 475 S. Main, Spanish Fork. Starts 8 p.m. each night. Tickets, starting at $7, at www.sfcitytix.org.
Friday and Saturday • Bountiful Handcart Days. Bountiful City Park, 400 North and 200 West, Bountiful. Games, food, entertainment and activities, Friday, noon to 9:30 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Parade runs Friday, Main Street from 1500 South to 400 North, then west to 100 West, starting at 6 p.m. Music by Ryan Shupe and the RubberBand at Mueller Park Junior High School, 955 E. 1800 South, Bountiful, at 8 p.m., followed by fireworks at dusk. Free.
Friday and Saturday • Wellington Pioneer Days. Wellington, Carbon County, Utah. Live music by Countdown on Friday at 6:30 p.m.; parade and activities, all day Saturday. Go to wellingtonutah.us for details
Saturday • First Encampment Hike. Starts at Donner Park, 2770 E. 990 South, Salt Lake City (east of Hogle Zoo), and ends 5 miles later at First Encampment Park (1700 S. 500 East. Starts at 7 a.m. No entry fee for hike; $3 a plate for the pancake breakfast at the finish line.
Saturday • Pioneer Children’s Memorial Dedication, marking a new exhibit. This Is the Place Heritage Park, 2601 E. Sunnyside Ave., Salt Lake City. Starts at 10:30 a.m. Admission is $7 for adults; $6 for seniors (65 and over); $5 for children (3 to 11); free for children 2 and under.
Saturday • Handcart Days Half Marathon, Frontier 5K and Pioneer Pete 1K races. Route runs through Farmington, Centerville and Bountiful. Start times are 5:30 a.m. (half-marathon), 7 a.m. (5K) and 7:45 a.m. (1K). Registration fees are $60, $40 and $20, respectively. Go to www.southdavisraces.com for details.
Monday and Tuesday • Float Preview Party. Mountain America Expo Center, 9575 S. State St., Sandy. Runs from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. both days; photo opportunities with Days of ’47 royalty from 2 to 5 p.m. Free.
Monday • Lawn Games and Lemonade: Pie & Beer Edition. Alta Peruvian Lodge, 10000 E. Little Cotonwood Canyon, Alta. Starts at 6 p.m. Music by Christian Mills. Concert and pie are free.
Wednesday • Deseret News Marathon. Marathon starts at the top of Big Mountain, above Emigration Canyon; half-marathon starts at the top of Little Mountain; 10K starts at Research Park, 500 Wakara Way, University of Utah campus, Salt Lake City; 5K starts at Wasatch Elementary School, 1150 E. South Temple, Salt Lake City. Start times are 5:50 a.m. (marathon and half-marathon), 6 a.m. (10K) and 7 a.m. (5K). Registration fees are $85 (marathon), $75 (half-marathon), $45 (10K), and $35 for adults, $12 for youth 14 and under (5K).
Wednesday • Sunrise Service, with music performed by the Salt Lake Valley Combined Institute Choir and organist Linda Margetts. The Assembly Hall on Temple Square, 50 W. North Temple, Salt Lake City. Service begins at 7 a.m.; guests must be seated by 6:50 a.m. Free, no ticket required.
Wednesday • Pioneer Day Celebration. Willow Park, 450 W. 700 South, Logan. Activities include a fun run at 7 a.m., parade at noon, live music in the evening, and fireworks at 10 p.m. Free.
Wednesday • Days of ’47 Parade. Runs through downtown Salt Lake City, starting at South Temple and State Street, moving east to 200 East, then south to 900 South, then east to 600 East, ending at Liberty Park. Parade starts at 9 a.m. Free to sit along the parade route; be mindful of private property; many people camp out overnight for good spots.
Wednesday • Ogden Pioneer Days Grand Parade, along Washington Boulevard from 31st Street to 20th Street. Starts at 9 a.m. Free.
Wednesday • Fiesta Days Grand Parade. Center Street and Main Street, Spanish Fork. Parade starts at 9 a.m. Free. Followed by a craft fair, carnival and entertainment, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., City Park, 49 S. Main St.; concert with country musician Charley Jenkins, at Sports Park, 295 Volunteer Drive, at 8 p.m., followed by fireworks at 10:30 p.m.
Wednesday • Pioneer Day at Antelope Island State Park, west of Ogden. Activities start at 10 a.m. Free.
Wednesday • NACIP Powwow and Festival. Liberty Park, 600 East and 900 South, Salt Lake City. Starts at noon, runs into the night, with fireworks at 10 p.m. Admission is $5, or free for people under 3 and over 65.
Wednesday • Pie and Beer Day. Beer Bar, 161 E. 200 South, Salt Lake City. Activities from 2 to 6 p.m. Presented by KUAA-FM and the Utah Arts Alliance. Admission is $25; must be 21 or older.
Wednesday • Layton Pioneer Day. Layton Commons Park, 437 N. Wasatch Dr., Layton. Food from 4 to 7 p.m.; concert by Riders in the Sky (at Ed Kenley Centennial Amphitheater, 403 N. Wasatch Dr., Layton), Electric Light Parade at 10 p.m., with party to follow. Free.