Sp. Fork rodeo named to ProRodeo Hall of Fame

Serve Daily - - FRONT PAGE - By Christi C. Bab­bitt

The Span­ish Fork Fi­esta Days Rodeo, a tra­di­tion in Span­ish Fork for nearly 75 years, has been selected for in­duc­tion into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame, Class of 2016. It is the first rodeo in Utah to re­ceive this honor.

The ProRodeo Hall of Fame is lo­cated in Colorado Springs, Colo. Since the hall’s open­ing in 1979, 23 rodeo com­mit­tees have been in­ducted. The Span­ish Fork rodeo and its or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee will be the 24th in­ductee in that cat­e­gory. The hall of fame also hon­ors in­di­vid­u­als in cat­e­gories such as an­nouncer, clown and stock con­trac­tor as well as con­tes­tant cat­e­gories such as steer rop­ing, bull rid­ing and sad­dle bronc.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Fi­esta Days Rodeo will travel to Colorado Springs to at­tend the in­duc­tion cer­e­mony on Aug. 6.

“They’ve made some pretty ma­jor im­prove­ments to their fa­cil­i­ties and to their rodeo and they con­tinue to sell out their per­for­mances and they’re just do­ing re­ally good things,” said Kent Stur­man, di­rec­tor of the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.

The Span­ish Fork Fi­esta Days Rodeo was started in 1942 by a group of res­i­dents that met to­gether and de­cided to or­ga­nize a rodeo to go along with Span­ish Fork’s an­nual city cel­e­bra­tion. They used their own money to fund the first rodeo and or­ga­nized the Di­a­mond Fork Rid­ing Club to sup­port it, said Steve Money, rodeo di­rec­tor and fair­grounds man­ager for Span­ish Fork City.

In the 1980s, the club joined forces with the city and the rodeo con­tin­ued to grow. In July of 2012, fol­low­ing a $3 mil­lion do­na­tion from an anony­mous donor, a new arena was opened at the Span­ish Fork Fair­grounds, giv­ing the Fi­esta Days Rodeo a world-class fa­cil­ity with seat­ing for 8,500. Sched­uled for July 21, 22, 23 and 25, the 2016 Fi­esta Days Rodeo will be the rodeo’s 74th year in op­er­a­tion.

Money said he was no­ti­fied of the honor on April 21. “The di­rec­tor of the ProRodeo Hall of Fame called me and con­grat­u­lated me,” he said. “Af­ter I picked my­self off the floor, I just said, ‘Thank you.’”

Credit for the award be­longs to many peo­ple in the community, Money said, from the rid­ing club and city ad­min­is­tra­tion to the rodeo spon­sors and fans. “I think ev­ery­body on the com­mit­tee, ev­ery­body in­volved in it, wants the rodeo to be num­ber one,” he said. The Di­a­mond Fork Rid­ing Club con­tin­ues to pro­vide all the vol­un­teer help for the rodeo from ticket tak­ing and ush­er­ing to park­ing cars and run­ning the queen con­test. Span­ish Fork City has pro­vided great sup­port for the event, in­clud­ing own­ing and main­tain­ing the fa­cil­ity and pay­ing for Money’s salary.

Spon­sors of the rodeo have made it pos­si­ble to bring in the best con­tes­tants, which leads to hav­ing a bet­ter show and also gets the cow­boys com­pet­ing on a na­tional level talking about how great it is to come to Span­ish Fork, Money said. Re­ceiv­ing the do­na­tion for the new arena also pro­vided a big boost for the event, al­low­ing con­struc­tion of what is now one of the finest rodeo venues in the United States.

The best thing about the rodeo, how­ever, is the fans. “Our rodeo, we have the best fans that there is,” Money said. The pop­u­lar­ity of the rodeo is ap­par­ent in the record of its ticket sales. “When you have 40 con­sec­u­tive sell-outs, that right there, there’s no­body in the PRCA that can say that they have that,” Money said. That means with four nights of ac­tion each year, the Fi­esta Days Rodeo has sold out ev­ery night for 10 years. All tick­ets are now sold on­line; there hasn’t been a ticket sold at the fair­grounds for five years, Money said. To pur­chase tick­ets for the 2016 Fi­esta Days Rodeo, go­towww. span­ish fork. org.

Photo by Greg West­fall

The Span­ish Fork Fi­esta Days Rodeo will be in­ducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame this Au­gust. It is the first rodeo in Utah to re­ceive this recog­ni­tion.

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