Published July 19, 2023 | By Lynn Blamires, feature writer for My Local Utah
Ogden Pioneer Days is an annual celebration commemorating the settlement of Ogden City, Utah. This annual event was established in 1934 as a celebration of Ogden’s early days—but, perhaps more importantly, to help secure the city’s uncertain future. The Great Depression had struck Ogden as hard as any other place in America. Amid the turmoil, Mayor Harman Peery devised a plan to capitalize on the rodeo interests of wealthy cattle ranchers, attract tourists and lift the burdened community’s spirit.
The spirit of the American West truly still lives on with the Ogden Pioneer Days celebrations. More than 80 years later, that spirit is alive and well in Ogden.
The “Trail to Pioneer Days” horse project is part of this celebration. It is one of the most significant public art projects of its kind in Utah. More than 60 life-size fiberglass horses designed and painted by the area’s finest artists are on display along Historic 25th Street, the Junction and Washington Boulevard. They lead the way to Ogden Pioneer Stadium where Ogden Pioneer Days originated and where the feeling of the American West still lives.
While this beautiful northern Utah city is nestled in the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains, it takes its name from Peter Skene Ogden, who trapped near modern-day Pineview Reservoir, “Junction City” was, in fact, settled by Miles Goodyear. The fur trader built the first known permanent house in Utah, at Fort Buenaventura. The fort became a hive of activity for early European immigrants.
Three grand events mark the final day of this commemorative celebration, July 24:
- The Horse & Hitch Parade
- The Grand Parade
- The Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo
The Horse & Hitch Parade
Ogden’s Horse & Hitch Parade is one of the finest in Utah. The unmistakable rattle of wooden wagon wheels, and the clippety-clop of horse hooves, will be heard throughout downtown Ogden. Every kind, color, breed, and size of horse imaginable will pass before your eyes.
The Grande Parade
Following right behind the Horse and Hitch Parade will be the Ogden Pioneer Days’ Grande Parade. The commemoration of Utah’s statehood starts with this parade which runs through the heart of Ogden City.
Thousands of spectators will line up along Washington Boulevard to cheer for marching bands, service organizations, student body representatives from area schools, floats, horse-drawn carriages, antique automobiles, and youth dance groups. There’s literally something for everybody.
The Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo
The Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo has been a nationally recognized, Top 5 PRCA rodeo. It was inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2017. As one of the top rodeos in Utah, Ogden Pioneer Days draws nearly 50,000 fans annually to its highly anticipated main event, which includes: bareback bronc riding, saddle bronc riding, barrel racing, breakaway roping, tie-down roping, team roping, steer wrestling and bull riding. Held at the historic Ogden Pioneer Stadium, 668 17th St, the rodeo draws thousands of fans back to where it all started in 1934 and where the feeling of the American West still lives.
Plan to be a part of these historic events on Monday, July 24 in Ogden. For more information see OgdenPioneerDays.com.