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Salt Lake City: New roots for the 150-year-old rodeo

Salt Lake City: New roots for the 150-year-old rodeo

(Courtesy of Days of '47 Cowboy Games and Rodeo)

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One of the West’s great traditions, the Komatsu Equipment Days of ’47 Cowboy Games & Rodeo presented by Zions Bank, has a new home in Salt Lake City − The Days of ’47 Arena at State Fairpark. It’s a $17.5 million outdoor arena custom created for the rodeo experience, where Utah rodeo reigns and the fan experience is second to none.

New arena

Scheduled to open July 2017, the Days of ’47 Arena will be the permanent home of the 150-year-old rodeo. Previously, the Days of ’47 Rodeo has been held at five different venues, with the most recent at Vivint Smart Home Arena. When Vivint Arena announced plans to undergo a complete remodel in summer 2017, it prompted the rodeo to begin the search for a new home.

At the same time, the Utah Legislature was struggling with deteriorating fairgrounds, which led the Days of ’47 executive committee chairman, Kem Gardner, to suggest the creation of a large, multipurpose arena on the state fairgrounds that could be used by the rodeo in July and by the Utah State Fair throughout the rest of the year. When the idea was brought before the Utah Legislature in a special session, it passed unanimously, thanks to considerable collaboration and multiple funding sources, including the state of Utah ($10M), Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County ($3M) and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ($3M) and private donors.

“Historically, the rodeo has played a huge part in Utah’s Days of ’47 celebration, which commemorates the entry of the pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847. Now, Utah will be able to continue its rich rodeo tradition in its permanent home, while revitalizing the Utah State Fairpark grounds as well. It’s truly a win-win,” said Gardner.

Changes to the Fairpark

The additional space at Utah State Fairpark means that this year, the Young Living Frontier Fun Zone will be bigger and better than ever. Fans will be able to wind through acres of activities. Standouts include the Country Music Stage, where every hour, new artists will be performing. There will be shopping, featuring trade and sales exhibitors offering the best in Western-lifestyle goods for a cowboy’s Christmas in July. The Young Guns Arena is sure to be a fan favorite, as tomorrow’s world champion cowboys and cowgirls compete daily in the Lil Buckers mini rough stock rodeo. Kids from 6 to 12 will ride miniature horses and bulls, just like the pros. And for the inspired kids who want to get in on the action, there will be mutton busting, giving them a chance to compete for a spot in the semifinals, which will take place under the bright lights in the new Days of ’47 Arena.

Other experiential activities include the Native American Village, a Pioneer Camp, Buffalo Soliders, and the Mountain Men Trading Camp, where fans will be able to get an authentic view of life in the Old West. There’s also the Tiny Tots Petting Zoo, where the entire family can spend quality time with their favorite animals. After they’ve pet the animals, the Days of ’47 Rocky Mountain Livestock Show will give them the chance to see prized goats, sheep and beef cattle on display. And don’t forget about the free mechanical bulls, draft horse hitch display, and the amazing array of Komatsu Equipment.

And within the arena...

Inside the arena, fans will be able to choose from one of 10,000 reserved, premium seats, all with clear views of the action. Enhancing the experience will be a state-of-the-art sound system and two HD jumbo video screens, showing the best of the world-class rodeo action. With slow-motion replays and behind-the-scenes video, the fans will never miss a moment. Animal athletes will also benefit from the industry’s best chutes, holding pens and livestock equipment, creating the best possible experience for the animals.

With a $1 million purse on the line, rodeo athletes know the important role the arena soil plays in their sport. Thanks to a grant from the WPRA, a full analysis of the native soils was made so the soil and sand mixture could provide the optimum footing for each equine event. Whether they need to buck, cut or slide, the animals and athletes will find that the surface at the Days of ’47 Arena is one of the best in the country, giving them the competitive edge.

Join in on the celebration!

The arena will be dedicated Wednesday, July 19, at 7 p.m. and will feature a performance from the world-renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir. In attendance will be VIPs and dignitaries from around the state. The arena’s opening, along with the introduction of the new Gold Medal Cowboy Games format this year, make for a world-class rodeo experience you’re not going to want to miss.

Tickets start at just $14. Plan your visit for this historic occasion today by visiting


Related topics

Days of '47 Cowboy Games and Rodeo


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