Ogden's Pioneer Stadium – site of a major annual rodeo – getting $4.3M upgrade, new name

The photo shows the south seating area at Pioneer Stadium in Ogden on Monday, June 17, 2024, a big focus of $4.3 million in planned upgrades to the facility.

The photo shows the south seating area at Pioneer Stadium in Ogden on Monday, June 17, 2024, a big focus of $4.3 million in planned upgrades to the facility. (Tim Vandenack, KSL.com)


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OGDEN — Ogden's Pioneer Stadium is getting a $4.3 million upgrade, expected to be complete in time for the annual professional rodeo in July that's central in Ogden Pioneer Days activities.

"It's dramatic," said Rick Davis, part of the Ogden Pioneer Days Committee, alluding to the scope of change.

The south stadium seats will be upgraded as part of the changes and new box seats will be added, increasing the capacity of the facility from around 9,000 to 10,200, he said. Bucking chutes and pens will be replaced, the stadium will get a new sound system, a new entry will be added to the west side of the stadium complex, and a new headquarters building is taking shape.

Thanks to an $800,000 donation from the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation to assist with the improvements, the city-owned facility will also get a new name, becoming the Spencer Fox Eccles Pioneer Stadium. The foundation has donated millions of dollars to assist with Ogden Pioneer Days rodeo events dating to the 1980s, and the Ogden City Council approved the naming last week.

Ogden Pioneer Days events coincide each year with Pioneer Day, July 24, which marks the 1847 Salt Lake Valley arrival of pioneers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The key activity associated with the Ogden celebration is a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeo that draws top competitors from around the country and beyond and fills the stadium for the five days of its run.

The image shows a rendering of the planned new entry to Pioneer Stadium in Ogden, to be renamed Spencer Fox Eccles Pioneer Stadium.
The image shows a rendering of the planned new entry to Pioneer Stadium in Ogden, to be renamed Spencer Fox Eccles Pioneer Stadium. (Photo: City of Ogden)

"Just in the last few years, Ogden Pioneer Days rodeo has elevated itself to one of the premier rodeos in the nation," Davis told the City Council during the meeting when officials approved the name change. This year, the Ogden rodeo will be 15th of nearly 800 Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeos around the country in terms of total payout, he said, providing some $500,000 in prize money to competitors.

Putting on the rodeo is a major undertaking each year. In recent years, the event has sold out over its five-day run, drawing some 50,000 spectators, according to Davis, project manager for the upgrade initiative.

"I just have goosebumps right now thinking about all the work that people have put in. It's such hard work, but it's the kind of work that's so worthwhile, leads to such great things," Mayor Ben Nadolski said ahead of the Ogden City Council vote at last week's meeting.

July 19 is the first day of Ogden Pioneer Days rodeo events and the new facility, including the entry featuring its new name, is to be unveiled in the days ahead of that. Upgrading the facility has been a topic of debate for several years, with fundraising and the COVID-19 pandemic slowing things. The Utah Jazz donated seats formerly used in the Delta Center and they were installed in the north side of the stadium in 2018.

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Tim Vandenack covers immigration, multicultural issues and Northern Utah for KSL.com. He worked several years for the Standard-Examiner in Ogden and has lived and reported in Mexico, Chile and along the U.S.-Mexico border.

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