Sunbowl, Roundup go pink; 80th annual rodeo; STGnews Photo Gallery

ST. GEORGE – On a clear Friday evening in the historic Dixie Sunbowl a storied St. George tradition provided moments both solemn and celebratory as a crowd of thousands, clad mostly in pink, cheered on the cowboys, cowgirls, clowns and daredevils of the 80th annual Dixie Roundup Rodeo.

Dixie Roundup Rodeo Queen Kaity Bishop rides into the Sunbowl, St. George, Utah, Sept. 12, 2014 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News
Dixie Roundup Rodeo Queen Kaity Bishop rides into the Sunbowl, St. George, Utah, Sept. 12, 2014 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

It was a night dedicated to raising awareness and funds for breast cancer – the Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign – and men, women and children were invited to wear pink in support. The normally Lion’s Club purple rail around the wall of the Sunbowl was painted pink in honor of the occasion and a releasing of pink balloons paid tribute to the brave survivors and fighters of the deadly disease.

It is a tradition the St. George Lions Club got involved in five years ago and to this day they have averaged a donation of $10,000 per year – money that goes directly into the community hospital.

Read more: St. George Lions: Living legacies of service

Traditions abounded at the Dixie Roundup Rodeo, traditions that have left an 80-year legacy on the city of St. George as profits from the event are used to fund various charitable donations throughout the community.

Radio announcer Carl LaMar has been involved with the rodeo through the radio station KONY Country’s sponsorship and support for 28 years. Throughout that time he has interviewed bullfighters, rodeo announcers, rodeo clowns and queens, he said, and he hopes to be able to continue his relationship with the rodeo for years to come.

“We’ve got a queen this year who, her mother was a queen, and I interviewed her,” Lamar said, “I hope I am around to interview her (the current queen’s) daughter.”

Read more: Dixie Roundup mother-daughter duo win Queen title; from then to now
Saddle bronc riding in action at the Dixie Roundup Rodeo, St. George, Utah, Sept. 12, 2014 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News
Saddle bronc riding in action at the Dixie Roundup Rodeo, St. George, Utah, Sept. 12, 2014 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

Another proud tradition of the historic rodeo is the stirring love of country and patriotic pride on display throughout the Sunbowl and during the opening ceremony as giant American flags graced both the bowl grounds and hung from the sky; local first responders and the Utah National Guard’s 222nd field artillery  – complete with howitzer tank  – entered the arena; and the crowd joined in a chorus of our nation’s anthem.

After all the pomp and circumstance, the cowboys and cowgirls took center stage thrilling the crowd with their athletic prowess as they bucked, roped and raced their way to either dust or glory.

One of the highlights was the pint-sized Adilynn Coughlin who held her own in the barrel racing competition against competitors much older than her.

In between competitions attendees were entertained by rodeo clown and barrelman, Randee Munns, who has been a staple at the Dixie Roundup for over thirty years, Lamar said.

Perhaps one of the most unique aspects of the Dixie Roundup are the grounds themselves. The Dixie Sunbowl was built 67 years ago and sits in the middle of St. George, a rare thing for rodeo grounds.

“This rodeo is right in the middle of town at the historic Sunbowl,” rodeo announcer Reed Flake said, “you don’t go places where they have a facility like this and this is awesome.”

Flake has been announcing rodeos since 1992 and travels all over the west with his family. This is his fifth year in St. George.

“St. George is a great community,” Flake said, “and this is a great Roundup.”

The St. George Lions Club hopes to make some renovations to the locally famous arena to make it more of a multi-use facility that can be better utilized by the city, Lions Club member Wayne Hoppal said.

Pint-sized rodeo royalty ride through the Sunbowl at the Dixie Roundup Rodeo, St. George, Utah, Sept. 12, 2014 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News
Pint-sized rodeo royalty ride through the Sunbowl at the Dixie Roundup Rodeo, St. George, Utah, Sept. 12, 2014 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

The night wasn’t only about traditions though as more modern, extreme sports bookended the event with a skydiver parachuting into the arena and a heart pounding display of motocross action including tail whips, supermans and backflips awed the audience.

The Roundup action continues Saturday with the annual parade beginning at 5 p.m. on Tabernacle Street and the final night of competition in the Sunbowl; gates open at 6 p.m. and opening action including the famous horse serpentine begins at 7:30 p.m.

“What a great rodeo, what a great tradition,” Lamar said, “80 years and going strong.”

  Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

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  • M and M cookies September 13, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    Love a rodeo, but they can hold it in Washington fairgrounds and sell this property for money much needed.for the city.. This is the only event held here… And more people could see it in hurricane Utah… Everyone in town thinks of historical sites to save and we have to think of our future and what is really needd.

    • annie September 13, 2014 at 7:44 pm

      I have only lived here for about 10 years and have gone to the rodeo every year. You have no idea how awesome it is to be able to have this in downtown St George. I am thrilled every year to go to the rodeo at this unique venue. What a stupid idea to move it to the fairgrounds. I would never attend it again it wouldn’t be the same!

    • Kat September 14, 2014 at 5:42 pm

      It is not the only event held there…there are lots, including the Independence Day celebration, which would not be the same if it were moved for all of us who have made it a family tradition.

    • St.George September 14, 2014 at 8:50 pm

      M and M wasn’t your ancestors who donated time and money, sweat and labor to give the Sun Bowl to the residents (Past, Present and Future) of St. George, so don’t mention anything about selling and getting money.

  • Rhonda September 13, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    Great photos, Hollie. Loved the story.

  • Throckmorton Peachabellimanskischwartz September 14, 2014 at 7:32 am

    if the city of st. George is in such bad shape that they need to sell the rodeo grounds, they will probably decide that the homes nearby need to be stolen via eminent domain in order to build another vital carousel project. And a library that floods.

  • Proudpatriot September 14, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    Go pink and move to hurricane . They must have got the idea from the movie . Broke back mountain. (A movie that I’ve never seen) I walked out when the guy next to me made a pass. Made my blood run cold.
    Liberals just took another tiny piece of the old Utah culture. Makes me sad I don’t think I will go to another rodeo.
    Open your eyes utah folks , it’s real.
    I take that back, I went to a rodeo in Costa Rica , the cowboys dressed like they just got off the range , no pink no glitter . I will go again .

    • Nellie Iverson September 14, 2014 at 8:25 pm

      Really I have been fighting breast cancer for years and I am from Dixie, you stand to be corrected. I was so proud of the Rodeo Committee to do this for us in our hometown, PRCA does it everywhere at rodeos across the US, where have you been? I take great offense to this that you typed, because it hits a soft spot in my life. I was once Rodeo royality at the roundup there in St George and my father was a lion till he died. I now trick ride with my daughters professionally so I do know the rodeo circuit and ways and are sooo wrong… I lost my best friend from cancer almost two years ago in St George, we grew up together… the pain of cancer runs deep in southern Utah and my father died of lung cancer( not from smoking) fallout… Liberals ???? lets try cowboys with a Big heart for those of us that are fighting the battle of our lives… grow up and get a life [email protected]

  • Proudpatriot September 14, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    I’m a donor for breast cancer , I think we need to see more pink , but does it have to be at the rodeo.

    • Kat September 14, 2014 at 5:49 pm

      Wow…proudpatriot…you are obviously not a real rodeo person or you would have some idea of what you are talking about. Pink night isn’t about liberalism or ‘pride’ it is a way to support breast cancer with highly needed funds, my friend being one such receipint. Pink night is one of my favorite nights and I don’t even like the color pink!!! I’m glad not everyone is as clueless as you.

  • Rodeo Contractors Wife September 14, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    Proudpatriot..Do you have any idea how much money is giving to the breast cancer foundation from so many rodeo’s that have a tough enough to wear pink night?? I am pretty sure that those survivors are very thankful for all that is given. Never have I seen anything so ridiculous spoken (or written in this case) I hope you never have anyone close to you that needs the support of the breast cancer foundation!! Because Karma can be a you know what!!!!!

  • tyler September 14, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    Proud patriot you are a full fledged unadulterated idiot. That has no clue what you are talking about. Its dip … like you that make inconspicuous comments and hide behind a name like proud patriot!!! The only thing that you should be proud of is that you didn’t use your real name on this. And do us all a favor and leave your trite comments to yourself “proud cowboy” Tyler Truman
    Ed. ellipsis.

  • Liberal in Disguise. September 18, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Proudpatriot is likely a liberal hack trying to make rodeo attendees look bad. It’s a common practice with hactivists. He is just trying to drum up controversy where it doesn’t exist. He may have attended the rodeo, but only to pass out flyers on animal rights and the benefits of a vegan lifestyle.

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