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Spanish Fork Rodeo named to ProRodeo Hall of Fame

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Chris Bairdhttp://www.servedaily.com
Chris is a family man with a beautiful wife and four kids. Three Girls, One Boy. He enjoys playing basketball, being outdoors, and the old normal.

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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.

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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.

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

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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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.’”

rThe 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. - Photo by Greg WestfallGreg Westfallr

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.

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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.

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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.

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To purchase tickets for the 2016 Fiesta Days Rodeo, go to www.spanishfork.org.

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5/7/16 Update: Written by Christi Babbitt.

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Chris Bairdhttp://www.servedaily.com
Chris is a family man with a beautiful wife and four kids. Three Girls, One Boy. He enjoys playing basketball, being outdoors, and the old normal.

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