Rodeo Reading Challenge

Spanish Fork youth invited to saddle up and take part in a rodeo of a different kind

Spanish Fork elementary school students are invited to participate in the 2021 Fiesta Days Rodeo Reading Challenge taking place during the month of March. The challenge, which has occurred annually since 2014, is something the kids and teachers look forward to each year.

Seth Perrins, City Manager and Fiesta Days Rodeo Committee member, explained that the Fiesta Days Rodeo Reading Challenge isn’t meant to take the place of the local schools’ reading programs. Instead, the program is meant to enhance those programs.

Last year, Spanish Fork elementary school kids smashed their reading record. Perrins explained, “halfway through the month of March, kids went into homeschool. So we were concerned that they would just stop reading.” 

Trey and Landon Hanks round up books at the Spanish Fork Library in preparation for the Fiesta Days Reading Rodeo. Photos by Pete Hansen

On the contrary, the kids stepped up their reading in a big way. They surprised everyone and catapulted past expectations by reading approximately 2.8 million minutes in a single month. To put that into perspective, Perrins explained that’s just under 2,000 days’ worth of reading, and approximately five years and four-and-a-half months’ worth of minutes. 

In the past, the reading challenge was always kicked off with an assembly. This year, things are a little different due to the pandemic. Instead of an assembly, the kids will see a 10- to 15-minute video that’s fun and entertaining. Teachers will also send an informative flier home with each student so they know what the challenge entails. All Spanish Fork elementary school children (kindergarten through 6th grade) are invited and encouraged to participate. 

At the end of the challenge, after students have turned in all their reading minutes to their teachers, each school will do a drawing to select one winner from every grade. The winning students will receive two free tickets each to the Fiesta Days Rodeo. 

Two grand prize winners will also be chosen. Those winners will receive two free rodeo tickets each, as well as a pair of Wrangler jeans, a pair of Justin cowboy boots, and a Resistol cowboy hat. The prize apparel is donated by Wrangler Jeans, Justin Boots and Resistol specifically for the Fiesta Days Rodeo Reading Challenge grand prize winners. 

This year is the first year the Spanish Fork Library is actively participating in the Fiesta Days Rodeo Reading Challenge. Elementary school students are invited to come to the library to receive a limited-edition collector’s library card created specifically for the reading challenge. Since some students come to Spanish Fork elementary schools from other cities (including Salem, Springville, Mapleton, Lake Shore and Benjamin), the library will waive the non-resident fee for those students during March. Students are encouraged to talk to their teachers if they have any questions. (Peterson is a Serve Daily contributor.)

Shellie Peterson
Shellie Peterson
Shellie Peterson is a mom, wife and freelance writer. She currently lives in Santaquin with her husband and daughter. In her spare time, she loves to sing, read, write and spend as much time as possible camping.

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