“When cowboys ride ‘hell for leather’ and the buckin’ broncos buck to the stars.”

Clown Elmer Holcomb playing with fire.  Picture from Wikipedia/Elmer Holcomb

The 14th Famous Preston Night Rodeo

  “At first there was just one chute and later they added more.  I think they built the first corrals and the first chute for the first night rodeo.  They made one or two sets of bleachers that they had for baseball.  They’d pull them in and out with the city patrol.  I’ve helped many a time.  They had to have them in a different place for baseball.  For the rodeo they were on the north side and we’d fill in between the bleachers with snow fence.  The catch pen was down in the west end.  But the arena was made out of snow fence.

Drawing by Newt Hart of the old grandstand.  It shows kids on the roof, meat hanging from the fence, and the Indian encampment.  From Cache Valley Newsletter No. 82, p. 3.

     “They would usually come down a day or two before the roundup in their little wagons, buggies, pinto ponies and camp in the north side of the park by the old board fence.  It was on the northwest side, where the racetrack made a turn.  There was a left corner there.

     “Part of the deal was they would get paid with a beef.    They’d butcher the beef, and when they did the squaws would jump onto it like a bunch of ducks onto a June bug.  They’d utilize every part of it, didn’t waste a thing.  They’d make jerky out of it and hang it all along the board fence.

Chuck Hensen, Rodeo Hall of Fame

John Lindsey (1906-1974), Rodeo Hall of Fame

Junior Meek (1936-2006), Rodeo Hall of Fame

George Mills (1912-1964), Rodeo Hall of Fame

Dixie Lee Reger-Mosley, Rodeo Hall of Fame

Wick Peth, PRCA Hall of Fame

*Slim Pickens (1919-1983), Rodeo Hall of Fame, PRCA Hall of Fame

Wilbur Plaugher, PRCA Hall of Fame

Flint Rasmussen, PRCA Clown of the Year

Jimmy Schumacher (1920-2010), Rodeo Hall of Fame

Charley Shultz (1891-1985), Rodeo Hall of Fame

Rob Smets, PRCA Hall of Fame

Jon Taylor, PRCA Hall of Fame

Steve Tomac, North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame

Andy Womack, PRCA Hall of Fame

Rick Young, Rodeo Hall of Fame

[90] The Preston Citizen, July 26, 1956, p. 1

Leith Corbridge, “a true polo nut”, Preston, and Wendell Fuhriman, Franklin (right) in their polo car.  They traveled to matches at the Preston Round-Up, Franklin Idaho Days, and Soda Springs.  There were roller bars “afore and aft” as a safety feature.  Picture courtesy of Wendell Fuhriman for the Lucille Croft story.  

Rodeo Arena 1946-47

Dates:  August 21-22[50]

Time:  8:30

Ticket Prices:  $0.50 and $0.25

Profit:  Not reported

Attendance:  “ The grounds are all in shape for the rodeo.  Flood lights making this place as light as day in the arena—and because of the show being at night more visitors are expected to pack into Preston than ever before.  A new bleacher has also been constructed, which will allow about a thousand more to obtain seats than have been able to before.[51]

Cowboys Participating:

Queen:  Dorothy Maughan.  “Besides being good looking, Dorothy is a girl who can ride and how![52]

Parade:  Held at noon

“I don’t know how any show could have worked out any better.”  William Shumway, C of C

Carol Henry and her horse Sweetheart, specialty act at the 1940 rodeo.  Photo courtesy of the Franklin County Citizen, August 14, 1940, p. 1.

     And the clown becomes the No. 1 target just the moment the bull is free of the man on his back.  It’s no wonder a top rodeo clown knows the most important part oof his audience and is made up of the participating cowboys.  To pass muster, the clown must be a great foil in a serious act—while being funny!”[90]

Famous rodeo clowns and bullfighters, many of whom performed in Preston (*):

Jimmy Anderson, Texas Rodeo Hall of Fame

*Earl W. Bascom (1906-1995), Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, Rodeo Hall of Fame, 

California Rodeo Hall of Fame, Canadian Rodeo Hall of Fame, Lethbridge, Sports

Hall of Fame, Raymond Sports Hall of Fame, Utah Rodeo Hall of Fame, Utah Sports

Hall of Fame

 Victor Vallege, College Alumni Hall of Fame, Marion County Cattlemen's Hall of Fame

Joe Baumgartner, PRCA Hall of Fame

*Ken Boen, Rodeo Hall of Fame

*Bobby Clark, Rodeo Hall of Fame

*Gene Clark, Rodeo Hall of Fame

Felix Cooper, Rodeo Hall of Fame

George Doak, Rodeo Hall of Fame

Quail Dobbs, PRCA Hall of Fame

Rex Dunn, Rodeo Hall of Fame

​Jasbo Faulkerson (1904-1949), Rodeo Hall of Fame

Dudle J. Gaudin, Rodeo Hall of Fame

Lecile Harris, PRCA Hall of Fame

Hoyt Heffner (1911-1977), Rodeo Hall of Fame

*Homer Holcomb (1896-1971), Rodeo Hall of Fame

The Fifth Preston Roundup and Fair

Old timer Will Robinson, age 90 at the time of this interview, recalled: “After the turn of the century, [the rodeo grounds area] was all a big racetrack.  It was all for horse racing.  Every year for at least two weeks, we’d have horse racing every day.  People would come from all over the country to enter their horses or just watch the races.”[2]

[2]  Interview with Will Robinson, age 90, as printed in the Cache Valley Newsletter No. 82, Newell Hart, editor; August 1975, p. 1.  

Danny Ramberg, Roman ride specialty act.

Rodeo cartoon featured in the Preston Citizen, August 16, 1939, edition, p. 1.  Used by permission.

     A new system of flood lights added, and the arena was relocated to the west side of the park so that they were entirely out of the way of the ball grounds.   The orientation was north to south with the chutes and corrals on the north. There were feeding corrals and divisions for each group of animals.  Wild bucking horses, steers, bulls, etc. were to have their own corrals “which expedited the conduct of the show immensely.”  Orval Homes from Norris, Montana did the improvements along with the additional wooden bleachers.  Eight box seats with 10 chairs each were added over the chutes, and twenty-four box seats with six chairs each were added the east and west sides.    Said Doc Sorenson, producer: “The Preston layout appears the most compact and easy operating that I have seen anywhere.”[35]

    “This is one of the best little arenas in the west,” opined Stan Hawkes.  “It’s just the right size.  It’s compact all around.  I’ve heard all the producers say this.  They say, “When we turn a critter out of the chutes here, they don’t see a lot of blue sky and open spaces.  They just go to work and buck.”  Ogden isn’t near as good.  The big arenas they see a lot of open spaces—they run for a hundred yards before they start to buck.  They can see that wide open space out there and the way they go.  All the producers will tell you this.  Doc Sorensen was the first one to bring this to my attention.”[36]
[35] The Preston Citizen, June 27, 1946, p. 1                       [36] Interview with Stan Hawkes, quoted in The Cache Valley Citizen No. 82, by Newell Hart, August 1975 p.11

 Left to right:  Margaret Hobbs, attendant; Christie Bastian, Queen, Alice Bosworth, attendant.  Picture courtesy of Preston Citizen, August 1, 1946, p. 1

       Committee: “Smooth coordination by this committee brought along step by step, plan by plan, the 1955 famous Preston Night Rodeo which opens tonight. functioned easily and efficiently and the 1955 show should be one of the best. Back row left is William Shumway, Secretary of the Chamber of Commerce; former mayor Rulon Dunn, chairman of the advertising committee; A. L. “Snowy Stocks, president of the Chamber of Commerce; and Luther Boyd, chairman of the parade. Kneeling in front left is Alvin Beckstead, and in the center Grant Wells, committee members. The guy with the big smile (front right) is the rodeo chairman himself, Virgil Knudson who has handled this rough and often thankless task for so many years it is difficult to remember when he wasn’t chairman.”[211] 

Letha Bronson, Bertha Berquist and Ida Winward. Preston Citizen Photo

Squaw and Papoose ride in the rodeo parade while spectators (upper right corner) from the hotel balcony watch.  Circa 1920s.  Picture taken from the Preston Citizen 50th Anniversary Edition booklet of the Preston Night Rodeo p. 5.  Courtesy of Douglas S. Webb.

Salt Lake Tribune. picture includes members of the Chamber of Commerce, the rodeo committee, the fair and the horse show.   Far left, T. R. Bowden, president, Chamber of Commerce, M. M. Reeves, horse show; Harold L. Hawkes, parade; Russell Crockett, queen contest, E. A. Crockett, general chairman, Charles Cutler, Chamber of Commerce secretary; Ralph Strub, finance; Angus Condie, advertising; and Cleo Swenson, finances.  Picture courtesy of Franklin County Citizen, August 14, 1940, p. 1.

     “Earl Weaver and Newel Carter furnished stock for the early roundups.  And I think they got calves from Ben Meek.  They had racehorse corrals all along the road there, across from the 3rd ward church.  Roman Racers—they brought Cavalry horses down from Grace.  Austin Merrill was in charge of that, and Aussie would ride.  Girls would ride too.  The most interesting races were those that the Indians put on.  Relay races.  And bareback, the Indians never used any saddles.  The rider would have three or four horses lined up at different places, then jump off one and onto another.  They had several riders for these races and each one, I think, had three horses.[23]

     “In those old days, we used to get our chaps and horses and go out to the rodeo grounds.  Lyle Geddes, Shorty Merrill and Stan Hawkes.  There was an old pair of fur chaps, and we’d flip to see who’d get to wear them.  It was before this, down behind the library—before the grass park was built—I saw a little rodeo type action.  Somebody got up a bet.  They got a salty horse and put Jack Lance in the saddle, and he bucked around.  Then he kept on going over to the Central school grounds—just when the kids were coming out of school.  It scattered kids all over town.

     “The first bucking horse Stan Hawkes ever saw in action at the rodeo grounds was ridden by Jeff Barger.  “I’m not sure if it was the 4th of July or at the Roundup.  It was just an exhibit and was out where the tennis courts are now.  He rode with the stirrups tied, which was quite impressive to me.  They’d put a rope from one stirrup to another under the horse’s belly.  You can’t spur the horse on the shoulders at all.  You just sit there like a sack of cement—and if the horse throws himself on you, you can’t get out of the way.  It’s a dangerous thing to do.  I tried it once.  Just once.”[24]

[23] Interview with Bill and Albert Head, Cache Valley Newsletter No. 82, by Newell Hart, August 1975, p. 5                         [24] Interview with Stan Hawkes, quoted in Cache Valley Newsletter No. 82, by Newell Hart, August 1975, p 7

Weather: “Fine weather with rain threatening.”[96]

Arena:  A new boundary fence was enlarged to accommodate larger crowds.[97]

Dates:  July 31, August 1 and 2

Grand Entry Time:  9:00

Ticket Prices:  box seats, $2.40; reserved, $1.50; general admission $1.00; obtained at the Goodyear Shoe Shop.[98]

Profit:  Early Monday morning after the rodeo, $2,000 cash and $3,000 in checks were stolen from a locked cabinet on the second floor of the city building.  Following the cashing of checks given to money winning performers of the rodeo, the remaining cash and redeemed checks were placed in an upstairs office cabinet.  The lock was broken and the money gone.  A ladder belonging to Petterborg Chevrolet Co. was hauled a block and a half and used to enter a window on the second floor.  Police from the Logan Sheriff’s Office came to dust for fingerprints that were left.  All of the gate receipts had been deposited in the bank before the robbery, but this theft represented a large loss to the rodeo committee.[99]

Attendance:  15,000-16,000.  “Every seat is a ringside seat with a good view.”[100]

Parades:  7:30. Three bands, five riding clubs, rodeo personnel, clowns and cowboys; floats, children on ponies.

Related Activities:  Monty Young’s Midway, dances, the Lion’s Club sponsored a soda pop booth.

Cowboys Participating:  70, including world champion bulldogger (1946) Dave Campbell


Conna Oliverson, queen; Deana Wells, Margaret Hobbs, Ardys Andreason, attendants.[101]  The county was divided into five districts and each district winner won $25.  The five winners were judged at the queen contest and the winner won an additional $25.  Contestants were judged on showmanship, 50%; regalia, 30%; and mount, 20%. Winners were announced the first night of rodeo.


          General Chairman:  E. A. Crockett

          Committee:  Stan Hawkes, parade; Merlin Whittle and Earl McClurg, queen contest; T. S. Allen, Mel Reeves; Cliff Warr from the Chamber of Commerce, finances; Homer Johnson, publicity.[102]

Stock Producer:  J. C. “Doc” Sorenson, bringing, “the toughest stock in the nation:  60 broncs, 25 bad-tempered bulls, 25 rough steers, and 25 fast running calves.  All the good performers follow Doc.”[103]

          Announcer:  Pete Logan, Scottsdale, Arizona.  Logan spoke at the Rotary Club on the first day of rodeo.  He explained, “Rodeo is the second most popular sport in America.  It is a sport where to cheat is almost impossible.  It is a sport where performers are not paid.  They post an entry fee and only get what they win.  They hunt high and low for a place to stay.  They are not pampered.  If they don’t find rooms, they bunk in a barn.[104]

          Clowns: Jack Knapp and Wiley McCrea

          Specialty Acts:  Ray Ramsey and his “flying clouds” trick performers; and Bobby and Jack Knapp, trick performers; The Phelps, balancing feats.[105]

          Purse:  Not reported

          Rodeo Winners:  Not reported

[95] The Preston Citizen, August 7, 1947, p. 1                                                    [96] The Preston Citizen, August 7, 1947, p. 1                                               [97] The Preston Citizen, July 10, 1947, p. 1                                 [98] The Preston Citizen, July 24, 1947, p. 1                                              [99] The Preston Citizen, August 7, 1947, p. 1                                                   [100] The Preston Citizen, July 31, 1947, p. 1                                               ​[101] The Preston Citizen August 7, 1947, p. 1                             [102] The Preston Citizen, July 10, 1947, p. 1                                            [103] The Preston Citizen, July 31, 1947, p. 1                                                   [104] The Preston Citizen, July 31, 1947, p. 1                                                [105] The Preston Citizen, July 24, 1947, p. 1

Queens:  Shirley Whitehead, queen, Franklin, ID; Beverly Bell, attendant, Preston, ID; Ellen Taylor, attendant, Winder, ID.  Sheriff Lee Hansen obtained the judges for the contest who were sheriffs and police officers from several surrounding counties.  After the contest there was a Western dance at the Persiana.

Related Event:  The ladies’ posse participated in the finals of the queen contest at the rodeo grounds.  A member of the posse, Eleanor Swainston from Winder, was entering her horse trailer to go home when the horse bolted.  Still mounted on Dutchess, Mrs. Swainston had no bridle to control the horse.  Crossing a road west of the rodeo grounds, the horse was struck by an oncoming car, killing the horse and throwing Mrs. Swainston 70 feet.  She and the passenger in the car, Roy Porter, ended up in the hospital overnight with cuts and bruises. 

Parades:  7:30. The parades each night featured a color guard, the queen and her attendants, a high school band, 250 horses, 20 Shoshone Indians in full war regalia, rodeo officials and cowboys, 8 riding clubs, and a Primary float. The parade started at the rodeo grounds, went across 100 west to Oneida, east to State Street and around the city park, north on State Street to 200 North then on to the rodeo grounds.  It was estimated the parade was a mile long.


          General Chairman:  Merlin “Slim” Whittle.  “Well, I was the guy who released “Ed Crockett],” recalled Stan Hawkes.  “I was on the chamber board.  Ed had indicated that he should get out, he should quit.  We talked about it as a board and decided to release him—he’d been in there a long time.  Really, it was up to me or Slim Whittle to 

Pinkie Gist on his horse Freckles

If it wasn’t the best show ever given here, it hasn’t been equaled in years.[134]

Dates:  August 3, 4, 5

Time:  8:00[1]

Ticket Prices:  People complained about the ticket prices being too high.

Attendance:  People stayed away in record numbers; organizers blamed the bad weather and ticket prices.

Profit:  Most likely a loss because of poor attendance.

Cowboys Participating:  Came straight from the Ogden rodeo so they had some top performers.

Parade:  Parades started at 7:00 each night, starting from the rodeo grounds

and “winding through the business district.”  Entries were sought from

“business firms, civic groups, ward organizations and individuals.” [129]

Additional Activities: “The ‘hoosegow,’ designed for imprisonment and

punishment for those who fail to meet Western dress demands will be ready. 

Rodeo sheriff Russ Crockett and crew of deputies will start ‘putting on the heat’

tomorrow.  Wo to him who doesn’t wear two items of Western attire.  Whiskers

will be in vogue until after the rodeo.”[130]

​          Clowns:  Ken Boen and his old gray mare act.  Ken had performed five times at Madison Square Garden and all over the country.  He fought bulls in a full-dress suit, pretending to be “all lit up.”[131]   He was the first rodeo comedian to perform on television.  Also, Ike Tacker and his trained mule.[132]

          Specialty Acts:  Fess Reynolds and his six trained brahma bulls to perform a Liberty Act. 

A Liberty drill means the animals work absolutely loose with no ropes or attachments of

any kind.  The brahma bulls were imported from India. 

Ted Allen, world’s champion horseshoe pitcher. 

“His accuracy, under all sorts of conditions, such

as hiding the pegs from his sight and using a mirror,

is astounding.” Allen also performed a comedy act

with the two clowns.   Ray Ramsey and his Flying

Clouds, two white horses ridden Roman style

doing thrilling jumps, one of the best acts in the


Purse:  Not reported

Rodeo Winners:  Not reported

Elmer Hokom . . . . . shown here with his educated mule (Elmer is educated too) is one of the best rodeo clowns that ever tickled a western rib.  Long liked by western fans, he specializes in waving things at wild steers and then getting out of the way before they can wave him down. He’ll be in Preston Friday and Saturday.

Looking back, a 1941 newspaper article reported that “[the promoters] got together August 15, 1921, and decided to put on a rodeo September 1-2.”  In two weeks, they had to organize and advertise their rodeo.  At that time “the rodeo grounds had been used for a feed lot for several years and it was almost impossible due to weeds and sweet clover to drive an automobile across the grounds.”  Paying $500 and $1100 each, the city and the organizers were able to clear the grounds which were also used for a ballpark and a race track.[16]

     Lawmen reportedly looked the other direction when the rodeo’s organizers tried to make the event solvent by bringing in slot machines.  According to Gary Rawlings, former Preston Citizen editor, “there were slots in the beer halls and at the hitching posts in the streets.”[17] 

     Additionally, “those were the days of spontaneous action, when any spectator in the bleachers might become part of the action.”[18] Apparently, spectators believed they were okay doing this.  Both Bill Head and Stan Hawkes recalled this incident: “One time they were having some car races along with the roundup.  Around the racetrack they went, and then the front wheel came off one of the cars.  Away that wheel went, way out in the field, with Meel [Emil] Petterborg after it and swinging his lariat.  He finally caught it way out there, and he brought it back fast as that horse could go—with that wheel dragging along--bouncing clear up over his head and back down again.  Oh, he got some big cheers! That first rodeo netted $5,800 and the promoters “barely came out on top.”[19]        Bill Head remembers: “The ones who started the old daytime roundups were Thee (Theo) Petterborg, his brother Meel (Emil), and Elmer Merrill.   Thee Petterborg acted as chairman of the old roundup in those days. They used to put on some good shows.  “I went to Fort Hall with Thee and Elmer to see about getting some Indians [to perform].  I wasn’t on the committee; I just went along for the ride.  I thought Thee was going to hire every Indian on the reservation.  Oh, there was a bunch of them!  There was enough that they did their own policing.[20]

[16] “Recalls Beginning of Local Rodeos” The Franklin County Citizen, August 28, 1941, p. 4                   [17] 1975 Rodeo Program
[18]  Written by Necia Seamons for the 2018 Heritage Days display at the Oneida Stake Academy        [19] Ibid.     

[20] The Cache Valley Newsletter No. 82, edited by Newell Hart, August,1975, p. 2.

The Sixth Famous Preston Night Rodeo

Victory House

Above are shown the four horsemen of the rodeo advertising committee.  Left to right are Dean Jensen, J. Homer Johnson, A. G. Carlson, and Leon Marshall.  Dean Jensen says, “My kingdom for a horse—a good, big, sturdy, aged, gentle horse.” 

Picture courtesy of Preston Citizen, July 15, 1948, p. 1.

      I got my horse out of the pickup and she drove the pickup.  I brought the horses out and sent her up on Mel Reeves’ corner—the mile corner south. 

Her job was to head them west.  There were about 12-15 head, all bucking horses.  She went ahead past that 6th Ward church and headed them up to

the 2nd ward church.  The idea was to go straight north to the rodeo grounds, no more turns.

     “I stayed right behind and headed them north just as hard as they could run.  When I crossed Oneida Street, I saw Doc coming out of one of the lots

chasing this bull, Old Yellow.  Alf Kern’s wife, or his mother, was in Alf’s back yard.  They had a big raspberry patch, and she was picking raspberries. 

That damn bull ducked right into that back yard and headed down the middle of one of the

raspberry rows.  She was picking in the next row.     “Doc just stopped his horse and slapped

his forehead and looked up in the sky.  Oh brother.  He didn’t dare holler for fear of upsetting

Old Yellow.  He didn’t know what to do.  He just sat there and held his hands over his eyes. 

The bull went right down that row—whoosh!  The bull didn’t know she was in there, and she

didn’t know he was there.  When she saw him she threw her bucket of raspberries straight up

in the air.  Her sudden motion spooked the Brahma.  He bolted all of a sudden and came

running out of the patch and right into the herd of horses. 


     “Inside of half a minute we had ‘em all back in the arena.  Doc just shook his head and says,

“Wow—I never saw such perfect timing in my life.”[89] 

Announcer:  Jimmie Hazen

          Specialty Act:  Carol Henry and her white mare


​         Special Musical Number:  Lyle Shipley, singing

“Empty Saddles” in honor of fallen soldiers during

World War II

L to r:  Gloria Wilcox, Attendant; Letha Bronson, Queen; Ida Winward, Attendant.  Picture from the 1940 Rodeo Program

         In the USA, the rodeo clown is a rodeo performer who works in bull riding competitions. Originally, the rodeo clown was a single job combining "bullfighting", the protection of riders thrown from the bull, as well as being an individual who provided comic relief. Today in the USA, the job is split into two separate ones, hiring bullfighters who protect the riders from the bull, and entertainers, a barrel man and a clown, who provides comic humor. 

Military tents at the football field.

           The following week, the front-page headline blasted:  HO! NOW FOR THE WILD WEST:  Strenuous Days Illustrating Days of Sooners and Cowboys.”

      There will be many outlaw horses from the Caribou range, and these will be ridden bare back by the daredevils of cowboy-dom. Everybody is coming to Preston on September 1st and 2nd for it is the occasion of the Great Roundup, the only real Wild West show presented this year.

      The Preston Round-up Association at considerable expense has secured this great attraction for this city.  It is going to be one great time where you can forget your troubles and mingle with the characters that have made the frontier west famous.

     The world’s best bronco busters will be here.  Indians and whites alike will participate—the entire show headed by the Famous Casey Jones the Clown cowboy.

     The city park is being fixed up for the occasion.  There will be auto races, horse racing, bull dogging, and roping wild steers, fancy roping and all the arts of cowboy life in the west.  Two bands will be in attendance for the two-day celebration.

     Fifty wild steers will be on hand.  There will be $2,000 given away in prizes.  Any horse that can’t be ridden will be awarded a $25 cash prize.  So, if you want to earn that $25 ring your wild horses and see how easily they can be subdued.

As in the 500-odd rodeos approved each year by the Rodeo Cowboys Association, the famous Night Rodeo will be in the sports major league conducted under the rules that assure the spectators of the best stock.  Five standard professional events will be held:  bareback riding, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, calf roping, and brahma bull riding.  Each even has it’s own standard rules.

     In professional bareback bronc riding the rider has only a simple leather handhold on a surcingle, not saddle or rein.  He must spur the horse over the point of the shoulders on the first jump out of the chute and should spur to the end of the ride to win.  He must hang on for eight seconds and cannot touch the horse or the rigging with his free hand.

     In calf-roping, the contestant works against a stopwatch.  He tries to rope a calf, dismount, flank the calf, and tie any three feet together in the shortest time possible.  He gets two tries if he carries two loops made up into the arena.

     To make a qualified ride the saddle bronc rider must spur the horse out of the chute as in bareback riding and stick it out for eight or ten seconds, depending on the rules agreed on here.  He rides an association saddle whose standard design has been approved by the RCA and has only a rough braided rope rein to hang onto.  If he loses a stirrup, touches the horse, rein or saddle with his free hand he’s disqualified.  And to earn the winning marking he should spur the horse from shoulder to cantle board throughout the ride.

     The steer wrestler drops from the saddle of the highballing horse to the horns of a galloping steer, bring it to a stop ad twists It down until all four legs are pointed out free.  His is a race against time.  To help the steer run straight, he has a helper, or hazer, riding on the opposite side of the animal.

     Rodeo’s roughest contest is Brahma bull riding.  The bull rider has only a loose rope without knots or hitches that is held around the bull solely by the pressure of the rider’s grip.  He must ride for eight seconds with one hand free.  But the ride is only half of it since the brahmas are always ready to kill a man with their hooves or horns.”[91]
91] The Preston Citizen, July 26, 1956, p. 1

            Purse:  Not reported

            Judges:  Earl Thodes (also judged at Madison Square Gardens);  Breezy Cox from Arizona

            Rodeo Winners:

                              Top Cowboy:  Jack Tracy, Livingston, Montana, 116 points

Monte Montana was back as a specialty act for the 1940 rodeo, featured in the July 19, 1940, Franklin County Citizen, p. 1.

    “Another big attraction in those days, especially in the parades, was that tipsy car.  It would buck, spin, scare the crowd, go up and down.  The wheel axles were put close together.  Oh that was a crazy thing!  The car was adapted by Vic Jorgensen for Wilf Smith and that bunch. [29]   
[29] Ibid. p. 5

Southeast Idaho people are rodeo people.

Expect to see this kind of action at the rodeo July 28.  Picture courtesy of The Preston Citizen, July 28, 1955, p. 2.

Rules for Events

The 9th Famous Preston Night Rodeo

Parade:  Under the direction of the Boots and Saddles Club

.           Line-up at rodeo grounds at 7:00; Parade starts at 7:30

            Parade includes:  American Legion color guard

                                Preston High School Band

                                Rodeo Queens

                                Rodeo stock and horsemen

                                Preston, Mink Creek, Fairview, Whitney, Winder riding clubs

                                Posse of Sheriff Warren Hyde of Brigham City, Utah

          Parade route:   Rodeo grounds to First West; east on Oneida Street to State Street; one block up first South, circling the park block; right turn to State Street; two blocks north to Second North, then west to the rodeo grounds.


             Chairman:  Mayor Ed Crockett

             Committee:  Stanton Hawkes, Merlin (Slim) Whittle, Weldon Nash, Secretary; Ralph Strub, Homer Johnson, Angus Condie, Harvy Bickmore, finance committee.

Date:  August 2, 3, 4

 Weather: – Rodeo organizers were “keeping their fingers crossed to help deter any double cross of Old Man weather.”[135]  “The rodeo missed being rained out by too, too, close.  People here must be living right because the rain stopped all three nights just before performances.”[136]

 Grand Entry Time:  8:00

 Ticket Prices:  $1.50, box seats; $1.00, general admission, $.50 kids; on sale at Hart Music Co. building.  “The Preston Chamber of commerce is making a gamble this year in an attempt to place the show within financial reach of everyone but still take in enough proceeds to pay the heavy expenses of this costly show.”  Thursday night was designated the first “family night” when kids could get in for $.25.[137]

 Profit:  Not reported

 Attendance:  12,000-14,000 – “near capacity crowds each night”.[138]

 Cowboys Participating: “The show is assured its quota of top hands.”[139]

 Parade:   7:00.  A special feature of the parade was the Union Pacific Famous Miniature Freight Train Built in 1923, it operated on concrete and had had more than 200,000 showings in its 30-year history.  “It stands as high as a man and features an engine, tender, stock car, box car, coal car, tank car, and caboose.”[140]

  Queens:  Queen:  Sharon Beckstead. queen; Loraine Pilkington and Lois Meyers, attendants.  The queen contest was sponsored by the Boots and Saddles Club with judges from Paris, Idaho.  The judges selected the top three contestants, and the voting public selected who would be queen and attendants.  Judging was based 50% on horsemanship, 30% on appearance and personality and 20% on equipment.  Spencer Condie won a “fine saddle horse and complete riding outfit,” donated by the riding club.[141]   


Additional Activities:   The Monday before rodeo was Kangaroo Court Day, sponsored by the American Legion.  “We mean business,” said Dean Bambrough, post commander. “We will have ajudge, prosecuting attorney, and a dunking trough ready for violators.  Several of the boys will be making the rounds all day looking for miscreants.  We warn businessmen and their employees to dress western [two items] or take the consequences.”[142] A work night on July 29 at the rodeo arena.  Businessmen were to don work clothes to help prepare the stands for the rodeo.[143]

          On the Wednesday before the rodeo two activities were planned.  First was a kid’s parade sponsored by the Lion’s Club.  Local kids were encouraged to wear Western dress, decorate a bike, bring a pet, or enter a float.  There was free ice cream for every participant and prizes were awarded to the best entries.  The parade started at the Opera House.[144]  

     Following the kid’s parade from 9:00 to midnight was a Square Dance Jamboree, arranged by Harold Allen.  It was held on Oneida street in front of the post office.  Watchers were encouraged to come in Western attire.[145]

 Promotional Activities:  Square Dance Jamboree directed by Harold B. Allen including area square dance clubs.  It took place on Oneida Street in front of the post office.[146]



          General Chairman:  Virgil “Virg” Knudson and committee members shown above.  Virg Knudson is on the right.  Picture courtesy of Larsen Sant Library Local History

          ProjectStock Producer:  R. J. Skinner, sole proprietor of Intermountain Rodeos from Delta, Utah.[147] “He came here first as a cowboy.  He bulldogged and calf roped.  Everybody called his wife Ma Skinner.  They were from Deseret, Utah. Ray would always do a little horseshoeing and grooming for the cowboys.  He got his start by buying out another producer, got himself a string of horses and some stock.”[148]

           Announcer:  Jack Oakie.  “One of the cleverest MCs in the game,”[149] and a “rapid fire announcer.”[150]

           Clowns:  Bobby and Gene Clark and their “flying saucers”, two tiny trained mules, billed as “a hilarious comedy act.”[151]   “The only funny clowns to show here in years.”[152]   Inducted into the cowboy Hall of Fame in 1987

[134] The Preston Citizen, August 9, 1951, p. 1                             [135] The Preston Citizen, August 2, 1951, p. 1                                     [136] The Preston Citizen, August 9, 1951, p. 1                                               [137] The Preston Citizen, July 26, 1951, p. 1
[138] The Preston Citizen, August 9, 1951, p. 1                             [139] The Preston Citizen, August 2, 1951, p. 1                                     [140] The Preston Citizen, July 26, 1951, p. 1                                                  [141] The Preston Citizen, July 19, 1951, p. 1

[142] Ibid.                                                                                                     [143] The Preston Citizen, July 19, 1951, p. 1                                          [144] The Preston Citizen, July 16, 1951, p. 1                                                 [145] The Preston Citizen, July 26, 1951, p. 1
[146]                                                                                                               [147] The Preston Citizen, August 2, 1951, p. 1​                                       [148] Interview, Stan Hawkes, in Cache Valley Newsletter No. 82.       [149] The Preston Citizen, July 26, 1951, p. 1
[150] The Preston Citizen, July 19, 1951, p. 1                              [151] The Preston Citizen, July 26, 1951, p. 1                                           [152] The Preston Citizen, August 9, 1951, p. 1                                              [153] Ibid.
[154] The Preston Citizen, July 26, 1951, p. 1

Lloyd Hust and his trick dogs.  Picture courtesy of Preston Citizen, June 24, 1943, p.10.

     “There was no sound system.  Whit Kimball or Tiny Jensen would announce from their horses.    They’d go over to the chute and find out who was going to ride what, then ride along in front of the grandstand and ‘bellar’ it through the big megaphone.  Sometimes they’d ride up and down and holler it out several times so everybody could hear.”

     “My job was to take charge of the grounds.  I’d usually go up to Hymas’s place to buy hay for the rodeo stock.  By the 30’s we had some pretty good old chutes out there—four or six—then we’d hook the patrol [city police] on those bleachers and pull them up in place.  Meel Petterborg was always the arena carpenter.  The old original bleachers we used for years.  The first extra bleacher was added on the east side, then one on the west, I think.  We’d pull ‘em in by sections.  For a time, we had our catch pens down west.  Then we had these snow fences and steel posts.  We’d put it up pretty high—two layers—if they can’t see through it, they won’t hit it.  But I’ll tell you, I’ve seen some of the greatest rode through it, they won’t hit it. But I’ll tell you, I’ve seen some of the greatest rodeos ever right here.”[32]
[32] Interview, Stan Hawkes, in The Cache Valley Newsletter No. 82, edited by Newell Hart, August 1975, p. 9

Rodeo Entertainment Interview with Bill Head, Albert Head, his son, and Stan Hawkes

               “Remember auto [bulldogging]?  Whit Kimball had a car rigged up with roller bars over the top.  The car was adapted by Vic Jorgensen.  They bulldogged off that car.  A horse was on one side and they used Whit’s car as the other ‘horse’.  Two guys were in the stripped-down car—one to drive and one on the fender to bulldog right from there.  Anything to have fun.  Oh, I’ve seen that thing roll over several times on those roller bars.”[26]

     “They had stuntmen like Daredevil Davidson and his motorcycle. Daredevil Davidson came here and married Lucille Luthy, Joe Luthy’s youngest sister.  He was a brother to Mrs. Jack Kennard, our soil conservationist.   I remember once he and Harold Hawkes wanted to ride mules out of the chute.  They got out of the chute all right, then they were thrown as high as this room.  Daredevil Davidson was a great stuntman.  He’d come here and do crazy things during the parade “and Roundup.  He had a sidecar on his cycle and he’d usually have somebody in it, and with his whole outfit sticking up in the air, he’d ride around on two wheels.  He was one of the clowns, too.  He’d chase the bulls and chase the steers. [27]

[26] Interview, Bill Head, Albert Head and Stan Hawkes, in Cache Valley Newsletter No. 82, edited by Newell Hart, August 1975, p. 5                                                [27] Interview with Stan Hawkes, in Cache Valley Newsletter No. 82, edited by Newell Hart, August 1975, p. 5

First Preston Night Rodeo Queen, Dorothy Maughan. 

Picture from the Franklin County Citizen, August 11, 1937, p. 1

Preston’s regular police force is now augmented by a rough and tough crew led by Sheriff Dean Jensen and assisted by his De-Puttys Tom Albaugh, Preston Struve and Bob Fulton.  The traveling red hoosgow in this picture protects the public from, left to right Cleo Swenson, Keith Christensen and Cliff Warr.  Each miscreant committed the crime that pays—the rodeo committee that is—when he appeared Friday on downtown streets in conventional garb.  SherufJensen and his deputies were hot on the trail of those who neglected to wear least two items of western apparel.  There was a little frameup involved but Keith Christensen doesn’t seem too unhappy about it.  He was told the deadline for donning cowboy attire had been postponed until Monday and De-Putty Albaugh was waiting for him Friday morning when he showed up for work.  De-Putty Albaugh seems quite grim about the whole business, and Shuruf Jensen wants to be sure everyone sees his badge.  They ought to.  It almost covers his expansive chest.  

Picture courtesy of the Preston Citizen, July 22, 1948, p. 1   

Weather: “Couldn’t have been better." [194]

 Dates:  July 28, 29, 30[195]

 Grand Entry Time:  8:00

Ticket Prices:  Reserved, $1.50; General Admission, $1.20; and Children under 12, $.50. Thursday night was advertised as family night with children’s tickets at $.25.[196]   Tickets sold at Hart Brothers Music.

 Profit:  Not reported

Attendance:  Almost capacity Thursday and Friday night, full capacity Saturday; “all crowds

were well behaved and appreciative of the wonderful show that was presented.” [197]

Cowboys Participating:   85, “including some top performers” [198]

 Queens and Queen Contest:  Shirley Ann Gibbs, (daughter of Jack Gibbs, Grace), was chosen

queen with Sharon Spackman (daughter of Ross Spackman, Preston) and ReNae Porter

(daughter of Lewis Porter, Preston) as attendants.[199]  The queen contest featured relay

races between riding clubs, barrel racing, and other entertainment.  The Preston Boots and

Saddles Club offered a saddle and bridle as a prize, and other prizes were also offered.  Harold

Winn at the barber shop accepted applications for the queen contest.[200]  Contestants were

judged on personality, and riding ability.  Plain western attire was requested.[201]

Parades:  There were large crowds at the parades.  Prizes for floats were given to the Weston MIA, first place, $25; Franklin Village float, second place, $15; and the Weston Relief Society entry, third place, $10.  Prizes for riding groups and posses were awarded to the Richmond Riders, first place, $100; the Clarkston Club, second place, $50; and the Lewiston club, third place, $50.  “Floats, other entries and riding groups drew high praise.”[202]  Prizes were only given if the group participated all three nights.[203]

Promotional Activities:  Appreciation was expressed to local businesses and the people of Preston and Franklin County.  “[We had] good cooperation, or better, than we have ever had,” stated Virg Kundson, general chairman.[204]  Business people were asked to wear western gear on the Monday before rodeo to promote the event.[205]

Rides and Concessions:  Monte Young Carnival, “exceptionally clean,”[206]  “Monte Young never seems to let his outfits get run down, dangerous and bad looking.”[207]


          General Chairman:  Virg Knudson [208]

          Producer:  Dell Haslam 

          Announcer:  Jack Oakey, “the most popular announcer to appear here.”[209]

          Clowns: Not reported

          Specialty Acts:  The producer promised six quality specialty acts.  One was Stan Volera who did balancing tricks on a narrow pole 100 feet in the air.[210]

          Purse: Not reported

          Winners:  Not reported

​​[194] The Preston Citizen, August 4, 1955, p. 1                         [195] The Preston Citizen, July 21, 1955, p. 4                        [196] Ibid.  p. 1                       [197] The Preston Citizen, August 4, 1955, p. 1                    [198] Ibid.                    [199] The Preston Citizen, July 21, 1955, p. 1
[200] The Preston Citizen, July 7, 1955, p. 1                               [201] The Preston Citizen, June 16, 1955, p. 1                      [202] The Preston Citizen, August 4, 1955, p. 1                              [203] The Preston Citizen, July 21, 1955, p. 1
[204] The Preston Citizen, August 4, 1955, p. 1                         [205] The Preston Citizen, July 21, 1955, p. 1                        [206] The Preston Citizen, August 4, 1955, p. 1                              [207] The Preston Citizen, July 21, 1955, p. 1
[208] The Preston Citizen, August 4, 1955, p. 1                         [209] The Preston Citizen, July 14, 1955, p. 1                       [210] Ibid.                                   [211] The Preston Citizen, July 28, 1955, p. 1​​

Back:  Standing l to r:  Alvin Beckstead; Earl Hutchinson, producer, and Virg Knudson, signing the contract.  Seated l to r:  Weldon A. Nash, President Preston Chamber of commerce; William Shumway, secretary of the chamber; and LaDell Haslam, producer.  Photo courtesy of Preston Citizen, July 26, 1956, p. 1

Beeswax and the Moore family

The Cheyenne Frontier Days have virtually moved to Preston lock, stock and barrel with many top-notch cowboys being entered for local money.

Rodeo Parade

The town is cleaner, and the accommodations are better than any other town around. 

Dates:  July 30 and 31, August 1

 Grand Entry Time:  8:00[163]

 Ticket Prices:  Family Night on Thursday, kids 12 and under $.25.  Tickets were available at “rodeo headquarters, 7 South State.”[164]

 Profit:  Not reported

 Attendance:  Not reported

 Cowboys Participating:  Not reported

 Queens:  Sally Sant, queen, Grace; Doreen Henderson, Swan Lake; and Sondra Beckstead,

Preston, attendants.  There were as many people in attendance at the queen contest as the

first night of rodeo.  Judges were from Montana and Logan.[165]   The queen won $50 and

the attendants $25 each, donated by the Chamber of Commerce.  Thomas Saddlery again

donated the winner’s trophy.[166]   There were no age limits and women from Richmond-Lewiston

on the south and Grace-Downey on the north were eligible to compete.  Only those who had won

queen contests in the prior two years were not eligible.  The ten girls who entered were judged on

horsemanship, poise, and personality.  The contest featured entertainment, and prizes of a saddle

horse donated by Cranney Chevrolet.[167]   A saddle, bridle, and Western riding boots donated by 

the Boots and Saddles Club were displayed at Owl Billiards.[168]

 Parades:  7:00. Four bands participated: Preston High School, Grace High School, South Cache

High School, and Hill Air Force Base.  Also, the Wright Accordian Band came from Logan.  Twenty

members from ages six to twenty played at all three parades and provided entertainment at the

rodeo.[169]   Jaycees Irvin Scott and Earl Norton were in charge of the parades.[170]

 Promotional Activities:  The Saturday before rodeo was Western dress day, again sponsored by the

American Legion who also served as ushers at the rodeo.  “Avoid the hoosegow or the water truck by

dressing in two Western clothing items.”   Wednesday of rodeo week the Lion’s Club again sponsored

a kid’s parade with treats for those who participated.[171]   A daily band concert was held at the city park

with Preston High, Hill Air Force Base, South Cache, and Grace high school bands participating.

 Rides and Concessions:   The State Fair and Great Western combined shows brought 21 rides and 24 concession stands[172]  


          General Chairman:  Virg Knudson

          Committee:  Phil West, President Chamber of Commerce, Phyllis H. Homer, secretary, Chamber of Commerce, Alvin Beckstead, President of the Boots and Saddles Club, R. G. Cranney, Greene Wells, T. Roy Peterson and Merlin Smith. [173]

          Stock Producer:  Ray Skinner from Delta, Utah.  This was Ray’s retirement year (bad health) from producing rodeos.  “Preston is the only show this season and the last he will produce.” [174]   Dell Haslam and Jack Oakie who had Skinner’s power of attorney) signed the contract.[175]

           Announcer:  Jack Oakie[176]

           Clowns:  Ken Bowan and Sherman Crane

           Specialty Acts:  Jay Sisler and his trained dogs

           Purse:  $2,625[ 177]

          Winners:  Not reported

[162] The Preston Citizen, July 23, 1953, p. 1                                     [163] The Preston Citizen, July 30, 1953, p. 1                                            [164] The Preston Citizen, July 23, 1953, p. 1                                                    [165] Ibid.
[166] The Preston Citizen, July 2, 1953, p. 1                                       [167] The Preston Citizen, July 9, 1953, p. 1                                              [168] The Preston Citizen, July 2, 1953, p. 1 and July 16, 1953, p. 1        [169] The Preston Citizen, July 23, 1953, p. 1
[170] The Preston Citizen, July 30, 1953, p. 1                                     [171] The Preston Citizen, July 23, 1953, p. 1                                           [172] Ibid.                                                                                                                          [173] The Preston Citizen, March 12, 1953, p. 1

[174] The Preston Citizen, July 23, 1953, p. 1                                    [175] The Preston Citizen, March 12, 1953, p. 1                                       [176] The Preston Citizen, March 12, 1953, p. 1                                                 [177] The Preston Citizen, July 34, 2953, p. 1

This was acknowledged also by Horland Simmons, school executive:
          In 1950, it was proposed to build a high school on one-half of the ballpark/fair grounds.

 Simmons approached Ernest Eberhart, the mayor, about the possibility of building a high school on
 the park grounds.  Eberhart was favorable.  Both agreed that it was a good location for the Eastside

 School District, and also for a county-wide high school if the West Side ever decided to consolidate.

 The city held a special election and voters approved the sale of the land to the school district.[6]

           In a separate election, Mr. Eberhart was not returned to office.  His replacement was not in favor of the project.  The school administration was supposed to hold an election to see if the patrons would allow District 201 to make the purchase.  Without the support of the city, Mr. Simmons and the school board felt there was no need to continue the project.  Instead of building a new school, Preston High School was expanded.[7]

This cowboy bit the dust during the 1921 Preston daytime rodeo.  Picture taken from the Preston Citizen 50th Anniversary booklet of the Night Rodeo, p. 4. 

Courtesy of Douglas S. Webb.

Pete Logan, Announcer

Dates:  August 20 and 21[60]

Time: 8:00 a.md 8:30[61]

Ticket Prices:  A dollar show for 50c and 25c[62]

Profit:  not reported.  An editorial mentions the sounds of slot machines being one of the indicators that the rodeo is coming up.[63]

Attendance:  A new grandstand was built to hold another thousand people.

Parades:  Friday afternoon – kids and pets parade.  Saturday, 1:00 street parade featuring the Lava High School Band.

Promotional Activities:  Franklin County Fair, kids and pets parade, kids sports carnival, the Preston Lion’s Club provided an ambulance.  Monday July 19 was proclaimed dress-up day by Mayor T. R. Bowden.  “Every patriotic male member of Preston city [should] don some regalia of the west as advertising for the rodeo.”  A kangaroo court was held for those not in compliance.   A new grandstand we built to hold another 1000 people.  A dance was held at the Persiana where the new rodeo queen was announced.

Cowboys Participating:  60
[60] Franklin County Citizen, July 21, 1937, p. 1                               [61] Franklin County Citizen, August 18, 1937, p. 1                                       [62] Franklin County Citizen, July 14, 1937, p. 1                                                              [63] Franklin County Citizen, August 11, 1937, p. 2

“Three nights ride ‘em, fan ‘em, bust em’ show.”[212]

             Stock Producer:  Hillside Rodeo Stock, Ogden, Utah.  “Consisted of Parley Hall, Charlie Felt, and Earl Hutchinson.  They worked together a few years and then Hutchinson bought out the others.  Then Hutch produced here for years.  He was from Wellsville, one of the original members of the Hillside Rodeo Co.  Mel Reeves originated that name.[69]                  

              Announcer:  not reported

              Clown:  Elmer Hocum 

              Specialty Acts:  Dick Griffeth, trick riding and roping; Carol Henry and Sweetheart her white horse whose new tricks were jumping rope and tap dancing; two local men – Don Anderson (Swan Lake) and Hershel Buxom (Downey) and their trick horses.

              Purse:  First place prizes were in the $40-$50 range.

              Rodeo Winners:  Slats Jacobs made top money for the two nights with Mitch Owens coming in second. Slats Jacobs, bulldogging (4 1/5 seconds); Calf Roping, N. A. Pritcock; Brahma bull Riding, Mitch Owens; Barback Riding, Mitch Owens; Bronc Riding, Travis Maitars; Calf Roping, Tommy Cavanah; Bull Dogging, Dave Campbell; Brahma Bull Riding, Dick Griffeth; Bareback Riding, Carl Dossey.

              Horse Show:  entries from Salt Lake, Montpelier, Ogden, Rexburg, Idaho Falls, Rupert, Logan, and Franklin County.
[69] Interview, Stan Hawkes, in Cache Valley Newsletter No. 82, edited by Newell Hart, August, 1975, p. 8

The 19th Famous Preston Night Rodeo

“One of the best ever held in Preston”

 Frank and Bernice Dean are shown here demonstrating an unusual way to ride a horse.  Popular at the nation’s rodeos they will appear here this week.

​    Stock Producer:   J.C. (Doc) Sorenson, Kamas, Utah (Stock producer for rodeos around the country including The Wild West Show at Madison Square Gardens, New York).

    It was during the Doc Sorenson years as producer that this incident was remembered by Stan Hawkes:   

     “I used to help Doc a lot.  We’d take the cattle to the train in Dayton, drive them.  Once they got loose.  Somebody left the south gate open at the rodeo grounds.  Doc called me before daylight.  You remember where Maylon Hollingsworth lived down south of town.  Somebody called and said there was a big bunch of horses loose in his field.  And some of the bulls were gone.  Lee Bergqust had called.  One of Doc’s best bulls, a big yellow bull, was in Lee’s cow pasture.  That bull was in there with Lee’s cow—and Lee wanted that Brahma out right now.  He was the fighting bull that Slim Pickens used to clown with.  Doc called him Old Yellow.       “Doc asked me, “Can you get the horses back and I’ll go after the bull?”    “I says okay, but I’d need some help.  He said one of his girls would go—good riders.  It was either Billie or Bummie.    I put my saddle horse in the pickup, and we went.  We spotted those horses in Maylon’s field, just below.

          Purse:  $2400.  Average $150 per event with $50

bonus to Best All Around Cowboy.

          Clowns:  Earl Holcomb and Slim Pickins

          Winners:  Best All-Around Cowboy – Bill McMacken,

Florence, Arizona (Rodeo Hall of Fame)

          Saddle Bronc Riding:  Bill McMacken

          Bull Dogging:  Bill McMacken

         Calf Roping:  Pud Adair, Wickenburg, Arizona

         Wild Cow Milking:  Charles Fancher, Twin Falls, Idaho

         Bareback Riding:  Paul Gould Brahma Bull Riding:  Spike Bronson, Ft. Worth, Texas

[89] Interview, Stan Hawkes, in Cache Valley Newsletter No. 82, August 1975, p. 5

 The trick car on East Oneida.  Back seat:  Vic Jorgensen, Fred Gregersen, and Nobel Webb.  Wilf Smith at the wheel.  Parade car built by Vic.  Picture contributed to the Hometown Album by Vic Jorgensen, #407.

Queens:  Joyce Keller, Queen; Shirly Whitehead, First Attendant; Marriot Gilbert, Second Attendant


Bronc Riding, Ernest Munce, Arizona

                                Calf Roping, Laurence Cooley, Arizona, 19 2-5 seconds

                                Steer Wrestling:  Shorty Siaco, Colorado, 11 seconds

                                Steer Riding:  Duward Ryan , California                  


                                Bronc Riding, Jack Tracy, Montana

                                Steer Wrestling:  Bob Scott, Pocatello, 12 and 4-5 seconds

                                Calf Roping:  Matt Cropper, Deseret, Utah, 17 seconds

                                Steer Riding:  Mitch Owens, California

The 15th Famous Preston Night Rodeo

[125] The Preston Citizen, August 3, 1950, p. 1 (Dates and time from this source also)                                [126] The Preston Citizen, August 3, 1950, p. 1 (Dates and time from this source also)                      [127] The Preston Citizen, July 20, 1950, p. 1                        [128] The Preston Citizen, July 13, 1950, p. 1                                                                                                                   [129] The Preston Citizen, July 20, 1950, p. 1                                                                                                         [130] Ibid.
[131] The Preston Citizen, August 3, 1950, p. 1                                                                                                                [132] The Preston Citizen, July 20, 1950, p. 1                                                                                                          [133] Ibid.

Specialty Acts:  Bugs and Pat Torrance, sisters (Colorado), trick and fancy riding, 1991 Pewter Members of the Cowboy Hall of Fame;  Beeswax and the Moore family, a trained mule and dog act.; and The Bounding Olympians, performed on a spring-mat platform.  They were not advertised, “but they almost stole the show.”  “The best specialty acts brought here in many years.”[153]

 Purse:  $2,625 [154]

 Winners:  Not reported

The 7th Preston Night Rodeo


Idaho State Fair and Rodeo Association (ISFRA):  Ed Crockett, former Preston Night Rodeo Chairman and president of the ISFRA (1948-49), and Merlin Whittle, chairman of the Preston Night Rodeo, attended the state association meeting.  Stock producers and concession representatives were on hand at these meetings, and local rodeo chairmen were able to contract their producer and concession company at this meeting. 

Carnival:  A carnival is listed on the offerings on the front cover of the 1949 Rodeo Program


          General Chairman:  Merlin “Slim” Whittle

          Committee:  Preston Chamber of Commerce President Robert “Bob” Fullton with directors assisting

          Stock Producer:  J. C. “Doc” Sorenson.  Doc commented after the rodeo that Friday night went off without a hitch, and that this was the most perfect rodeo he’d ever done.

          Announcer:  not reported

          Clowns:  not reported

“The Roundups would go on all day long.  They’d be out there rodeo-ing, pulling stunts, bucking the horses.  They only had one chute—straight out from the old grandstand.  There was no sound system.  Whit Kimball or Tiny Jensen would announce from their horses.    They’d go over to the chute and find out who was going to ride what, then ride along in front of the grandstand and “bellar” it through the big megaphone.  Sometimes they’d ride up and down and holler it out several times so everybody could hear.  After the cowboys came out and got bucked off, or the pick-up men got them off, then the animals just ran loose—ran all over the park.”

Ken Boen, clown

Sergene Andra on Roy Roger’s horse Trigger, Jr.  Photo courtesy of Larry Andra.

Ray Ramsey and the thrilling Roman jump.  Pictures courtesy of the Preston Citizen, July 18, 1946, p. 1 and July 25, 1946, p. 1

Here they are cowboy hats and all and already for That Famous Preston Night Rodeo next week.  These are the directors and officers of the Preston chamber of Commerce which sponsors and takes the risks of the rodeo each year.  These men find it almost a year-round job planning and directing the big show.  On the back row, left to right are R. C. Affleck, Keith Christensen, Merlin Smith, Arnold Sant, and Ariel Neeley.  Front row, Earl Nelson, Philip West, William Shumway and March Hopkins.  Picture courtesy of the Preston Citizen, July 23, 1953, p. 1.

Billy Hammond and his Palomino horse “Pea Nuts”.  “Hammond is a Hollywood movie performer and a double for a famous actor of cowboy westerns.”  Picture and caption courtesy of the Preston Citizen, July 27, p. 7.

Weather:   Rain threatened the first night, but the skies cleared, and the weather was perfect all three nights.[179]

Dates:  July 29, 30, 31[180]

 Grand Entry Time:  8:00 p.m. [181]

 Ticket Prices:  Sold at Hart Bros. Music

 Profit:  Not reported

 Attendance:  Not reported

Cowboys Participating: 65[182] cowboys from Provo, Linden, Salt Lake, and Hooper, Utah; Marysvale, Kearnville,

Van Nuys, Santa Rosa, San Gabriel, El Monte, Los Angeles, Red Bluff, Pasadena, and Santa Ana, California; Pocatello

and Idaho Falls, Idaho; Cheyenne and Lone Tree, Wyoming; Sharon spring, Kansas, Abilene, and Clint, Texas; Ft.

Pierce, South Dakota; Yakima, Washington; Eugene, Oregon; Las Cruces, New Mexico; and Prescott, Arizona.[183]

Queens and Queen Contest:   Harold Winn and Deward “Mac” Gambles were in charge from the Boots and Saddles

Club.  A saddle, bridle, blanket and rope were given to a spectator at the contest.  The Caribou County Posse and the

Richmond Riding club performed precision drills at the contest, along with other entertainment.[184]   Thomas

Saddlery donated a trophy to the winner.  Queen, Sondra Beckstead from Preston; Attendants: Marva Dawn

Spackman from Richmond and Lois Meyers-Nash from Preston.

Parades:  6:00 p.m.  The parade formed at 100 North and went up State Street, one block east and then south,

and back towards the rodeo grounds.  The route was changed to “keep from jamming up.”[185]  Prizes were given

for the best floats:  First Place, Lewiston 2nd Ward; 2nd place, Franklin Fur Farmers; and Third place, the Telephone

Employees, with honorable mention going to the Weston MIA.[186]

 Promotional Activities:  Two items of Western dress for dress-up day.[187]  The local Jay-C-ettes sponsored a

popcorn stand all three nights of rodeo.  Proceeds went to the hospital maternity ward.[188]

 Rides and Concessions:    Monte Young Carnival.   Fine compliments were given the carnival.[189]


           General Chairman:  Virg Knudsen

           Committee:  The rodeo was underwritten by the Chamber of Commerce whose board included Merlin Smith,

President; A. L. Stocks, vice-president; Herman Richards, R. C. Affleck, Arnold Sant, L. L. Cox, K. C. Merrill, Dean

Palmer, and Gaylord Larsen, The rodeo committee was comprised of W. P. “Bill” Shumway, secretary; Dr. Merrill,

publicity; Alvin Beckstead, Greene Wells, Luther, Boyd, and Reed Allen, parade.[190]

            Stock Producer:  Haslam and Hall.  “The broncs and brahmas were the toughest bucking stock and the riders were superb.”[191]

            Announcer:  Not reported

            Clowns:  Not reported

            Specialty Acts:  The Valkyries, an all-girl troupe riding eight white horses, they were the leading riding acts in the country.  The Lane Trampoline Trio from Vancouver, Washington.[192]

           Purse:  $2500[193]

           Winners:  Not reported

[178] The Preston Citizen, July 8, 1954, p. 1                            [179] The Preston Citizen, August 5, 1954, p. 1                                       [180]  Ibid.                                       [181] The Preston Citizen, July 29, 1954, p. 1                         [182] The Preston Citizen, July 29, 1954, p. 1             [183] The Preston Citizen, July 29, 1954, p. 1                        [184] The Preston Citizen, July 16, 1954, p. 1                                          [185] The Preston Citizen, July 29, 1954, p. 1                                                                                       [186] The Preston Citizen, August 5, 1954, p. 1
[187] The Preston Citizen, July 16, 1954, p. 1                        [188] The Preston Citizen, July 29, 1954, p. 3                                           [189] Ibid.                                         [190] The Preston Citizen, July 8, 1954, p. 1                          [191] The Preston Citizen, August 5, 1954, p. 1          [192] The Preston Citizen, July 29, 1954, p. 1                      [193] The Preston Citizen, July 29,1954, p. 1

    “The rodeo clown when he steps into the arena in his striped shirt and baggy trousers, becomes a dual personality. Unlike the clown of the big top, he is there as a foil.  Lifesaving is his mission in the brahma bull riding events.  Throughout the program of events, the rodeo clown goes through his work.  Like his kindred soul of the big canvas top, he works on new acts and new antics to add sparkle to his performance.

     But it’s the brahma bull riding that brings out the real daring of these Pagilaccios of the rodeo arena.  That’s the time to watch the clowns if you would appreciate their courage and importance.     The brahmas hold an everlasting grudge against people.   Left alone, they’ll turn on a fallen rider and do their best to gore or trample him.

     Pickup men, such as those who help the rider down in bronc riding, are little value in bull riding.  The brahmas won’t let the horses in close enough.  So, the clowns do the life-saving stint.  You’ll see them move in oo foot to distract to see them move in on foot to distract the bull and give the cowboy a chance to dismount and reach safety.  A rider often takes an awesome breathtaking slam when thrown and the clowns must get the bull away from him and keep the furious animal busy elsewhere until the cowboy is rescued.

​     They taunt and tease—and with the funnyman’s natural flare they add thrills to their deadly serious performance.  The crowd enjoys it so often without realizing just how important the act is to the man who just left the animal’s back.

     Theirs is a business that requires much study.  Bulls are individualists.  No two react alike.  Like a pgreat pitcher who knows the strength and weakness of the batters he’ll face from day to day, the rodeo from day to day, the rodeo clown must know the peculiarities of hundreds of rodeo bulls.

     One miscue a moment of for forgetfulness as a clown lets a bull draw tantalizingly close, and the clown may go to the hospital.  The taunting and teasing has a long range purpose, too.

​ Bulls have good memories.  They keep thinking of the clown in his ridiculous shirt, and baggy pants. 

Dates:  August 5, 6 and 7

Time:  not reported

Ticket Prices:  not reported

Profit:  The Chamber of Commerce reported, after adding up expenses, that they did not see much profit, despite sold-out audiences.  The total take was $18,358.55 with $11,900 going to the show.  Federal taxes came to $3,100 with $2,00-$3,000 committed to other expenses.  The profit would come from the carnival take.

Attendance:  4,000 opening night, Friday, nearly every seat filled, Saturday, “Every available seat was filled with hundreds turned away.”

Queens:  Queen Sergene Andra, and attendants (names not reported) 

                                                                                          In 1938 That Famous Preston Night Rodeo joined the Rodeo Association of America


Dates:  August 19 and 20

Grand Entry Time:  not reported

Ticket Prices:  Reserved seats, $.75; general admission, $.50; children under 14, $.25

Profit:  not reported

Attendance:  Seating capacity was expanded to 6,000;   attendance was at 6,000.

Cowboys Participating:  Cowboys recorded besides the winners were Floyd Stilling, Slats Jacobs, Howard McCrorey, Harry Hart, Lance Pollard, Tom Woods, Lawrence Conley, Lynn Perkins and Casey Davis. 

Equal to any in the Intermountain west

​Cowboy Talk Rodeo Variety

Queens:  Carma Oliverson, queen; Maxine Condie and Edythe Lindhardt, Attendents

Additional Activities:  4-H Fair and livestock show, Horse pulls, bond auction, flower show, military band concert at the city park.


        Chairman – Edwin Crockett

        Committee:   Secretaries:  R. R. Rowell and Weldon Nash; tickets, Erwin Spillsburg; Ushers, Homer Johnson; finances, Ralph Strub; military, Cleo Swenson; police, William “Bill” Davis; Queen Contest, Harold Swift; Advertising, Bill Macnight and Newell Hart; Livestock Show, William Craner; Horse Pulls, Charles Sparrow; Stock and Grounds, Merlin “”Slim” Whittle and Stan Hawkes; Stock Auction, Paul Lines; Kangaroo Court, Boots and Saddles Club.

       Stock Producer:  Harry Rowell, famed Intermountain rodeo stock operator.  “He had a horse named Scene Shifter, a famous bucking horse, and he had two of the best pick-up horses that ever came to Preston.  One of them he called Old guts, a horse that weighed 1400 pounds.”[86]       

      Announcer:  Not reported

       Clown:  Homer Holcomb and Parkyar Karkass, his trained mule (see sidebar, right)

         Specialty Acts:  Roy S. Howard “Calgary Red” – rope walker and rope tricks; Dick Griffeth, world champion cowboy and trick rider; Lloyd Husts and his trick collie dogs;           Bernice Taylor, world champion trick rider; Chet and Juanita Howell – trick riding and roping; Alice Greenough – lady bronc rider

      Purse:  $1400

       Rodeo Winners:  Not reported

       Horse Pull Winners:  Light weight – Hobbs Brothers of Preston, first; George Spence of Richmond, second; and Theo Bell of Mink Creek, third.

       Middleweight:  Morgan Benson of Weston first; George Spence of Richmond, second; Huck Miles of Grace, third.

      Heavyweight:  Douglas Wright of Franklin, first; Theo Bell of Mink Creek, second.

[86] Interview, Stan Hawkes, in Cache Valley Newsletter No. 82, edited by Newell Hart, August 1975, p. 9

Left to right:  Shirley Whitehead, attendant; Joyce Keller, Queen; and Harriot Gilbert, attendant.  Picture courtesy of the Larsen-Sant Library Local History Project collection.

Ted Allen

The 21st Famous Preston Night Rodeo

The 18th Famous Preston Night Rodeo

Rodeo ad from the Preston Citizen, July 27, 1950, p. 19

The 1st Preston Nite Rodeo

     Gentle in picture. . .wild and tough in action—might well describe these placid-looking Brahmas—they’ve got glints in their eyes that spell thrills for fans and spills for wow=waddies at Preston’s fourth annual “famous night rodeo.”  Stock is furnished by the Hillside Rodeo Company for the “west’s best nights.

Edna Palmer, 1937 Rodeo Queen

       Producers:  Haslam and Hutchinson, Hillside Rodeo Co. [225]

       Announcer:  Genial Jack Oakey[226]

       Clowns:  not reported

       Specialty Acts:  Faye Kirkwood, dressage horse; and Danny Ramberg’s Roman ride.  Three other acts were contracted but not reported.  Ramberg’s act advertised “breathtaking stunts that have audiences spellbound everywhere this group has appeared.”[227] Faye Kirkwood and her dressage horse—Crown Jewel—“whirls, waltzes, cake walks and rhumbas to perfect tempo.  Horse and rider   Miss Kirkwood’s fabulous wardrobe is valued at over $50,0000.”[228]


      Purse:  “$2,625, averaging $525 for each standard event.  All entry fees will be added to the pure and every dollar won in competition here will count one point in the standings for the annual world’s championships.”[229]

      Winners:  Not reported

A whole town cooperating to put on the west’s best show[70]

The Preston show beats anything I’ve seen in the state.[95]  Arizona visitor

Roy S. Howard from Los Angeles, CA, "one of the country's most renown rope experts. He walks the rope in all kinds of positions, spins them, throw them, whirls them and every other imaginable contortion one might possibly do with the rope."  Picture courtesy of the Preston Citizen, July 8, 1943, p. 1.

Faye Kirkwood and her dressage horse.  Pictures courtesy of the Preston Citizen, July 19, 1956, pages 1 and 4.

Car promoting the rodeo.  Left is Tom Bowden.

Dick Griffeth, PRCA Photo from www.wikipedia.com

1951 Rodeo Queen Sharon Beckstead

Edna Palmer and attendants, 2, 3, and 4 from left, Elda Carlson, hostess 5th from left, and the airplane they rode in, prize for winning the rodeo queen contest. 

All pictures courtesy of Linda R. Carlson.

Figure 1 1950 royalty for the rodeo left to right: Joan Follett, Treasureton, attendant; Vaunda Oliverson, Franklin, queen; and Shirley Moser, Preston, attendant.  Nine young women competed.  Picture courtesy of the Preston Citizen, July 20, 1950, p. 1. 

Queen Sharon Beckstead is shown above, flanked by her attendants, Loraine Pilkington and Lois Meyers.  Voting was conducted and supervised by the Preston Boots and Saddle Club, which also gave away a fine saddle horse and complete riding outfit won by Spencer Condie.  The Rodeo Queens will lead the parade preceding the rodeo and the grand entry and will be introduced each evening in the rodeo-arena.

Photo by Anderson Studio as printed in the Preston Citizen

The 12th  Annual Preston Night Rodeo

The rodeo parade (circa 1940-41) attracted big crowds even though it was held at 1:30 in the afternoon. 

Picture courtesy of the Franklin County Citizen, August 21, 1941, p. 12, Rodeo Edition.

In 1936, Emil Petterborg, Jack Ferscher and Earl McClurg built the first chutes.  Harold Swift supervised the installation of the lights.  “At first there was just one chute and later they added more.  I think they built the first corrals and the first chute for the first night rodeo”.[33]    

     “In 1946 we built the new chutes and started the new arena.  Richter of the wild horse stock had a son-in-law, a logger, that built the new arena, the corrals, and chutes.  Made them out of green poles.  He hired Que Thatcher to skin poles for him.  This work was done when I was on the rodeo committee.  Slim Whittle and I helped.  Occasionally they brought in other help—Bill Davis, Earl McClurg, Dan Swainston and so on.  This went on until Ed Crockett retired.”  Of course this work went on for years.  The poles were gradually replaced by steel and cable.  Same with the seats, only steel and boards.”[34]
[33] Letters from Earl McClurg, in Cache Valley Newsletter No. 82, edited by Newell Hart, August 1975, p. 7-8; plus Interview with Stan Hawkes, p. 8.
[34] Interview with Stan Hawkes, quoted in Cache Valley Newsletter No. 82, edited by Newell Hart, August 1975, p. 8 

1952 Rodeo Queens:  Lois Meyer, attendant; Shirley Moser, queen; Faye Swainston, attendant

The Horse Show[38]

     Mel Reeves came to Preston in 1935 for Texaco.  He was busy in horse activities.  He helped promote the Boots and Saddles Club and originated the name.  He helped promote the first horse shows and we had two polo clubs going the first summer he was here—the Preston boys and the Whitney boys.

     Ed Crockett was chairman of the rodeo and Stan Hawkes was chairman of the horse show.  “We had it for six years consecutively.  We had some of the best horse shows in the intermountain country.  The first one was in the afternoon—in front of the old grandstand.  We got Jimmy Dunn up from Ogden for a judge.  The rest were at night in connection with the rodeo.  We used to have one night of horse show and two nights of rodeo.

     “We improved the horse show each year.  We got to the point where we had all classes—jumping horses, high-tail horses, five-gaited, three-gaited, combination horses, halter classes, trail class, and stock horse classes.

     “Once we tried putting on the show during the rodeo— between acts.  But we discovered that rodeos and horse shows don’t mix too well.  When people are in a frame of mind for a rodeo they don’t want to sit and watch a slow horse show.

     “Like a lot of things, you can expect ups and downs.  We had some great shows, some great years.  By the end of the 1940s the horse show had gone downhill.  A lot of the guys were getting disgusted with high-tail horses, and they all wanted quarter horses.  So, we just let them have quarter horses and dropped the high tails.  We had some real good high tails in here.  We had them from Salt Lake, Provo, Springville, Idaho Falls, Billings.  Duffy Read brought his Tennessee Walking Horses from Twin Falls.  We had some beauties.

     “I’ve seen as many as 12-combination horses in that ring at once.  That means you show them under the saddle, then you hook them in a little buggy and show them under the harness—five gaited.  We brought judges from Denver a couple of times.  One year we had three American recognized judges for that show.  There was a lady, another guy, and Mel Reeves.  Mel Reeves also got to be a recognized judge.

     Newspaper reporting on the Annual Fair and Roundup is scant. Following is what could be found in the Franklin County Citizen:

1923 – Held September 28 and 29, automobile races and aeroplane stunts were advertised as entertainment.[39]  After the first three years, the fair joined hands with the roundup and it was called the Franklin County Roundup and Fair Association.

1924 – Even with most businesses contributing a total of $1,480, and $32.17 left over from 1923, the fair and roundup had a deficit of $77.00[40]

1927 - Held September 9 and 10, the big entertainment events were boxing matches:  Ed Shepherd vs. Jess Hullinger; and Red Downs vs. Buck Turner.  The Zeiger shows and carnival were also advertised.[41]

1928 – There was no fair, and the newspaper reported “very poor patronage at the roundup.  Several events were close to the world’s record.  Riders were of first class and the horses were real kickers.”[42]

        A different committee took charge each year—with Thee Petterborg in charge of the Roundup until1936. That was the year that the Chamber of Commerce conceived the idea of lighting up the grounds and having a night rodeo which was very successful.   The original committee--with the exception of George Mitchell--continued to attend the rodeo after it changed hands.  They were all big rodeo fans.”[43]

[38] Interview with Stan Hawkes, in The Cache Valley Newsletter, edited by Newell Hart, August 1975, p.10                       [39] The Franklin County Citizen, August 29, 1923, p. 18                                                          [40] The Franklin County Citizen, July 23, 1924
[41] The Franklin County Citizen, August 31, 1927, p. 1                                                                                                                                  [42] The Franklin County Citizen, September 12, 1928, p. 4                                                   [43] The Franklin County Citizen, August 28, 1941, p. 4

 INTERVIEW WITH STAN HAWKES:[44]   Ed [Crockett] started as chairman, I believe, around 1935-36.  He took over the chairmanship of the rodeo and he was the Daddy of the night rodeo.

     “Ed Crockett was president of the Chamber of Commerce in 1932—that’s the year he married Della.  Headquarters were upstairs in the old Stevens Hall.  The committee had been mulling this thing around, trying to improve the rodeo, during those years before the night rodeo.”

     In an interview with Dick Bowden by Gary Rawlings, editor of the Preston Citizen, Bowden said holding the rodeo at night was his idea.  When Bowden was mayor of Preston (1935), he and some others went up to the Henry Stampede to see about working out an accommodation---like Preston and Soda Springs alternating on a big one very other year. The guys up there wouldn’t even talk about it. At that time the Annual Henry Stampede and Stockmen’s Reunion, as it was called, was a big thing.  Preston was nothing.

     It had been so hot and miserable up at the show, and it was still hot riding home, that Bowden wondered why they couldn’t get away from the heat by holding the rodeo at night.  He brought up the subject there in the car as they were riding home.  As soon as they got back to Preston they talked to Harold Swift and the other power company guys about it. 

Stan Hawkes: “I imagine Ed Crockett and possibly Thee Petterborg went.  Maybe Fuzzy Rowell and Earl McClurg.

     “It had been known as the Preston Roundup—or the Fair and Roundup—until Mel Reeves came to town.  He came in the winter of 1935-36 for Texaco.  The atmosphere was just right for a change.  We had lots of horse action around.  Mel Reeves was busy in horse activities.  He helped promote the Boots and Saddles Club and he originated the name.  He helped promote the first horse shows.  We had two polo clubs going the first summer he was here—the Preston boys and the Whitney boys.  And of course, we were all real interested in the rodeo.  Mel originated that name also—The Famous Preston Night Rodeo.  The first night rodeo was such a whale of a success—well, it was the first in the Intermountain country, maybe the first in the nation, I’m not sure.”[45]

     “The first night baseball game, as I understand it, was only the year before—1935 in Cincinnati—so that’s about the time such things were happening.  But at the time we didn’t think about the Preston night rodeo being historic—we all thought of it as something of an experiment, an experiment that worked.

     “Earl McClurg was secretary of the Chamber of Commerce at that time.  In letters to Newell Hart in 1973 and ’74 he recalled, “We had piddled around with a daytime rodeo for years.  Ed Crockett was president and Emil Petterborg, Theo Petterborg, Harold Swift, Laud Wright, Andrew Nash, Jim Bullock, Tom Heath…and many others too numerous to mention, were some of the star performers in staging the first episode of the Preston Famous Night Rodeo.  Emil Petterborg, Jack Ferchner and I built the first chutes.  Harold Swift supervised the installation of the lights. I believe this was the first night rodeo to come off in this part of the country.  Soon after, other cities followed suit.”

A cowboy “bit the dust” during the 1921 Preston Roundup.  The announcer’s stand, complete with megaphone for announcing riders, is at left.  Picture from the Preston Citizen 50th Anniversary Preston Night Rodeo edition, p. 4.  Courtesy of Douglas S. Webb

Preston High School Band readies for the rodeo parade.  Picture courtesy of the Preston Citizen, May 31, 1956, p. 1

   The first Preston Roundup was held in September of 1921.  In order to recapture the excitement in Preston at that time, the romanticized media hype is included here in its entirety:[14] 

     Preston is to stake a wild west rodeo, or in other words it is to be one of the great frontier days “Round-ups” with cowboys, cowgirls, bucking broncos, bull dogging steers, horse racing, and everything that goes to make these affairs a success.

     Recently one was held at Henry, Idaho, [Soda Springs area] at which three thousand people or more were present.  According to the newspaper, it was “one grand two-days feast of excitement and real frontier life.”

     The same is to be played in this city two days in the early part of next month.  You will find thrills galore in this entertainment.  Prominent citizens of this city who saw it at Henry, decided that it would be a good thing to bring here.  This leads to the foundation of a Preston Annual Roundup Association which as the years go by will develop greatly with a fair in connection.

[14] Franklin County Citizen, August 17, 1921, p. 1

War bond quota board for individual towns

     Continuing, Bob commented that after the rodeo, a big crowd of rodeo fans met at Paul’s Café in downtown Preston to celebrate and talk about rodeo highlights, the winners and anything else that interested the fans.  The café was run by Paul Merrill and his fry cook was Irv Maddox who eventually moved to Brigham City and started Maddox Ranch House (1949).  Bob went to school with the Maddox kids.   

      “My dad and I walked into Paul’s and there were Monty Montana!  My dad introduced me to him, and I thought my dad must be the greatest man alive to know such a big star.”[48]  [Jack Anderson didn’t actually know Montana; he just recognized him and knew his son would love to meet him.]

[44] Interview with Stan Hawkes, in the Cache Valley Newsletter No. 82, edited by Newell Hart, August, 1975, pp. 7-8                                                                  [45] Interview, Stan Hawkes, in Cache valley Newsletter No. 82, edited by Newell Hart, August 1975, p. 8                   [46] Ibid. p. 8                                                        [47] Interview, Earl McClurg, in Cache Valley Newsletter No. 82, edited by Newell Hart, August 1975, p. 7-8                                                                               [48] Interview, Bob Anderson, age 93, May 20, 2020, Preston, Idaho

Weather:  Bad weather reduces gate.  Performances threatened by wind and rain.  Rain threw a damper on the only parade and threatened Friday’s rodeo. Good weather prevailed on Saturday.[107]

Arena:  local businessmen met to clean up the arena, cut weeds, stencil seat numbers, etc.

Dates:  August 5, 6, 7

Grand Entry Time:  8:00

Ticket Prices:  not reported, but there were complaints that they were too high.[108]  Ticket sales were at Hart Brothers Music

Profit:  The horse show and rodeo were in the red, partly due to bad weather and partly due to the horse show making the rodeo too long.  The horse show cost $3,000.[109]

Attendance:  Attendance was not reported, but it was down Thursday and Friday nights because of bad weather.

Cowboys Participating:  It was reported that the cowboys who followed Richer were “fixed financially.”  These were cowboys who owned their own big ranches and followed the rodeo for fun and diversion.[110]

Queens:  Fifteen-year-old Mary Swainston, sophomore at PHS from Winder, queen; Relda Smith, Riverdale; Joyce Whitehead, Franklin; Meredith Hogan, Thatcher; and Melva Taylor, Dayton; attendants.  These girls were winners of their district competition.  At the final competition they were judged on riding ability, personality, character, and beauty.[111]

Parades:  6:00, Thursday night only.  Dan Swainston and Lee Hansen were in charge.  Parade route started on 100 West, moved east on Oneida, south on 200 East to 200 South, West on 200 South to State Street, north to 200 North to the rodeo grounds.  The parade included floats, eight riding groups *Minidoka County Posse brought 40 horses and riders, and a $200 prize was given to the best posse.[112]

Promotional Activities
:  Horse show at the rodeo (most judging done in the afternoon, 3 classes per night judged from the winners[113]), kangaroo court and hoosegow for those downtown without western dress, a “stiff punishment” promised;[114] Monte Young carnival[115], a western dance at Brookside sponsored by the American Legion and the rodeo committee.  A prize was given for the most typical Western outfit.[116]  In 1948, those who owned a horse were encouraged to ride to work.  A hitching post corral was provided in the center of the business district.  “Parking meter fees will not be assessed.”[117]

Memory:  Bob Anderson recalls what happened to him at this rodeo.  “I had just returned from serving in the navy for a year in Manilla.  My family never missed the rodeo, so I went with them in my navy uniform.  Rulon Dunn from Preston had taken over the announcer’s job.  There was a drawing for a complete horse getup:  saddle, bridle, etc. everything you would need to ride a horse.  Well, my mother won the drawing.  Rulon could see me sitting in the stands and asked me to come and get it for her, so I walked across the arena to get it.  Rulon commented that I had only been home from the war for a day.  Harold Christensen and the Preston High School band were in the arena waiting to perform, and as I walked back across the arena with the saddle and all that gear over my shoulder, they began to play “Anchors Aweigh.”  I thought that was a nice tribute to a navy man newly returned from the service, until I figured out that they were keeping time with my footsteps.  If I slowed down, they slowed down; if I went faster, they went faster.  Then I was embarrassed.”[118]  


          General Chairman:  Merlin “Slim” Whittle 

          Committee:  William A. Davis, Dan Swainston, Stanton Hawkes, E. A. Crockett, A. L. Bambrough.[119]

Speeding cyclist, probably a specialty act, in front of the old Grandstand.  Picture taken from the 1985 Preston Citizen 50th Anniversary booklet for the Preston Night Rodeo, p. 5.  Courtesy of Douglas S. Webb.

Dates:  August 1, 2, 3 (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. [Because people who wanted tickets were turned away last year, the show was extended to a third night.  Handicapped by the war, the committee moved the dates of the rodeo to mid-week instead of the weekend so that the Preston Rodeo dates would not conflict with other rodeos, making it possible for more cowboys to attend.)

Grand Entry Time
:  9:00 p.m.

Ticket Prices:  $1.20 for reserved seats; .90 general admission and .27 children.  (Ticket prices reflected the addition of a 10% increase in the Federal Wartime Amusement Tax.  Since the tax was increased from 10% to 20% of the gate, ticket prices had to be raised in order for the rodeo committee to meet their bills.)  The committee made $3,000 profit which was invested in war bonds with plans to use the money to improve the rodeo facilities when the war was over.

Attendance:  16,000 people over three nights—about 5300 per show

Cowboys Participating:  65

Queens:  Queen, Basileu, Weston;

Attendants, Margaret Hobbs, Linrose and Alice Bosworth, Preston.

The queen contest was only open to Franklin County residents. 

The queen won $20 and the attendants won $15.

Parades:  not reported


        Chairman:  Mayor Ed Crockett         

        Stock Producer:  R. A. Richter, Bozeman, Montana.   Commented Stan Hawkes, “They called Richter “Wild Horse Richter” because he always had a mess of wild horses they couldn’t handle.  They weren’t halter broke. The pick-up men couldn’t get them out of the arena, couldn’t get ahold of them. It slowed down the show.  You wouldn’t think a wild horse would slow things down, but they do.  A regular bucking horse, once they get hold of them, they are easy to handle.

But with a wild horse that’s when the trouble begins.  They came off the Dillon Mountain up there, wild runners right out of the old Mustang stock.  Richter’s big business was getting these wild horses and bucking them in a show or two and then selling the one’s that proved out.  He was using Preston as a training ground.”[87]

          Announcer:  John Jack Jordon, famous Texas cowboy and announcer

          Clowns:  Early on, Slim Pickins and Fess Reynolds were announced as the clowns, but just before the rodeo, Frank Chitwood was pictured in the newspaper.[88]   

          ​Specialty Acts:  Bruce Wallace and the Preston Airport air show; The Marine combat Team from Pocatello, Idaho (“performance in jungle warfare” which included jui jitsu and knife fighting.)  Billy Hammond and his palomino horse trick rider. 

          Purse:  $2500


           Best All Around Cowboy:  Homer Pettigrew - $25 bonus

                   Steer Wrestling:  Homer Pettigrew, 8.5 seconds

                   Saddle Bronc Riding:  Buster Ivory

                   Calf Roping:  N. A. Pittock, 34.7 seconds

                   Cow Milking:  Dick Anderson, 29.1 seconds

                   Steer Wrestling:  Homer Pettigrew

                   Bareback Riding:  Dick Farnsworth

                   Bull Riding:  Bob Estes

[87] Interview, Stan Hawkes, in Cache Valley Newsletter No. 82, edited by Newell Hart, August 1975, p. 8                                                                                    [88] The Preston Citizen, July 25, 1944, p. 1.​​

 Sergene Andra, center, queen of the 1949 rodeo.  Attendant’s names are not given.  Notice the wooden railings, and the fans dressed in Sunday best. 

Photo courtesy of Larry Andra, Sergene’s brother.

Miss Cherry Shuter, of footlights fame, appears dwarfed beside giant rockets, part of a new pyrotechnics show to be fired in Preston after the August. 19 Night of Rodeo.  Picture courtesy of Preston Citizen, August 9, 1939, p. 3

The committee endorsed a limited scale rodeo in keeping with wartime curtailments.


          General Chairman:  not reported

            Committee:  Keith Larson, queen contest; Lee Hansen and Earl Morton, parade

            Stock Producer:  J. C. “Doc” Sorenson

       Announcer:  Pete Logan, inducted into the pro-rodeo hall of fame in 1996.        




1953 Rodeo Royalty, left to right:  Sondra Beckstead, attendant, Preston; Sally Sant, queen, Grace; and Doreen Henderson, attendant, Swan Lake.  Picture courtesy of the Preston Citizen, July 23, 1953.

Dates: August 21 (Horse Show); August 22 & 23, (Rodeo)

Grand Entry Time: 8:00

Ticket Prices:  not reported

Profit:  not reported

Attendance:  1,000 added seats boosted the seating capacity to

7,200.   Over 14,000 people attended over 2 nights: 3,000 at

horse show

Cowboys Participating:  55[82]

Queens: determined by popular vote – Ardis Hansen, Queen;

Gloria Wilcox and Ida Winward, Attendants.  A big Western

dress-up ball was held at the Persiana, July 9, where the

rodeo queens were announced

Parade:  6:00 -   included the rodeo queens, high school and

Jr. high school bands, city, rodeo and fair officials, cowboys

and cowgirls, commercial floats. 

Additional Activities:  Carnival and Berl Francis’ concessions on lot north of 1st North and State; Bike Parade; Fourth Annual Horseshow (Children’s pony event, Jumpers, Halter class, Novice Stock Horses, 5 and 3-gaited open, Ladies Western Pleasure Horses, matched pairs and hunter class) in conjunction with the Franklin County Fair and Flower Show (held in the basement of the courthouse, featured three speakers).  Rodeo Value Days “with a real roundup of merchandise bargains” was sponsored by the merchants’ bureau of the Preston Chamber of Commerce.  “Rodeo values will abound.”

      Monday, August 4 was designated the day to wear rodeo regalia.  Two items of apparel were requested including rodeo ties, kerchiefs, vests, boots, rodeo hats, rodeo shirts.  “Vigilantes” would “arrest” people who were not appropriately dressed.  “Those who fail to cooperate are subject to fine by the Kangaroo court set up by the committee.” 


       Chairman:  E. A. Crockett

       Committee:  Secretary - M. M. Reeves; Stan Hawkes, Horseshow; J. Homer Johnson, Ralph Strub, Harvey Bickmore and Angus Condie, finances; J. Homer Johnson, Paul Lines, Harold Swift Ray Taylor and Angus Condie, publicity; Earl Hutchinson, Arena Director;[83] Chase Kearl and G. L. Wright, fair; W. E. Crane, Flower Show, Ernest Britenbaker and the merchant’s bureau of the Preston Chamber of Commerce, Parade.



      Stock Producer:  Hutchinson Felt’s Hillside Rodeo Stock of Ogden, Utah

      Announcer:  Russell “Jack” Oakie

      Pick-up Men:  Gene Leavitt and Clayton Hogan

      Specialty Acts:  Dick Griffeth – trick rider and roper; Elmer Holcomb, his mule Winnemuck, and his bull chariot; Frank (whips) and Bernice Dean, trick riding and roping; Hollis Harker, trained dogs; Trixie McCormack, trick riding “she is to rodeo what Betty Grable is to the movies.); and Alice Nesbett and her “educated” horse.[84] 

The rodeo opened with a liberty quadrille of 16 palomino horses belonging to John Adams of Promontory, Utah, ridden by Box Elder County youth. A liberty act meant that no ropes or bridles were used.

     ​Clown:  Elmer Holcomb

      Purse:  not reported

      Rodeo Winners:

       Friday:            Bareback Riding:  Lex Crawford, Meeker, Co. Bulldogging: 

Harry Hart, Pocatello, Idaho; Calf roping:  Harry Hart, Pocatello,

Idaho;Brahma Bull Riding:  Ned Feraro.

       Saturday: Bareback Riding:  Jimmie McGee; Bulldogging:  Ted Meese;  

Bronc Riding:  Lex Crawford;       Calf Roping:  Delmar Acey;

Brahma Bull Riding:  Dick Griffeth 

[82] 1941 Sixth Annual Famous Nite Rodeo Program, courtesy of Kris Beckstead                  
[83] 1941 Rodeo Program, courtesy of Kris Beckstead​                                      [84] Ibid.

       As far as the racetrack was concerned, Mr. Simmons reported that in 1935 when he moved to Preston, a poorly kept race track circled the area where baseball was played.  Mr. Simmons was told that it had to be there since it was a provision made when the land was given to the city.  At the time of the election some of the old timers reminded Mr. Horland of the agreement.[8]
[6] Letters from Horland Simmons, printed in the Cache Valley Newsletter No. 90, by Newell Hart, April 1976, p. 7.                [7] Ibid.      [8] Ibid.       

     Also in the newspaper was a letter to Jack Dew (stock producer and manager of special acts) from Monty Montana:

Queen Shirley Ann Gibbs, center; Sharon Spackman, left; ReNae Porter, right; 

A. L. “Snowy” Stocks presenting prize money, far right..

The Trailblazer credits l. to r. Elmer Merrill, Joe Luthy, Theo ”Thee” Petterborg, Tom Boyle, and George T. Mitchell (not pictured) as the organizers of the first Preston Roundup.  They sponsored the rodeo from 1921-1923.  Picture from Larsen-Sant Library Local History Collection.

Many cowboy terms will be in vogue during the days of the Famous Nite Rodeo in Preston this Friday and Saturday.  These terms include:

     Bicycling – the act of scratching with first one foot and then the other in the manner of riding a bicycle.

     Blowing a Stirrup – losing stirrup, which disqualifies rider.

     Bronc – Mexican word for “mean.”  In cowboy talk, a vicious, unbroken horse.

     Bucking, buck-jumping, pitching - - the gyrations of a bronc in trying to unseat a rider.

     Bull-dogger – a steer wrestler, or steer wrestling; the throwing of a steer by a his horns in a rodeo event.

     Cavy – saddle horses on a round-up.

    Chaps – the leather or half leggings worn by the cowboy to protect his limbs from thorns or fain.

     Chuck Wagon – rangeland cafeteria which follows the round-up and to which the cowboys come for their meals.

     Crow-hops – a term contemptuously applied to mild bucking motions.

     Dog-fall – putting a steer down with its feet under him.

     Eating gravel – being thrown from a bucking bronc or wild steer.

     Foot footing – catching an animal by the feet with rope in order to throw same for handling.

     Grabbin’ the apple – grabbing the horn of the saddle

     Gypping – detective

     Hobbled – stirrups – stirrups tied down under the horse’s belly.

     Hoolihaning – act of leaping forward and alighting on the horns of a steer in bull-dogging in manner to knock the steering the animal down with a wrestling hold.

     Jughead – foolish horse.

     Losing a stirrup – pulling the foot out of a stirrup while keeping the feet moving in a kicking motion in compliance with contest bronc riding rules.

     Mail-order cowboy – a tender foot in custom-made cowboy regalia and devoid of  range experience.

     Man-killer – a wild horse with homicidal mania, that strikes at mounted or unmounted men.

     Maverick – Unbranded stray; a term well known in ranch country.

     Nose-bag – a canvas receptacle for holding horse feed, strapped to the animal’s nose.

     Pulling leather – holding on to the saddle with the hands while riding a bucking animal, prohibited by the rules of all contests.

     Scratching – the act of keeping the feet moving in a kicking motion in riding bnucking animals, and one of the acts necessary to win at any real contest.

     Screwing – down into the act of sinking spurs into the girth while riding bucking motion as provided in the rules.

     Sougan – a part of the equipment of the cowboy’s bed and is similar to the ordinary quilt or comforter.”[92]

[92] The Preston Citizen, 1956

Recreational Park

     All the summer attractions, including many ‘firsts’, were at the park:  a car exhibition, planes, stunts, and [hot air] balloons.  There was an ad in a 1916 Franklin County Citizen about an “aeroplane demonstration”.  The pilot was quoted as having boundless faith in the possibilities of aviation.  Patrons were promised that ticket money would be refunded if the aeroplane failed to get off the ground.[12]
     Lucile Ballif Croft recalls that the first plane came to town on a flat car and was pulled by horses from the depot up First West … to the park.  Stan Hawkes describes the first plane:  “I remember the first plane that came to town.  It could have been on the 4th of July.  Two fellows had it out to the ballpark.  It was where the rodeo arena is now—maybe just a little east.  These guys got all gussied up in their dusters and fancy gloves and goggles.  Then they wound that old thing up and finally it took off.  They just barely flew up over the fence and lit over in Alma Larson’s hayfield.  That was the size of the flight.”[13]

 Annual Fair and Roundup

     In 1921, both newspapers—Ed Strong’s Preston News and Watkin Roe’s Franklin County Citizen—had accounts of the new ‘Roundup’ that was beginning.  It partnered with the Franklin County Fair and in the years following it became known as the “Annual Fair and Roundup.”

[12] Cache Valley Newsletter No. 82, edited by Newell Hart, August 1975, p. 2                                                       [13] Interviews, Lucile Croft and Stan Hawkes, in Cache Valley Newsletter No. 82, edited by Newell Hart, August,     1975,  p. 2

NEWELL HART, PRESTON LOCAL HISTORIAN: “The Famous Preston Night Rodeo grounds have been a place of laughter, competition, activity and amusement for county residents for over 100 years.  Previous to the rodeo, it was the site of the old racetrack, the ballpark, the fairgrounds, a recreational park, and the rodeo grounds.  In the 1920s it was where Preston played football”.[1]

[1] “40th Anniversary of the Famous Night Rodeo,” in Cache Valley Newsletter No. 82, by Newell Hart, August 1975, p. 1

Dates:  August 1, 2, 3

Time:  9:00

Ticket Prices:  $1.00, general admission; $1.50 reserved seats; $2.40, box seats

Profit:  enough to pay for the new arena and bleachers

Unique Publicity:  Cliff Warr and Mel Reeves from the Preston Chamber of Commerce attended the Pendleton, Oregon Convention in June.  They took butter cubes marked “Dewcrest” from the Franklin County Dairyman’s Association, and small bags of sugar used as favors from the Franklin County sugar growers.  “They were the most popular duo at the convention.”  Many problems were ironed out with peacetime conduct of rodeos.

Attendance:  8100 seats; 10,000 spectators, the highest attendance ever in the eleven years of night rodeo.   A new system of flood lights was added, and the arena was relocated to the west side of the park so that they were entirely out of the way of the ball grounds.   The orientation was north to south with the chutes and corrals on the north.  Wild bucking horses, steers, bulls, etc. were to have their own corrals “which expedited the conduct of the show immensely.”  Orval Homes from Norris, Montana did the improvements along with the additional wooden bleachers.  Eight box seats with 10 chairs each were added over the chutes, and twenty-four box seats with six chairs each were added the east and west sides.    Said Doc Sorenson, producer: “The Preston layout appears the most compact and easy operating that I have seen anywhere.”

Cowboys Participating:  47, the largest number of cowboys ever, coming from every western state.[93]

Dates:  August 6 and 7, 1945

Grand Entry Time:  9:00 p.m.

Ticket Prices:  Reserved tickets, $1.00; General Admission, $.75; Children under 12, $ .25.

Profit:  $2,000 which was turned into war bonds.  These were the property of the rodeo

commission and would be used to further the show in coming years.  $18,000 in war

bonds and taxes were accrued to Uncle Sam from the Preston Night Rodeo. 

Attendance:  12,000 – 5600 on Friday and 6500 on Saturday

Cowboys Participating:  not reported

Parade:  Under the direction of Russell Crockett and Rulon Dunn. 

Line-up at rodeo grounds at 6:30; Parade starts at 7:00.  Military

band and units from Hill Field, Utah including 76 marching soldiers,

jeeps, trucks, amphibious jeeps, 37mm AA mounted guns, P39 and

B24 planes, camouflaged float, and a mobile kitchen.  The unit also

held concerts in the park and held a bond auction for the war. Rodeo

Cowboys, horses and local floats also participated with 10,000 people

viewing the parade. 

Promotional Activities:  Franklin County Fair, horse pulls, bicycle racing, midnight show at the Grand, Pony Polo, cowboy dances Friday and Saturday night at the Persiana.[53]

Midway:  Monte Young’s Rides and Shows, one block north of city center.[54]


     Parades have been related to the rodeo since it first started in 1921.  They have been held at various times (11:00 a.m. in the beginning) and taken various routes through town but were always held right before the rodeo.  When the rodeo moved to a nighttime, the parade moved its time also.

This picture is from the box of Chamber of Commerce pictures salvaged by Fred Titensor.  The parade is moving west between 100 East Oneida and State Street.   Building identification  courtesy of Necia Seamons in Images of America, Preston, p. 45:  Top left is the Central School, no post office, Dr. Cutler’s clinic building, now Preston Cleaners; Foss Brothers Furniture, and what is now the Bosen Building.     Remembered Stan Hawkes “I was parade chairman one year and we had a small problem.  A little storm came up.  It was blowing and carrying on like crazy for a little while.   I rode out to see if the cowboys were getting ready for the parade.  They weren’t.  I says, “What’s the matter?”     “Well, we decided it’s too stormy to parade.”

     I says, ‘Okay—no parade, no money.’  I’ll never forget that.  I rode off. And boy, those guys started to throw leather right now.  We had a good parade.  Not just cowboys either.  It was a lot of fun—we had three bands:  Logan, North Cache, and Preston.  The bands came in on the Interurban [train] and got off and paraded around town.  One went east and one went up through Main Street—an hour before the regular parade even started.  Really woke the town up.  We had seven riding clubs in action.  And with all that music, boy!”[37]
[37] The Preston Citizen, June 27, 1946, p. 1Ibid.

Queens:  Six girls were nominated for Rodeo Queen:  Kinnie Weaver, Elna Jensen, Gwen Nielsen, Bertha Berquist, Virginia Sant and Usa Dunkley; later Edna Palmer put her name in.[64]  The winner was selected by popular vote at a rodeo dance in the Persiana Ballroom. “Edna Palmer was my mother,” relates Linda Richards Carlson. “Before Reed and I came along, mother’s hostess was Elda Carlson, Reed’s mother. 

         Carlson explained how the voting worked.  “To vote for the rodeo queen, people received coupons wherever they spent money in Preston, a coupon for each $.25.  The name of your choice for queen candidate was written on the coupon and all of the coupons were then submitted to the rodeo queen committee.  So, the more money you spent the better chance your choice for queen had of winning.  That year the dad of one of the candidates bought a new combine, so everyone assumed that his daughter would win the contest.  Imagine my mother’s surprise when her name was announced as the winner!”[65]

         “Mother told me,” continued Carlson, “that she won an airplane ride as a prize for winning the queen contest.  She said she was never so sick as on that plane ride.  Edna Palmer also recalled that contestants were assigned a horse for the contest and hers was a black stallion.  She had a “heck” of a time handling him, trying to get him to go into the arena, and was never so glad to get off a horse as at the end of the contest.”[66]
[64] Franklin County Citizen, July 21, 1937, p. 1                  [65] Interview, Linda Richards Carlson, May 22, 2020, Preston, Idaho                           [66] Ibid.

         Bill Head, another old-timer, recalled: “In those days there were a lot of horse lovers.   Cy Curtis had a pump shop.  They were all great sports.
Cy had a trotting horse, and Mr. Kent from Lewiston had a horse.  Mose Thatcher from Logan, and Mr. Smith from Logan, Phil West’s father-in-law, used to drive trotting horses.  Doke Beckstead had a team, a pair of roans, I think.  They had trotters, harness horses, pacers—everything.  Joe Dives had a couple of horses (Hambletonian pacers).  Jack Bosworth had a beautiful pulling team, Chief and Pilot.  At first all this was held at a track down in the 2nd ward—south of the old Fox Farm and west of Viney’s Pond and later the whole thing was moved up to the park.”[3]

     Stan Hawkes, Athene N. Hampton and Arlene Nash all remembered vividly that the old racetrack was a conditional gift to the city.  The condition was that it should always be used for either horse racing or horse-related activities or racing and public recreational activities—remembrances vary.[4]      The property was sold to the “Preston Park and Fair Association, a corporation, in 1907 by John and Anna Larson.  Amount of the sale was $4,600.  The mortgage was paid off in 1914 and those who signed the release were:  Hugh S. Geddes, John Larsen (as spelled), James Johnson, and J. C. Jensen.  It is possible that a donor or donors helped in paying this off and set up the conditional gift to the city of Preston at that time.”  Prominent names of donors mentioned were Joe Dives and Joe Perkins.  Two of the three interviewed (Hawkes, Hampton and Nash) recalled that at one time officials wanted to build a school in the park but were blocked by conditions of the gift.[5]

[3] Interview with Bill Head, in Cache Valley Newsletter No. 82, edited by Newell Hart, August 1975, p. 1
[4] Ibid; Interviews with Hawkes, Hampton and Nash, plus city and county offices information. 
​                        [5] Ibid. p. 1

Vodka, the unrideable horse, was featured at the 1946 Preston Night rodeo. 

Picture courtesy of the Preston Citizen, July 25, 1946, p. 14

Early Entertainment at the Roundup

       In an article in the Cache Valley Newsletter, Lucile Ballif Croft wrote a very detailed account of jitney polo, which is included in its entirety below.  The picture is from the Hometown Album.

  “Preston’s Famous Night Rodeo and Horseshow—the annual three-night attraction here each August—will be postponed for the duration, Preston Chamber of Commerce officials decided this week.  The decision followed the introduction, at a recent meeting, of a letter from the Office of civilian Defense asking if it would be possible to cancel the show which is one of the biggest of its kind in the west.  OCH officials hope that a temporary curb on such large gatherings will conserve rubber and time.  Already many of the biggest rodeos have been cancelled.  Officials say they appreciate support that has helped build the rodeo and that after the war, the show will be resumed “even better than before.”[85]
[85] The Franklin County Citizen

Dates:  July 31, August 1, 2[155]

Grand Entry Time:  8:00

Ticket Prices:  Not reported

 Profit:  Not reported

 Attendance:  Not reported

 Cowboys Participating:  Not reported

Queens:   Shirley Moser, Queen; Fae Swainston and Lois Meyer, Attendants.  Judges were from

Logan, Bloomington, and Malad.  Contestants were judged by “horsemanship, personality, and

riding poise. The queen contest included exhibition riding by the Boots and Saddles Club and

musical numbers by the Ralph Davis family.   Prizes included a trophy donated by Mr. and Mrs.

Nathan Thomas of Thomas Saddlery; $25 to the attendants from the Chamber of commerce, and $25 to the queen from Anderson Studios.[156]   Audience prizes included a saddle, riding boots, bridle, and a Western hat.[157]   The contest was open to anyone regardless of age.  Contestants were asked to wear Levis, a Western shirt and riding boots; Fancy Western wear and stallions were barred from the competition.[158]

Parades:  6:30

 Promotional Activities:  A children’s parade, again sponsored by the Lion’s club.  Harold Allen was again in charge of the Square Dance Jamboree.  Men were encouraged to enter a beard growing contest with prizes offered for the longest, the reddest, and the whitest.  Winners were not reported.[159]


         General chairman:  Virg Knudson

         Committee:  Joe Goff, Roy Peterson,

Alvin H. Beckstead, President, Chamber of

Commerce; and Russell Cranney [160]

         Stock Producer: Ray Skinner, Utah

         Announcer:  Jack Oakie

         Clowns:  Gene and Bobby Clark[161]

         Specialty Acts:  not reported

          Purse:  not reported

          Rodeo Winners:  not reported

[155] The Preston Citizen, July 24, 1952, p. 1
[156] The Preston Citizen, July 3, 1952, p. 1
[157] The Preston Citizen, July 3, 1952, p. 1
[158] The Preston Citizen, July 3, and June 19, 1952, p. 1

[159] The Preston Citizen, July 3, and July 31, p. 1
[160] The Preston Citizen, March 13, 1952, p. 4
[161] The Preston Citizen, July 31, 1951, p. 1

Bozeman man has toughest stock in the west.[106]

The 2nd Famous Preston Nite Rodeo

     I furnish two other boys besides myself in trick riding.   I guarantee these boys to be good.  They do head stands, shoulder stands, go under the belly and many other spectacular tricks.

      We have all new equipment, wardrobe, and transportation.  We have plenty of newspaper cuts, photographs and publicity material.

     I would like to work at Preston again this year and I know that my new acts would go over good.  I will put on all my acts for $350.  This includes four people and new matched pinto horses.  I know that if you would contract specialty acts from several different people instead of altogether as these, they would run into much more money than I am asking.

     Hoping that you are having a very successful season.  I hope I may hear from you as soon as possible.

     Yours truly, Monty Montana[68]
[68] The Franklin County Citizen, July 7, 1937, p. 8

   “The Indians were great entertainers at the roundups—they’d dance and appear in the parade.  Years later, when Stan Hawkes was on the committee (1946), he wanted to bring them back.  “I talked to Ed Crockett and we got in touch with Doc Sorensen and he booked up some more Indians from Fort Hal.  This time we didn’t give them a beef—we paid a flat fee to ride in the parade and do a little dancing in the arena.  These Indians were not participants in the rodeo, although there had been some very good Indian cowboys.

      “The Edmo brothers used to come down every year.  They were great riders and cowboys, and a wonderful family.  They were top calf ropers and riders. Bert Head saw Willie Edmo rope a calf in just over four seconds, officially.    

     “There was lots of fun at those roundups.  Thee Petterborg used to go out and try to catch a calf from his car.  He caught a steer once, too, from a horse.  He almost got himself hurt badly.  He was lucky.  He caught his steer and then his horse swung around, and the rope came around him, and before that steer got to the end of the rope Thee got his horse turned so that the rope didn’t tighten against him from the horn.  Boy, it could have mashed him.[21]

       “The Roundup used local people at first, then later cowboys came from all over.  They had the classiest cowboys you ever saw.  I never saw anything like that bunch. The stock that showed here always went to Madison Square Garden.  Not direct, but during the season.  Everett Coburn’s stock always went—and so did Earl “Doc” Sorenson’s.[22]

[21] All information from this page comes from an interview with Bill Head, quoted in the Cache Valley Newsletter No. 82, August 1975, p. 2-3                                          [22] Interview with Stan Hawkes, in Cache Valley Newsletter No. 82, by Newell Hart, August 1975, p. 5

Dear Friend: wrote to the rodeo headquarters at Preston, Idaho and received an answer telling me that they had a contract with you to furnish the livestock for their show this year and that you were working with them on the special acts.  They suggested that I write you and explain about my new acts and make a price.

     This year I am presenting some new acts with four reined pinto horses.  All four horses dance, lie down, sit up, etc. doing a spectacular menage act.  The four riders ride the four horses out abreast and put each horse through that routine—each horse doing the same trick at the same time.  Then I put on a liberty drill with these same four horses.  The drill is put on in a 35-foot ring

     I am using my four pinto horses in my horse catches this year and am putting on many new tricks.  For my opening trick, in trick roping I am standing on the center horse of three running horses and spinning the rope around all three horses on a fast fun.  I have also worked out many other new tricks.

take it.  I didn’t want it, so I talked him into taking it.  Dr. L. V. Merrill was president of the Chamber of Commerce, and he says, “Stan, this is your baby; you handle it.”  ​  “So I says to Ed in front of the group, ‘Ed, we’ve decided to accept your resignation and bestow upon you a permanent honorary chairmanship of the Preston Night Rodeo—and to be known as the Daddy of the Night Rodeo.’  I figured the title belonged to him.  He was the brains behind the whole thing. Slim took it and held it for two years.”[94]

“It seems peculiar that Franklin County can have perfect weather right up to the opening of the rodeo, and right after, but not during the event.”[125]

Weaver and Juanita Gray

Queens:     Judges were from Richmond.  Three thousand people were in attendance at the contest.  The Richmond Riders performed a square dance on horseback for entertainment.  The Boots and Saddles Club had a drawing for a saddle, bridle and martingale, which was won by Lowell Neeley.[127]   The

contest was open to anyone who wanted to compete; the only stipulation was that they could not ride stallions.[128]


           Chairman:  Ed Crockett, Daddy of the Preston Night Rodeo

            Committee:  Emil Petterborg, Theo “Thee” Petterborg, T. R. Bowden and Gene Dunbar, rodeo; James Hoggan, concessions; Ivan Goff, Dances; Harold Swift and Lewis Roe, Advertising and programs; H. L. Hawkes, Parades; cliff Warr, Finances; C. L. Jenkins and w. D. McClellan, grounds and lights.[55]  “The committees are making sure there is something going on all the time.”[56]

            Stock Producers:  Jack Dew and Harry Williams, “arrived in town last week with enough stock for two rodeos.  The boys said they wanted plenty so they can put on a good show.  You ought to take a ride out to the rodeo grounds and see the fine string.  Attracting the most interest is the purebred Brahma cattle; those cattle have a real hump on their back and how they can buck.  The little Scotch highland calf that was born during the rodeo at Idaho Falls is getting its share of attention—it’s about the cutest thing on four legs.”[57]

            Announcer: Not reported

            Clown:  Pinky Gist[58]

            Specialty Acts:  Monty Montana, trick rider and movie star, assisted by Christie LeRoy and is wife.    

            Purse:    Bronc Riding, $200; Bull Dogging, $140; Calf Roping, $140; Mount Money a ride in other events, $2; Entry fees and $100 from Chamber of commerce added for final money.

            Rodeo Winners:  Not reported

                        Steer riding was added to the events plus there were two lady bronc riders each night.  “Bring your girlfriend in and show her how it is done.”[59]

​[49] The Franklin County Citizen, August 19, 1936, p. 1                  [50] Cache Valley Newsletter No. 82, edited by Newell Hart, August 1975, p. 12
[51] The Franklin County Citizen, August 19, 1936, p. 1         52] Ibid.              [53] Ibid. 
​      [54] The Franklin County Citizen, August 19, 1936, p. 1
[55] The Franklin County Citizen, August 26, 1936, p. 1                  [56] Franklin County Citizen, August 19, 1936, p. 1                 [57] Ibid.
[58] Franklin County Citizen, August 12, 1936, p. 1                            [59] Franklin County Citizen, August 19, 1936, p. 1

Arena and Chutes

      Stan Hawkes was on the rodeo committee for ten to twelve years (circa 1938 to 1948).  Reminiscing, he said, “Preston’s rodeo had its start in a make-do arena [one side reportedly lined with automobiles] with local hands riding the stock.  They only had one chute—straight out from the old grandstand.  They made one or two sets of bleachers that they had for baseball.  They’d pull them in and out with the city patrol [police].  They had to be in a different place for baseball.  I’ve helped many a time.  For the rodeo they were on the north side and we’d fill in between the bleachers with snow fence.  The catch pen was down in the west end.  

The Rodeo Clown

Left, H. A. Richter, stock producer for the 1948 rodeo signs the contract with Merlin Whittle, right, general chairman of the rodeo. 

Picture courtesy of the Preston Citizen, April 8, 1948, p. 1 

Queens and Queen Contest:  Queen, Utauna Christensen, Grace;

Attendants, Ruth Hinkeroson, Preston; and Margene Mitton, Smithfield. 

The queen contest was held on June 30 and was open to women ages

14-30.  Former queens were not eligible to compete again. Boundaries

included Brigham City on the south, Montpelier on the east, McCammon

on the north, and Malad on the west.  A trophy for the queen was

donated by Thomas Saddlery.  Entertainment was providing by the

Preston High marching and baton corps, and the Boots and Saddles

and Sheriff’s Posses competing in barely racing and a relay race.[219]

Parades:  Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 6:30 p.m.[220] 

Thursday night:  The Rocky Mountain Dairy float won first place;

Franklin village queen float won second place, and Lewiston float

won third place.  Friday night, Rocky Mountain Dairy, first place;

Logan Chamber of Commerce, second place; Preston Chamber

of Commerce, third place.  Saturday winners were Rocky Mountain

Dairy, first place; Poultry Flat, second; and Preston Chamber of Commerce, third place.  Honorable mention went to Daughters of the Utah Pioneers.[221]

J. C. “Doc” Sorenson, stock producer, Rodeo Hall of Fame

     Another bit attraction they had was “Gravedigger” a bucking mare.  That was unusual a bucking mare.  She was a light blue and it’d just spin around, dig a hole.  That’s why it was called Gravedigger.  She used to scare the kids just to look at him.    It was a kind of dapple blue roan.  As I remember it would paw like a bull—dig a grave for you. When they’d get her in the chute her eyes would go red and she’d paw and carry on.  I guess that’s how she got her name. 

        The mare belonged to Walt Hogan from Gentile Valley.  It bucked around at the different rodeos.  And at that time A. C. Hull was mixed up with the Roundup, A.C. and Roy, and they wintered that horse, I think for two years. Tom Hull is well-acquainted with the horse.  He had an awful crush on it.  In fact, I think he rode it a little bit.  It could be ridden, only it was a bucking horse—put her in the chute and she’d really fire.[28]

     “They had racehorse corrals all along the road across from the Third Ward Church.     Roman Racers—they had Cavalry horses down from Grace.  Austin Merrill was in charge of that.  And Aussie would ride.   The most interesting races were those that the Indians put on.  Relay races.  Bare back.  The Indians never used saddles.  The rider would have three or four horses lined up at different places, then jump off one and onto another.  They had several riders for these races and each one, I think, had three horses.

    “Girls would ride--one rider on two horses.  They would ride bare-footed or stocking-footed so they wouldn’t slip.  The horses would run parallel.
[28] Cache Valley Newsletter No. 82, edited by Newell Hart, August 1975, p. 6

Preston’s rodeo is known over a pretty wide range of country because it keeps up the standard year after year.[178]

         Stock Producer:  R. A. Richter from Bozeman, Montana.  His stock was advertised as the

“toughest stock in the west.”  He brought “100 head of touch bucking horses, 25 mean brahma

bulls, 30 calves and plenty of steers for roping.”[120]

         Announcer:  Rulon Dunn?[121]

​         Clowns:  Slim Pickens, and Andy Womack, “the millionaire clown.”  Womack was a self-made

building contractor and left the business to become a rodeo clown.  Working at his craft for fifty years,

he worked with some of the best clowns in the business.[122]

         Specialty Acts:  Bernice Chandler, world champion trick rider; Fay Blessing, trick rider – one trick

was a Roman standing jump where she stood on three palominos, jumped over a barrier and through

a wall of flame; The Cabrells – one of their stunts was called the Statue of Liberty.  It featured a girl

holding a flag standing on the shoulders of two men standing on two racing horses.[123]

         New Feature:  Cutting horse competition.  The rider had two minutes to cut a steer out of the herd.  He was judged on his performance but also the performance of his horse.  85 points was the most points possible.

​         Purse:  $150 per event average

         Rodeo Winners:  not reported

[106] The Preston Citizen, July 29, 1948 p. 1                             [107] The Preston Citizen, August 12, 1948, p. 1                     [108]  Ibid.                                                        [109]  Ibid.                                                                  [110] The Preston Citizen, July 29, 1948, p. 1                               

[111] The Preston Citizen, July 15, 1948, p. 1                           [112] The Preston Citizen, July 29, 1948, p. 1                          [113] The Preston Citizen, July 22, 1948, p. 1                                  [114] The Preston Citizen, July 14, 1948, p. 1                                                 

[115] The Preston Citizen, April 8, 1948, p. 1                            [116] The Preston Citizen, July 29, 1948, p. 1                          [117] The Preston Citizen, July 15, 1948, p. 1                                  [118] Interview, Bob Anderson, age 93, May 20, 2020, Preston, Idaho 

 ​[119] The Preston Citizen, April 8, 1948, p. 1                          [120] The Preston Citizen, July 29, 1948, p. 1                          [121] Interview, Bob Anderson, age 93, May 20, 2020, Preston, Idaho                       [122] www.wikipedia.com/Andywomack.                 [123] Ibid.                                 

County Fair

     The first mention of adding a county fair to the grounds was in 1908.  According to the Preston village records, the town board discussed the idea which must have been held because this entry was made on January 5, 1909: “H. A. Head—services spec. police during Fair - $6.00.[9]   The county fair was held on and off for the next two decades.

Sports Park

    Everyone was baseball mad in those years.  Preston had a hard ball team that belonged to the Cache Valley League and won the championship a time or two.  As of 1909, Miles Parker—the derby-hatted OSL agent here—was the team manager. [10]  
Bob Anderson, age 93 in 2020, remembers watching his dad’s team play horse polo on those grounds.[11]

 [9] Cache Valley Newsletter No. 82, edited by Newell Hart, August 1975, p. 2          [10] Ibid. p. 2                   [11] Interview, Bob Anderson, age 93, May 20, 2020, Preston, Idaho.  

The Roy rogers Liberty horses performed in Preston with their trainer, Glen Randall.

1941 rodeo program courtesy of Kris Beckstead

Dates:  August 4, 5, 6

Grand Entry Time:  9:00

Ticket Prices:  $1.20; Children under 12 - $.90

Attendance:  14,000 people in three nights

Cowboys Participating:  52


From the 1921 Roundup, this picture shows the announcer’s stand complete with megaphone for announcing riders. Picture from the 1985 Preston Citizen 50th Anniversary booklet for the Preston Night Rode, p. 5. 

Courtesy of Douglas S. Webb.

Parade:  Friday and Saturday at noon

Additional Activities:  fair, dancing, midway, high school band maneuvers, horse show,

townspeople dressing up in Western duds subject to a kangaroo court and fine if found

downtown not in costume.


​            General chairman:  Ed Crockett

            Committee:  Theo Petterborg, rodeo; Wilford Smith and Chase Kearl, fair; Mayor T. R. Bowden, also President of the Chamber of Commerce; James Hogan, finance; Harold Hawkes, parades; Harold Swift and Lewis Roe, advertising; M. M. Reeves, horse show, and Angus Condie, secretary.

            Stock Producer:  C. O. “Dogtown Slim” Leuschner, from Texas.   Bucking horses were listed as “Hell to Set”, “Booger Red,” “Dark Alley”, “Night Mare”, Black Spider,” and “Lee Overalls Jr.” (billed as “one of the greatest bucking horses ever”).  “Senora Red” was publicized as “the brahma bull who had never been ridden.”  “Everybody who wants to see gentle, docile brahma steers and wild bucking horses parade Main Street should be out Monday night around 8 o’clock, August 15 when it is stated that Slim Leuschner will bring part of the wild rodeo to be used in Preston’s famous night rodeo to tow.  Slim says wild bronchos and brahma steers are not very bad, unless they are off  “the prod” a little,a nd just to prove his contentions he is going to trail some of his bucking horses and brahma steers “right through the main business section and out to the fairgrounds, where they will rest and eat for a few days, to be more ready to give the cowboys their annual joy rides here.”

            Announcer:  Not reported

            Clowns:  Pinkey Gist and his educated mules; Elmer Holcomb 

That Famous Preston Night Rodeo

Gravedigger, the bucking horse.  In the background is the old grandstand.  Photograph from Larsen-Sant Library Local History collection.

The old racetrack was located where the current rodeo/fair grounds are located.  According to Bob Anderson, the rodeo arena, grandstand (shown above) and racetrack had an east/west orientation in the early days.  Image is an enlargement taken from an aerial photo of Preston owned by Dax Keller which can be viewed at Ron Keller Tires, Preston, Idaho.


          General Chairman:  Ed Crockett
          Committee:  T. R. Bowden, mayor; Chase Kearl, President, Chamber of Commerce; Harold Hawkes, parade.  The rest were not reported.

           Stock Provider:  Jack Dew – bucking horses (including “Booger Red” and

“Hell to Set”), Texas longhorn dogging steers, and Brahma bulls

            Announcer: “Genial” Harry Williams

            Clown: “Tin Horn” Hank on “Ole Steamboat”

            Specialty Acts:  Monty Montana, movie star and four-horse riding and

roping act; Hollis Harker and his wonder dog; Lee and Christy Leroy, trick

riding and roping; Bill Harbinson and his educated Brahma bull.

            Purse:  Not reported

            Rodeo Winners:  Not reported

     The program for the rodeo in 1937 was as follows:

 Friday, August 20

1 p.m.  Big Street Parade, Guest Band, Box Elder High School

2 p.m.  Opening of Fair and exhibits and judging.  Horse pulling contest at Fair Grounds.  Bicycle racing, open to the boys and girls of Franklin County.

3 p.m.  Band concert at band stand in city park, featuring the Box Elder High School Band.

7 p.m.  Jack Dews famous line of bucking horses.  Texas longhorn dogging steers and, Brahama Bulls.  60 of the West’s finest bronc riders, ropers and doggers.  Montie Montana and his spectacular four horse riding and roping acts.  Lee and Christy Leroy, specialists in trick riding and roping.  Tin Horn Hank and his clowning on “Ole Steamboat”.  Hollis Harker and his Wonder Dog.  The best educated dog in the country.  Bill Harbinsen and his educated Brahama Bull “anybody want a ride”?  Slim Wager as Arena director and “Genial” Harry Williams the man who kept the crowds roaring last year at the mike again to tell the people about the details of the show.

 Saturday, August 21

1 p.m.  Big street parade.  Guest Band, Lava High School.

2 p.m.  Opening of fair grounds.  Judging of exhibits and Kid Sports – Fair grounds.

3 p.m.  Band Concert at bandstand featuring the Lava High School band.

7:30 p.m.  Band parade and demonstration, Rodeo grounds.

8:30 p.m.  Finals of the Rodeo[67]
[67] Franklin County Citizen, August 18, 1937, p. 1

Weather: Perfect

Dates:  July 26, 27, and 28 [213]

Grand Entry Time:  8:00

Ticket Prices:  Tickets sold at First Security Bank; $1.50 reserved; $11.25 general admission; Thursday night was family night and youngsters got in for $0.25.  Friday was designated Centennial night.[214]

Profit:  Not reported

Review:  Thursday night’s show drew some criticism for proceeding slowly.  Friday night’s performance was one of the best ever seen here.  Specialty acts all three nights drew tremendous applause.”[215]

Attendance: Capacity crowds [216]

Arena:  A new set of steel bleachers were installed.  “We plan to replace the entire arena little by little,” said Rulon Dunn.  New corrals were also installed.[217]

Cowboys Participating:  “Top contestants who plan to enter here are Buck Abbott, 10th-ranking bareback rider last season; and Billl Boag, who currently ranks among eighth among the nation’s bull riders.”[218]

Promotional Activities:   For two weeks prior to the rodeo, Franklin County citizens were encouraged to wear Western wear. “The sound truck has been going for miles every direction blaring out news of this region’s greatest rodeo and with men in it placing window cards in.”[222]  Also, three wristwatches donated by T.C. Merrill and sons Jewelry were dropped 1,000 feet from an airplane into the city park.  Those who returned them to Merrill’s received five dollars.  They were then given, one per night, at the rodeo to those who had the right number on the front of their rodeo program.[223]

Ride and Concessions:  Monte Young Carnival on the midway [224]


          General Chairman:  Virg Knudson

          Committee:  Luther Boyd, Alvin Beckstead, and Greene Wells, Rodeo; Bob Anderson, Publicity; Rulon Dunn, arena; Greene Wells, grounds; Weldon Nash, president, Chamber of Commerce;

[212]  The Preston Citizen, July 19, 1956, p. 1                         [213} The Preston Citizen, May 31, 1956, p. 1                       [214] The Preston Citizen, July 12, 1956, p. 1                                 [215] The Preston Citizen, August 2, 1956, p. 1
[216]  Ibid.                                                                                               [217] The Preston Citizen, July 19, 1956, p. 1                        [218] The Preston Citizen, July 5, 1956, p. 1
​                                    [219] The Preston Citizen, June 21, 1956, p. 1

​[220] The Preston Citizen, July 12, 1956, p. 1​                         [221] The Preston Citizen, August 2, 1956, p. 1                      [222] The Preston Citizen, July 19, 1956, p. 1                                  [223] The Preston Citizen, July 26, 1956, p. 1
[224] The Preston Citizen, July 12, 1956, p. 1                         [225] The Preston Citizen, July 12, 1956, p. 1                        [226] The Preston Citizen, July 19, 1956, p. 1                                   [227] Ibid.
[228] The Preston Citizen, July 19, 1956, p. 4                         [229] The Preston Citizen, July 19, 1956, p. 1

 The 17th Famous Preston Night Rodeo

The Old Grandstand

     “Remember the old grandstand?  It was warped like an old board fence.  There were boards missing on top.  There’d be kids up there with legs dangling through and dropping stuff on the paying customers.  All around the stand would be shady places to buy ice cream, cold drinks in bottles—and always you’d see the Cazier iceman around.  And there was a high board fence all around the park.”[31] 
[31] Interview with Stan Hawkes, quoted in The cache Valley Newsletter No. 82, edited by Newell Hart August 1975, p. 5

A night rodeo that will take the attention of the United States

​Tin Horn Hank

Two of the best shows presented here in years have been produced in 1951 and 1952 by Ray Skinner. [162]

The 13th Famous Preston Night Rodeo

          Specialty Acts:  Miss Hugette and her beautiful dancing horse; “Little Brown Jug” Reynolds, Roman standing act, and Glen Randall, trainer, Roy Rogers Liberty horses, eight beautiful palomino horses.   As advertised in May 1949, the movie at the Grand Theatre, John Steinbeck’s “The Red Pony”, featured the “highly trained, precision drilled and educated” Roy Rogers Liberty horses which would perform at the rodeo at the end of the summer.  The horses performed in many rodeo arenas across the country.

​​The horses performed with their trainer, Glen Randall.  A Liberty act is one where the trainer used neither halters nor bridles.

Purse:  not reported

Rodeo Winners:

          Best All-Around – Chuck Sheppard, Prescott, AZ.

            Calf roping:  Cliff Whatly, Tucson, AZ

            Bull Dogging:  Ike Thommason, Tucson, AZ.

            Bull Riding:  Moose Hillman (?), Idaho

            Saddle Bronc Riding:  Chuck Sheppard, Prescott, AZ.

          Bareback Riding:  tie between Duncan Brown of Fresno, CA and Ike Thommason, Tucson, AZ. 

[124] The Preston Citizen, August 11, 1949, p. 1

The 16th Famous Preston Night Rodeo

Rodeo ad from the Preston Citizen, July 24, 1952, p. 4

       “Once they had a hot air balloon that they put up just north of the old grandstand.  They built the fire, smoked it up, put gas in it, and away it went.   When the balloon got up so high the breeze drifted it to the north.  The guy bailed out in a parachute—a great stunt—but the balloon came down in Byon Wilcox’s beet patch.  I think Seth Davidson and Meel Petterborg went after it.  Meel was riding that Old Doc mare he got from Dr. Cutler.  They retrieved the balloon and dragged it back into the park.  I remember there was a guy out there with a sewing machine.  He was repairing it, getting ready for another shot at it.”[30]
[30] Interview with Stan Hawkes, in Cache Valley Newsletter No. 82, edited by Newell Hart, August 1975, p. 5

Carol Henry and her beautiful horse Sweetheart.  Picture courtesy of the Preston Citizen, July 12, 1945, p. 1.

Representing their districts at the queen contest left to right:  Margaret Hobbs, Weston; Viva Smith, Preston; Deana Wells, Winder; Ardys Andreason, Cleveland; Conna Beth Oliverson, Franklin.  Picture courtesy of the Larsen-Sant Library Local History project.

The pole chute: there were four or five.  Circa 1947-48.  Photo courtesy of Larsen-Sant Library Local History collection.

Dates:  August 18, 19; horse show August 17

Grand Entry Time:  not reported

Ticket Prices:  not reported

Profit:  rodeo proceeds were used to liquidate Fair premiums

Attendance: 4,000 seats filled both nights; many turned away.   The park lights were rearranged to accommodate night baseball, softball and the rodeo.

Cowboys Participating: not reported

Queens:  The queen contest was sponsored by the Boots and Saddles Club. 

All contestants rode in the Friday night parade; the queen and attendants were

chosen on Saturday when they rode in the parade.  Bonnie Treasurer, queen ($50 prize),

Shelley Anderson and Harriet Weaver, attendants ($15 prize each).

 Parade:  The parade was led both days by Keith Hull of Whitney, newly graduated from

West Point.

Promotional Activities:  County residents were asked to wear western clothing on a

designated day; Shell Oil Co. sponsored a fireworks show Saturday night called

“Bombardment of the Rainbow.”   There was a sixteen-plane flyover, planes of every size.


            General Chairman:  Ed Crockett

            Committee:  Clifford Warr, President Chamber of Commerce; M. M. Reeves, horseshow.

(Other chamber members not reported.)

Newspaper reporting about the 1952 rodeo was scant.  Perhaps it was assumed that business ads promoting “one free rodeo ticket with purchase” was sufficient marketing for that year.

1941 Rodeo Queens left to right:  Ida Winward, Attendant; Ardis Hansen, Queen; Gloria Wilcox, Attendant.  Picture courtesy of the Franklin County Citizen, August 21, 1941, p. 12, Rodeo Edition.

The 3rd Famous Preston Nite Rodeo

The 11th Famous Preston Night Rodeo

      Two progressive young men, Theo Petterborg of Preston and Nilo Egan of Franklin, each owner of an automobile business in his respective town, found a way for the Model T to bow out with one last hurrah.  They would play polo, using the Jitney for the chase and a soccer-size ball for the object!  Two teams were formed, and Jitney Polo was born.  Each team could field one car manned by a driver and a mallet swinger.  Petterborg and Egan were the drivers, with young Wendell Fuhriman and Shiblon Hatch wielding the mallets.  The game was played with all the gusto, skill, noise and daring of polo, country style.

     The cars were put into battle with the barest essentials:  no seats, doors, floorboards, fenders or brakes.  Starts and stops were controlled by forward and reverse gears operated by two-foot pedals.  No brake was used—too slow.  The gas tank for the early Model T. Fords was built as part of the base for the front seat.  The seat had gone the way of other non-essentials.  The driver sat strapped (forerunner of the seat belt?) to the gas tank.  No thought was given to the possibility of an explosion during the polo fracas, but the jolts and general destruction must have strained their Guardian Angels.

     The cars of the period were built with a running board on either side as a step for entry and exit.  The right running board was retained for the mallet boy to stand on as he clung to a one-inch iron rod running the length of the car, connecting two large metal rims bolted to front and rear axles.  These rims, taken from old wagon wheels, protected the driver from frequent rollovers.  The agile boy took care of himself.  While clinging to the rod, he vigorously wielded a hand-made wooden mallet with a six-foot handle and a 2x10” striking head.  A good hit could send the ball 20 or 30 yards down the field, the two cars racing after it.

     The game was played in an area the size of a football field, usually at fairgrounds or wherever space was available.  A goal at either end was marked by two painted buckets of sand.  A ball driven between the opponent’s buckets netted one point.

     A referee, holding a starter flag, stood in the center of the field, the ball on the ground at his feet, a car at each goal, engine running.  The flag was dropped, and the referee ran as the cars came pell-mell after the ball.  Bedlam ensued.  Without an exhaust manifold, the motors roared and backfired, dust swirled, battered metal screeched, betting was rampant and widely cheering crowds loved it.  The game was popular at celebrations in a 60-mile area.

     With no rules or rest periods, only the luckiest or fittest triumphed.  For forty-five minutes the melee went on, the contestants whamming the ball and ramming the cars.  After a team scored, the cars retired to the ends of the field to wait the flag drop.  Uniforms were goggles and old football helmets.  The mallet boys’ take-home pay was $25 a game while the owners split a $500 purse.

     A mechanic and backup cars were part of each team.  The full contingent was taken to each contest.  Often during the heat of battle, a tire would blow, or a wheel come off—vulnerable attack spots.  Three or four cars could be damaged and replaced in one game.  As the crippled car was being pushed off the field, the opponent could score a goal unmolested.

     The whirling, stops and starts and jolts from the other car could throw the mallet boy into the dust.  Retrieving the mallet, he’d sprint for his car that was battering the opponent, trying to keep him away from the ball.  The boy, dodging the whirling cars, jumped aboard and continued the foray.

     One day a carnival came to Preston with its own string of polo cars.  Local promoters challenged the visitors to a game with the town team—winner take all the cars.  Evidently the reputation of the local teams had spread, for the carny people ignored the proposition.

     After two years, Jitney Polo had run its course, but the excitement of the chase carried over to rodeo.  Bulldogging offered a new challenge.  A wager was made that a cowboy could bulldog a steer from a Jitney in less time than it took from a horse.  Plans were made and the news spread.

     The car replaced the horse, the driver became the hazer, the cowboy stood on the running board with the steer the object.  When the contestants came on the field, boos and cheers greeted the Jitney.  The race against time began.

     The cowboy and his hazer on well-trained horses, bulldogged the steer in 17 seconds.  Poohing the achievement, the confident driver backed his car next to the chute and waited for the signal.  The animal broke the tape and the race was on.  It would have gone well if the steer had cooperated, but the bewildered, darting animal managed to come up on the wrong side of the car at each turn.

     Time passed, the race went on, the crowd laughed and cheered—the cheers were for the steer.  Finally, the frustrated cowboy dived for the horns and threw the animal.  Time:  just over two minutes.     After this initial performance, Jitney Rodeo lost its appeal, but the potential of the Model T to inspire uses for pleasure and convenience went on.”[25]

[25] Lucille Ballif Croft, quoted in The Cache Valley Newsletter, edited by Newell Hart 

Rodeo ad courtesy of the Preston Citizen, July 27, 1944,  p. 7

Andy Womack and his trained chimp. 

Picture from www.wikipedia.com. 

             Specialty Acts:  Dick Griffeth, world champion trick rider (hampered by a lame shoulder); Weaver and Juanita Grey, Walter Heacock, and Paul and Marie St. Croy, nationally known trick riders and ropers; The Three Rockets, aerial act 150 feet above the ground.  Nedra Hammond from Mississippi, performed a picturization of “the end of the trail” on an Indian pony trained by Roland Hawkes of Preston.  World’s Champion Lady Bronc Rider, Rose Breeden performed an exhibition each night.

     Jasbo Fulkerson was born July 31, 1904 in Midlothian, Texas.  He was the first professional rodeo barrelman/clown. Extremely short-legged and slow, Fulkerson needed a sanctuary in large arenas, so he built a barrel reinforced on the outside with old automobile tire casings. His frantic dashes to the barrel and plunges into it inspired awe and applause from rodeo crowds nationwide. Fulkerson was also one of the first rodeo clowns to have a world-class animal act. His mule, Eko, was almost as famous as Jasbo himself. Eko would lie down on command, walk on his back feet, count to 10 with a pawing foot, whisper in Jasbo’s ear and lie on his back while Jasbo sat astride his stomach. They performed together for more than 20 years, until the famous clown’s death in 1949. Picture and information from www.wikipedia.com

L to r:  Ed Crocket, General Chairman; Charlie Cutler, Chamber of Commerce Secretary; Dick Bowden, Chamber of Commerce President, Photos by Anderson Studio as printed in the 1940 Rodeo Program, courtesy of Kris Beckstead.

Dave Campbell steer wrestling at a rodeo in Washington state in 1947.  In 1937 in Salt Lake City, he established a world record time of 3-3/5 seconds in bulldogging which was tied the next day by Hugh Bennett.  Campbell was described as “having a personality as expansive as his physique, a man not only large in stature but in heart and mind.  Well read, gifted in elucidation, with a world point of view, he is at his best when tossing verbal loops with his friend Gene Pruitt”.   Information from Man, Beast, Dust, The story of Rodeo, p. 240, Google Books.  Information from www.wikipedia.com.

     In the early 1920s, amusements were largely homemade, and imagination and ingenuity fathered many unique and exciting diversions.  The advent of the automobile, especially the Model T. Ford, provided a fertile field for experiment.  Stripped down, it became the power for Jitney Polo.

Leith Corbridge, “a true polo nut”, Preston, and Wendell Fuhriman, Franklin (right) in their polo car.  They traveled to matches at the Preston Round-Up, Franklin Idaho Days, and Soda Springs.  There were roller bars “afore and aft” as a safety feature.  Picture courtesy of Wendell Fuhriman for the Lucille Croft story.      The Model T, darling of county roads and affectionately called “Jitney” or “tin lizzie,” won the hearts of America when she appeared soon after the turn of the century, bringing prestige and pleasure to owners in small towns and cities alike.  She negotiated roads and dugways with chugging stamina and ushered in an era of easy travel.  For a decade she was queen, then newer models appeared, and dealers found a plethora of trade-ins cluttering their parking lots.

Purse:  $3500

Rodeo Winners:

                   Roping:  Chuck Shephard, Phoenix, AZ.

                   Bull Dogging:  Dave Cambell, Las Vegas, NV

                   Cow Milking:  Joe Welch, Chandler, AZ.

                   Bareback Riding:  Jimmie Hazen, Tuscon, AZ.

                   Saddle Bronc Riding:  Jackie Cooper, Newhall, CA.

                   Brahma Bull/Steer Riding:  Byron Lisonbee, Ft. Worth, TX.

Queens:  Queen Bertha Berquist, Attendants Ida Winward of Whitney, and Letha Bronson (Preston). They were evaluated on posture, western appointments, and ability to manage a horse.”  Horses were furnished by the General Rodeo Committee.  The entire riding habit and part of the attendants’ outfits were purchased by the committee in charge of the contest.   The top three were announced at the Grand Theatre and the Queen and attendants were announced at the rodeo.   That same year Margaret Poole, queen from Whitney and Beulah Stoddard, alternate, were chosen by popular vote at a dance at the Persiana featuring the Blue Bird Orchestra, for the Henry Stampede in Soda Springs, as requested by the stampede committee. 

Jack and Jackie Knapp, trick ropers,
“featuring roping art never before witnessed.”

Newspaper ad from the Franklin County Citizen, August 11, 1937.   Edna Palmer, queen, upper middle.  Men pictured are (left) Chase Kearl, President, Chamber of Commerce; (center)  Mayor T. R. Bowden; and (right) Ed Crockett, rodeo general chairman.  These men made up the main committee for the rodeo, with members of the Chamber of Commerce also serving.  The man on the horse is Russell Palmer, friend of the rodeo.  Dorothy Maughan, first rodeo queen, is seated on the horse upper left.  

One of the most perfect shows I’ve ever seen – Doc Sorenson[124]

1956 Queens:  Ruth Hinkerson, left, Utauna Christensen, queen, center, and Margene Mitton, right. 

Picture courtesy of the Preston Citizen, July 26, 1956, p. 1

The 8th Annual Famous Preston Night Rodeo

     Ed Crockett didn’t get the rest he had earned.  He was elected president of the Idaho State Fair and Rodeo

Association for 1948-49.

          Committee:  Cliff Warr, Chamber of Commerce President; Mel Reeves, Executive Secretary; Merlin “Slim

” Whittle and T. S. Allen, stock and grounds; Homer Johnson, finance; T. R. Bowden, advertising; Emory

Belnap + Boots and Saddles Club, parade.

          Ushers:  American Legion Post 34

          Stock Producer:  J. L. “Doc” Sorenson; 60 bucking horses, 25 steers, 15 wild cows, 20 brahma bulls,

25 roping calves

          Announcer:  Pete Kerschner from Los Angeles, CA; 5-year veteran of World War II.

          Clowns:  George Mills, bull fighter; Jackie and Bobbie Knapp, husband/wife team, barrel artists plus

their donkey.

          Specialty Acts:  Shoshone Indians plus hoop dancers; Mary Iler, Nancy Kelley (Madison Square Garden

appearance); Ray Ramsey and his flying clouds (identical white horses ridden Roman style), trick riders; and

Jack and Jackey Knapp, trick ropers. 

[93] The Preston Citizen, August 17, 1947, p. 1     

[94] Interview, Stan Hawkes, in Cache Valley Newsletter, edited by Newell Hart, August 1975, p. 10

No dust—no hot sun when Preston rides at night!  It will be the biggest two days Preston has had.[49]

Cars lined up on Oneida Street just off State Street for the 1945 rodeo parade.

     “The old racetrack used to come right in front of the grandstand.  It was a half-mile track and went clear around the park.  Joe Dives and that bunch had horses there; Joe was especially interested in pacers.  They built some of the first stables over on the west side of the park. The old fair house on the east was there as early as I can remember, and they built some outside sheds.  Slim Whittle and I moved them with the city patrol over to where they are now.[46]

     “I was on the board of directors of the Chamber of Commerce, also on the rodeo committee, when they built the new arena.  The [bleachers] have been straightened up, fixed, and added to since then.”[47]

            Bob Anderson was nine years old when the first night rodeo was held.  He was in attendance with his father and remembers how thrilling it was to watch Monty Montana.  “He had a big, thick lasso,” Bob recalled, “and while standing on top of his galloping horse, looped that lasso over the horse and himself and back over the horse’s tail.   It was quite a trick.”

The parade will take place promptly at 11 o’clock.  Remember that there will be a big free street dance given. No formal affair this.  Dance in your old clothes, your wife’s clothes, or anybody else’s.

     There will be many musical attractions.  Come and see the Indian bareback pony racing and the famous Roman chariot race.  Everything will be here that that you will see in the greatest wild West shows of the country.

     This is the same great attraction that held forth at Henry, Idaho, recently.

     Don’t forget the date, September 1st and 2nd, next Thursday and Friday.  Those who engineered this great wild west event are live boosters Theo. Peterborg, Jos. Luthy, G. T. Mitchell, Thos. Boyle, and E. Merrill.  Mr. Jos. Luthy and aides went all over the country billing the event.[15]

[15] The Franklin County Citizen, August 24, 1921, p. 1

The 10th Famous Preston Nite Rodeo

The 20th Famous Preston Night Rodeo

Cancelled because of World War II

1946 Queens l to r:  Beverly Bell, attendant; Shirley Whitehead, queen; Ellen Taylor, attendant.  Picture courtesy of Larsen-Sant Library Local History collection.

 The 4th Preston Nite Rodeo

Dates:  August 15 [Horse Show], Rodeo, August 16, 17

Time:  8:00 p.m.

Ticket Prices:

Profit:  not reported

Attendance:  500 seats added to the arena;[71]

Queens:  Letha Bronson, Queen ($40 prize); Gloria Wilcox

and Ida Winward Attendants ($15 prize each).[72]  Out of town

judges, contestants judged on horsemanship, attire and the



            6:00 Friday; 1:00 Saturday [74]

Additional Activities:  Dress-up Dance at the Persiana, Customer

Appreciation Days, downtown businesses, county fair, horse pulls,

people downtown encouraged to dress Western, Utah Power and Light Co.

had the best rodeo window display.

           The Third Annual Horse Show:  M. M. Reeves, chairman; Stanton M. Hawkes, G. I, Stanger, Emory Belnap, Committee.  Sponsors for each class were downtown businesses.

Program Ads:  Local businesses that took out an ad in the rodeo program give a little history of the town.  They included First Security Bank, Franklin County Sugar Company (Carleton Brand Beet Sugar); Scotty’s Café; Gas-Sav, Conoco Products (Kilgore Auto, Martin and Hone, McCune Motor, Rallison Motor, Wendell Bosen, Agent); Utah Power and Light Company; Preston Lumber, L. R. “Kirk” Kirkman, Mgr.; Preston bike Shop; Estenson’s Variety; Stanger Implement; Stag Billiards; Grand Theatre; The Owl; Wynn Hardware; Prescription (Rexall) Drug; Idaho Billiards; Sinclair Products (Ray Coburn, Ike Naeff, Ray Heusser, Agent); Premium Oil Co.; Foss-Bailey’s Style Specialists; Safeway Store, J. c. MacBeth, Mgr.; Anderson Lumber; Gamble Stores, Tom Doyle, owner; Covey Service Station and Coffee Shop (Phil Lund); Franklin Café; Cache Valley Clarion, (Leland Chatterton and Larry Robinson);Isis Theatre (“Andy Hardy Meets Debutante”); Wilford Hotel (H. L. Dives, Mgr.); Classic Cleaners, and Martin and Hone, Auto Service.[75]


           General Chairman:  Ed Crockett

            Committee:  Preston Chamber of Commerce President, Dick Bowden;

Chamber of commerce secretary, Charlie Cutler; M. M. Reeves, Horseshow;

Harold L. Hawkes, parade; Russell Crockett, queen contest; Ralph Strub, Cleo

Swenson, J. Homer Johnson and Harvey Bickmore, finance; Angus Condie,

advertising; G. L. Wright, fair chairman.[76]

            Stock Producer:  Hillside Rodeo Co., N. Charles Felt; W. (Whit) Kimball, secretary.

            Announcer:  Russell “Jack” Oakie

            Clown:  Elmer Holcomb and his mule.  As advertised in the rodeo program, “Elmer Holcomb is as inevitable to a good rodeo as the afternoon sun . . .and as bright . . . for he makes himself as inconspicuous as an overdue bill.  His cavorting label him as Rodeo Nuisance No. 1, but ‘ya can’t help but laugh and like him, and he adds a bit of welcomed humor from the serious business of bulldogging steers and sitting astride a bucking bronco.”[77]

            Specialty Acts:  Monty Montana and Troupe, trick riding and roping; Frank and Bernice Dean, trick riding and roping; Carol Henry and her famous horse “Sweetheart”.[78]

             Purse:  rodeo prizes were boosted, but amounts not reported[79]

            Rodeo winners:  not reported

            Horse Show:  held the first night, rodeo next two nights[80]

Next year, to add local color to the rodeo, I suggest we change the road signs from “stop” to “Whoa![81]

[70] Franklin County Citizen, August 21, 1940, p. 2                        [71] Franklin County Citizen, August 14, 1940, p. 1                      [72] Rodeo Program, 1940, courtesy of Kris Beckstead                         [73] Cache Valley Clarion, July 11, 1940, p. 1
[74] Ibid.                           
[75] Rodeo Program, 1940, courtesy of Kris Beckstead              [76] Franklin County Citizen, August 21, 1940, p. 2                 [77] Rodeo Program, 1940, courtesy of Kris Beckstead                                     [78] Ibid.                        [79] Cache Valley Clarion, July 10, 1940, p. 1                                   [80] The Cache Valley Newsletter, edited by Newell Hart, August 1975, p. 12                                                          [81] Franklin County Citizen, August 21, 1949, p. 2