Ogden Pioneer Days is an annual celebration to commemorate the settlement of Ogden, Utah. The festivities each July include parades, concerts and, the headline event, the Ogden Pioneer Days rodeo—consistently ranked as one of the top outdoor rodeos in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA). Each year, the rodeo draws more than 30,000 attendees.
Ogden Pioneer Days was established in 1934 as a celebration of Ogden’s early days—but, perhaps more importantly, to help secure the city’s uncertain future. The Great Depression had struck Ogden as hard as any other place in America. Amid the turmoil, Mayor Harman Peery devised a plan to capitalize on the rodeo interests of wealthy cattle ranchers, attract tourists and lift the burdened community’s spirit.
Peery’s ambitions for the western-themed festival were, let’s say, high. Among the guests invited over the years included Franklin D. Roosevelt and some of Hollywood’s elite, such as comedy duo Abbott and Costello—only the latter attended. Peery envisioned the festival as a nationally recognized affair and indeed, Ogden Pioneer Days has achieved all that he set out to accomplish, and much more.
The spirit of the American West truly still lives on with the Ogden Pioneer Days celebrations. More than 80 years later, Peery’s mission to unite the community, and highlight Ogden’s best, continues to endure.
While our beautiful northern Utah city nestled in the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains takes its name from Peter Skene Ogden, who trapped near modern-day Pineview Reservoir, “Junction City” was, in fact, settled by Miles Goodyear. The fur trader built the first known permanent house in Utah, at Fort Buenaventura. The fort became a hive of activity for early European immigrants.
While the Days of ‘47 celebration honors the arrival of Mormon settlers into the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847, Ogden Pioneer Days commemorates Ogden’s own storied past.
Special thanks to Judy Anderson for her endless energy and talents in documenting the rich history of the Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo and Celebration. More historical information coming soon.