By TIM VANDENACK Standard-Examiner Jul 24, 2019
OGDEN — The state of Utah has a new rodeo representative.
Kassadee Jo Jones of Lehi was crowned Miss Rodeo Utah for 2020 at the PRCA Rodeo on Wednesday at Ogden Pioneer Stadium. She beat out 11 other candidates from around Utah and will trail Miss Rodeo Utah 2019 McKaylie Richins for the rest of the year before formally taking on Miss Rodeo Utah 2020 duties on Jan. 1.
The large crowd cheered Jones as she galloped on her horse around the stadium after winning the honors and donning the Miss Rodeo Utah tiara and belt buckle.
“I’m so grateful for the opportunity. I feel like I prepared well and the big man’s in charge,” she said later.
The crowning, an Ogden Pioneer Days tradition, capped several days of activities for the candidates and several days of PRCA Rodeo action, another Pioneer Day tradition here. Miss Rodeo Utah goes on to compete in the Miss Rodeo America contest.
“Rodeo is a tradition in my family and it’s a tradition in the state of Utah,” said Jones, 20, who won in the written test, public speaking, appearance, personality and horsemanship categories. “As Miss Rodeo Utah, I want to continue this tradition.”
The Miss Rodeo Utah competition was hardly the only activity at Ogden Pioneer Stadium on Wednesday. The rodeo action — bareback riding, steer wrestling, bull riding and more, with competitors from all over the United States — drew a big, boisterous crowd.
“I just like the excitement, the music, the people,” said James Holden of Ogden, a regular for 20-plus years who was sitting in the south stands with his dad and two kids. “Just the entire atmosphere, absolutely fabulous.”
Vayla Anderson came from Bear River with her sister and daughter, experiencing the PRCA Rodeo here for the first time. She’s taken part in the Pioneer Day activities in Bear River and wanted something new. “I saw the billboard and I thought it’d be fun to come to,” she said.
Earlier Wednesday, throngs gathered downtown along Washington Boulevard for the Ogden Pioneer Days Grand Parade, which typically draws up to 40,000 spectators.
People young and old line Washington Boulevard in downtown for the Ogden Pioneer Days Parade on Wednesday, July 24, 2019.
It started soon after 9 a.m., but Kimberly Barrow of Ogden arrived before 7 a.m. with her husband, Brian Barrow, and mother, Gayle Ahlers, to claim a viewing spot on 25th Street, just east of where it intersects Washington Boulevard.
“We always get here in this spot every year. It’s not the front, it’s not the end. It’s just the middle of it,” she said. Attending the parade is a family tradition, dating to when she was a small child. Ahlers said she, too, has been a regular since her childhood.
To the north on Washington Boulevard, Kaymarie Ybarra of West Point sat with her two daughters and five grandkids under a large covering. Like many who place blankets and chairs along the parade route the day before to assure a good viewing location, they claimed their spot Tuesday.
“I like to see the horses and the tractors,” Ybarra said, noting her childhood growing up in rural Michigan.
Jon Adams of South Weber attended with his four young children, Brynlee, Stockton, Blake and Violet, who were hawking water, lemonade and Gatorade to earn a bit of extra money. Even before the parade started, they had made a 25% dent in their inventory.
“They’re doing everything. I’m just sitting here,” Adams said. “It’s getting the kids learning a little bit about business.”
Aside from earning some money, Brynlee said the floats and popsicles she sometimes gets at the parade are the best part of the action.
The Adams weren’t the only ones trying to slake the thirst of parade goers. Several other impromptu entrepreneurs walked Washington Boulevard, selling water, cotton candy and more.
Most, though, kept their eyes on the high school bands, cheerleaders, floats, tractors, Shriners in red fezzes, clowns on four-wheelers, politicians and others in the parade.
“Just the sense of community, so much fun,” said Steve Garside, there with his wife, daughter and three grandkids.
Jones, the Miss Rodeo Utah 2020 winner, enjoys teaching traditional western swing dance, riding horses and hiking in the mountains. She studied at Mountainland Technical College and Utah Valley University.
First runner-up in the contest was McKinley Drake of St. George followed by Katelyn Marie Huffman of Fort Duchesne, the second runner-up; Autumn Rae Patterson of Taylorsville, the third runner-up; and Jayna Scadden of Farmington, the fourth runner-up.
Contact reporter Tim Vandenack at email@example.com, follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/timvandenackreporter.