In Loving Memory of Desiree Cooper-Larsen

Executive Committee Member and Weber State University professor Desiree Cooper-Larsen passed from complications of COVID-19 

The Ogden Pioneer Days Foundation is deeply saddened to announce the passing of Desiree Cooper-Larsen. The beloved and inspiring leader of the annual statehood celebration succumbed to complications from COVID-19.

Cooper-Larsen was the heart and soul of Ogden Pioneer Days. As a volunteer, she worked tirelessly to successfully build a world-class Hall of Fame rodeo with dedicated volunteers, engaged sponsors and enthusiastic fans.

The Ogden Pioneer Days Foundation says she will be remembered for bringing some of the top Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) cowgirls, cowboys and specialty acts to the event each July. The Weber State University marketing professor was thrilled that Roger Mooney, a well-known rodeo announcer, and Stace Smith, of the award-winning Smith Pro Rodeos, were a major part of the Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo—an event that has gained national recognition.

In addition to being a crucial part of the Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo, Cooper-Larsen helped plan and organize the annual celebration’s other events, which include parades, concerts, exhibits, shows, fireworks and a devotional. She was also instrumental in coordinating the National Day of the American Cowboy, an event honoring those Utahns who preserve the cowboy way of life; and the Trail to Pioneer Days, one of the largest public art projects of its kind. She also played an instrumental part of the Ogden-based Utah Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.

Cooper-Larsen, a former Miss Rodeo Utah, was actively involved in the Miss Rodeo Utah organizations and served on the Miss Rodeo America (MRA) National Advisory Council.

Cooper-Larsen was key in the continuing fundraising and design efforts to upgrade the Ogden Pioneer Days Stadium. At the time of her death, was working on additional enhancements to the stadium.

Chairman of the Ogden Pioneer Days Foundation Alan Hall said, “She was an extremely talented and gifted friend who will be dearly missed by all those who knew and admired her. We will always remember her cheerful laughter, her radiant smile and energetic drive to be the best.” Hall continued by saying, “We extend our heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathies to her devoted husband as he grieves the loss of his sweetheart and loving wife.”