Enterprise Utah Rodeo History!

Since Enterprise’s founding in 1896 there has always been a Pioneer Day celebration with the first rodeo likely being held around 1908, (although no one remembers for sure). Those first rodeos were put on by the LDS church and held were the Enterprise Elementary School is now located. They were later relocated to the church square where a small grand stand was built, although most people sat in their cars around the arena. One rodeo, brothers Gordon and Ken Lytle both were roping calves. First it was one brother’s turn to go, he jumped off his horse, after roping the calf, stepped on his leg wrong and broke it. A few runs later the other brother ropes his calf, jumps off his horse and breaks his leg also.

Bill Hunt and The Black Eyed Bull
In 1939 the Gunlock cowboys who furnished the stock each year and still do, let the word out that they had a special bull that year for the Hunt boys to try their luck at riding. This bull was big, mean, and wild. He had never been ridden and was called “The Black Eyed Bull”. On the first day of the rodeo, Dick Snow from Pinto and Darwin Slack from Hurricane each had a chance at riding him. It took only a few seconds before they each went rolling in the dirt. On the second day it was Bill Hunt’s turn to ride. He was anxious and ready. At the nod Lee Holt swung the gate open and this mighty black eyed bull jumped high and long with a hard twist to the right, back straight on, then to the right and back to the left. Bill was way off to the right when the bull jumped high enough and with enough power to throw Bill up in the air about a foot and right back sitting dead center again. When the buzzer went off all you could hear was the roar of the crowd.

American Legion Post 80 Takes Over Rodeo
The rodeo remained at the church square until 1946 when the American Legion Post 80 was organized and asked to “take over the rodeo and move it out of town”. Moe Palmer was the Legion Commander at the time. The Legion bought 80 acres from Ivor Clove for $3,000 at the present day location, voted Stan Adams Rodeo Chairman, and started building the rodeo grounds. Winsor Adams, Sher Adams, Moe Palmer, Heber Staheli, and Kent Simkins were some of the main workers. Ted Twitchell and Voi Sorenson did all the welding, Bart Manthey built the announcer’s stand for a case of beer. Stan Adams, known as the hardest worker in the county, did a lot of work but made everyone mad in the process. One day while working on the grounds Kent Simkins went to get a drink of water out of a jug that was wrapped in a wet cloth to keep it cold, took a big swig, found out it was beer and spit it everywhere. Moe Palmer said “Kent you could have at least spit it back in the jug.”
After a lot of very hard work a small grand stand, announcer’s stand, bucking chutes, corrals, and arena were built which had to be rebuilt year after year. Wayne Holt and Tony Melissa did the entry fees and books. Lerald Peterson and Lee Holt ran the roping chute and barrier. Rod Leavitt took care of the calf riding for the kids. Truman Bowler announced and tickets were sold for $1 each. A special event was the Cow Hide Race which “felt like you were going 150 mph with that gravel under the cow hide”.

Weldon Day’s Glass Eye
Bucking Horses were the main event in those days along with Wild Cow Milking which was done with big, hard to handle cattle. One rodeo Weldon Day and Sher Adams were doing the Wild Cow Milking and Weldon Day lost his glass eye in the arena. The rodeo was stopped while everyone looked for his glass eye. Luckily they found it.

Bucking Horses
For the bucking horses Bill Hunt and Clint Bowler each gave the Legion a bucking horse, some were bought at the auction and Bob Bowler roped mustangs to buck out which was legal until 1974. The Legion then made a deal with Sher Adams to feed and care for the bucking horses in trade for 40 of the 80 acres that the Legion owned.

Staheli Bob the Bucking HorseStaheli Bob
In the 1960s a bronc known as Staheli Bob, owned by Heber Staheli, became a living legend in Enterprise, the most fearsome bucking horse in the region. He even won $50.00 from the St. George Lions Club for being the best bucking horse. Staheli Bob reappeared in the bucking chutes year after year, like a recurring nightmare in a horror film. Staheli Bob was bucked out for many years without being rode, sometimes up to 5 times per night and he was always first to start the rodeo off with a bang.

The Year 1971
Bareback riders in 1971 included Wayne Platt, Ron Gardner, Rick Bracken, and Terril Hunt. Bull riders included Leon Platt, Ron Gardner, Terril Hunt, Rick Bracken, Kalvin Bowler, Doyle Atkin, Dwight Dannelly, and Carl Bowler. Other events were Junior and Senior Calf Roping, Team Roping, Junior and Senior Barrel Racing, and Wild Cow Milking.

Through the 80s
As some of the early Enterprise cowboys began to “wear out” more responsible was placed on the younger generations. Phil Norton, Steve Staheli, Roger Randall, Dwight Dannelly, Jeff Adams, Cletus Adams, Marlo Reber, Tam Staheli, and Julie Hunt were some of the most prominent names with them being responsible for many of the improvements that we see today.

1999 through 2008
In 1999 Diamond G Rodeos, Inc was hired for the rough stock events. This was a big change from the range bulls, that had been used since the rodeos began, to professionally bred bucking bulls and horses. The year 2000 would bring about covered bleachers and a wonderful clown named Jared Stores, who is still going strong after 14 years at the Enterprise Rodeos. In 2004 Enterprise lost a great cowboy, 18 year old Tyrel Terry, and since that time a 3-night All-around Calf Roping buckle has been awarded in his memory. $500 added money in the bull riding began in 2005 and proves to bring numerous bull riders from many states to Enterprise, Utah. In 2007 Dixie College donated the football bleachers they were updating to the Legion. This was able to double the seating capacity which was greatly needed with the rodeos growing larger and larger each year. Fast Cash Rodeos also took over the rough stock although bucking horses seamed to becoming a thing of the past with only one or two bareback and bronc riders per night. By 2008 the bucking horses would be dropped altogether.

Rodeo Staff and Volunteers Today
For the past 15 years the rodeo staff and volunteers have remained virtually the same with over 65 volunteers a night needed to make the Enterprise Rodeo a success and many others doing work prior to and after the rodeos. Rydel Reber has headed this up as Rodeo Chairman since the year 2000. Others who have been very influential over the past two decade and beyond include Marlo Reber, Ranon Reber, Raquel Randall, Mike Randall, and Mike Cobb. Arena help has included Ross Farnsworth, Randy Terry, Blane Farnsworth, Larry Staheli and Sons, Clayton Holt, and Jerald Hunt. Arlan Simkins has taken tickets, Calvin Bowler announced, and Mary Hunt and LaNeta Chadburn have been office help. There are a great number of others who help each year and the rodeo would not be a success without them.

Thank you to all who help and have helped bring this rodeo to pass.