ST. GEORGE – Horses, livestock, cowboys and crowds all come together this week for the 78th Annual St. George Lions Dixie Round-up Rodeo in the Dixie Sunbowl Arena. Sponsored by the St. George Lions Club, it is one of the largest and best-attended events held in St. George. It is a PRCA approved professional rodeo and is a staple of St. George Septembers, it all starts today.
For a few dirt-kicking Dixie days, the union between man, horse and the bowl will be as familiar as a well worn and oiled old saddle. But this rodeo ought to carry a poignant strain as the future of the Sunbowl, the Rodeo’s longtime home, is uncertain. For some, the Dixie Roundup just won’t be the same outside the Sunbowl.
The Sunbowl is in need of costly renovations if it is to continue in use as it is; its use throughout the year is relatively limited and despite its historic presence, it is likely that its final sunset is on the horizon.
“(The Rodeo) sells out every night, and has done (so) for the last 10 or so years.” Lions Club member Karl Hutchings said. “If it moves from the Sunbowl, I can just promise you there’s no way they will get seven or eight thousand people there again.”
If the possibility of the Rodeo relocating isn’t enough to do the Sunbowl in, the ever-expanding Dixie State College of Utah has had its sights on the location. It aims to displace surrounding entities in order to acquire more land for a larger campus.
Any way you look at it, the Sunbowl’s days are numbered, and it very well might slip away before members of the community realize what is happening. Although the decision is already well underway, and has a lot of momentum, community members can make their voices heard, or at least appreciate a St. George icon this weekend before it is gone for good.
It’s been said, “Feeling down? Saddle up.”
Or you can head on down to the Dixie Roundup.
Dates and times: Sept. 13-15, 6-10 p.m. (Entertainment at 6 p.m., Rodeo at 8 p.m.)
Ticket Sales: Tickets are on sale for General Admission and Reserved Seating at the Lions building north of the Sunbowl each weekday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and at the Sunbowl for the rodeo beginning at 6 p.m. nightly.
• General Admission – Adult: $8.00
• General Admission – Children (11 and under): $5.00
• Reserved Seating: $12.00
More information and event highlights: St. George Lions rodeo website.
Joyce Kuzmanic contributed to this article.
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