KANAB — The history and beauty of Southern Utah is celebrated in Kanab at the annual “Jacob Hamblin Days” Friday and Saturday, with rodeos, a horseback trail ride, hiking and a seminar on Butch Cassidy.
Named after one of Southern Utah’s early and most influential settlers, “Jacob Hamblin Days” is a celebration of the heritage of Southern Utah, said Kelly Stowell, director of Kane County’s Center for Education, Business and the Arts. That heritage combines Southern Utah’s rich American West past, integrated with its more ancient, and stunningly beautiful, geology and landscape.
“We have such an amazing history in Southern Utah, and we want to celebrate that,” said Bob Johnson, organizer and Kanab resident.
Butch Cassidy lecture
“Jacob Hamblin Days” starts Friday, 7 p.m., in Kanab Middle School, 690 S. Cowboy Way, Kanab, where author Bill Betensen will host a free lecture about Butch Cassidy. Betenson has spent years researching the life of Butch Cassidy and published a book in 2012, “Butch Cassidy, My Uncle.” Since then, Betenson’s quest for the truth has not stopped.
Hike to Island in the Sky
On Saturday, 8 a.m., hikers will meet at the office of the Bureau of Land Management, 669 South Highway 89A, Kanab, to hike to the Island in the Sky on Mansard Trail.
“We take any reason we can to go out exploring and get in touch with our roots,” Stowell said. “Mansard trail is remarkable and has one of the most intriguing ancient rock writing panels ever.”
The 4-hour hike will explore the features and mysteries of the Vermillion Cliffs.
Horseback trail ride
Also on Saturday, 8 a.m., horseback riders will embark on a ride through Lime Canyon which intersects Snake Gulch and will return through Warm Springs Canyon.
Riders will meet at the Kane Plex Arena, 971 E Kaneplex Drive, Kanab, before transporting to the beginning of the ride, 18 miles south of Fredonia, Arizona. The trail ride requires about 4.5 hours to complete and participants need to bring drinking water and snacks.
Riders should be prepared for hot weather conditions, but may want to wear long sleeves for protection from trees limbs. It is rocky terrain, moderate in difficulty and will require horses to have good shoes. If either rider or horse, have little experience in this type of setting, it is recommended that they not participate.
The ride accesses Lime Canyon, a canyon not widely known or traveled. Parts of the trail follow the first wagon road built onto a mountain in the area. Riders will see a kiln used by early settlers in the region to make lime for building purposes and ride by one of the first copper mines opened in the area. They will witness, first hand, the hard work the early settlers endured to access the resources needed to build the communities people now enjoy.
The return part of the loop will be up Warm Springs Canyon in which the remains of an early copper mill are still evident. Buildings which housed blasting powder and caps are still standing. Remains of a grocery store, saloon and other buildings are evident. The mill was in full production during World War I and World War II. The canyon formations are awesome and some of the early stages of the earth’s existence will be evident in the fossils found in the boulders, which lay on the canyon floors.
Within Kanab itself, the festival will feature two rodeos at the Kane Plex Arena, one for youth and one for adult cowboys.
The “Jacob Hamblin Days” youth rodeo will start off rodeo events, Friday at 7 p.m., followed by women’s team sorting at 9 p.m. Gymkana events start at 10 a.m. Saturday at Kane Plex Auxillary Arena, and include equestrian games and events for youth.
Team Roping starts Saturday, 10 a.m., at Kane Plex Arena, with the concluding rodeo being the “Jacob Hamblin Days Ranch Rodeo” Saturday at 7 p.m. Tickets to watch the ranch rodeo are $5.
Registration to enter the rodeo as a competitor is closed.
- What: “Jacob Hamblin Days”
- When: June 19-20, 8 a.m.
- Where: Kane Plex Arena, 971 E Kaneplex Drive, Kanab; Kanab Middle School, 690 S. Cowboy Way, Kanab; and Bureau of Land Management Office, 669 South Highway 89A, Kanab
- Tickets: All events are free for spectators, except the ranch rodeo which is $5
- Jacob Hamblin Days website
- Contact: Bob Johnson at 435-689-0986 or Mark Overus at 435-899-0813
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