ST. GEORGE — The 83rd annual St. George Lions Dixie Roundup Rodeo starts Thursday night and continues through Saturday. This year’s theme is “Long Live the Dixie Roundup,” and members of the St. George Lions Club are proud of the rodeo’s long-lived heritage. Among those working behind the scenes are the women of the Lions Club, known as the Lady Lions Auxiliary.
The three-day event, held in the historic Lions Dixie Sunbowl, begins at 7:30 p.m. each evening, with gates opening at 6 p.m. The St. George Lions Club has staged the popular rodeo each year for more than eight decades … with help from the ladies of course.
The St. George Lady Lions chapter currently has more than 50 active members, most of whom have been busy helping prepare for the rodeo.
“At the rodeo, we help in the booths and anywhere else we are needed,” said Katie Larsen, a Lady Lions member whose husband, Chris, is this year’s Dixie Roundup Rodeo chairman. Chris Larsen has also served as a member of the rodeo committee for the past six years.
“Every Lion that has been on this committee, they know it is a big job,” Katie Larsen said. “The Lady Lions are the support team to help them complete any tasks to meet the deadlines and make the event a success.”
During rodeo week, the Lady Lions stay busy all week long. They help out selling tickets and staffing other booths. They also assist with staging the children’s parade, which is being combined with the main rodeo parade this year. The parade will go east on Tabernacle Street from 200 West to 400 East starting at 9 a.m. Saturday.
The Lady Lions also host a party for rodeo sponsors and organizers in advance of the event. This year, the party was held Wednesday night, during which various prizes were awarded, including many donated items.
Deanne Twitchell, the Lady Lions chapter vice president, said the annual party is a way of thanking the sponsors and organizers for their dedicated and ongoing support of the rodeo.
Twitchell, who has been involved with the rodeo for the past several years, said club members work hard to coordinate their efforts to ensure that the rodeo runs smoothly each year.
Kelly Lane, a past president of the Lady Lions chapter and currently the group’s secretary/treasurer, agreed.
“We really are a support for the men (of the Lions Club),” Lane said. “We help them with the booths, and the cooking and the preparation for the party before the rodeo.”
Rodney Hoppal, who was busy stocking boxes of hamburger and hot dog buns in the new concession stands on the north side of the stadium, told St. George News he didn’t think many people realized the level of work that goes into putting on the rodeo.
“We actually start several months in advance,” said Hoppal, who is the rodeo committee member in charge of concessions.
The Lady Lions also hold a contest every spring to select the Dixie Roundup Rodeo royalty. This year, Aubrey Schafer will reign as queen, while Austyn Waegerle was named the rodeo princess. Both girls have been visiting local elementary schools throughout the week to promote the rodeo.
In addition to their work with the rodeo, other year-round Lady Lions activities include the “Jubilee of Trees” in November, the “KONY Kids Gift Wrap” in December and the “Academic Decathlon” in the spring. The group also awards academic scholarships to local high school students planning to attend Dixie State University and makes regular contributions to charities and other community organizations.
- What: St. George Lions 83rd annual Dixie Roundup Rodeo.
- When: Thursday through Saturday, Sept. 14-16. Gates open at 6 p.m., with entertainment from 6 p.m. until the opening ceremony at 7:30 p.m. The rodeo usually lasts until 11 p.m., with the last event being bull riding.
- Where: Historic Dixie Sunbowl, 150 South 400 East, St. George.
- Details: General admission tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children 11 and under. Children ages 2 and under who can be held on a parent’s lap are free. Reserved seats are $15 each.
- For more information, call the St. George Lions Club at 435-673-3301 or visit their Facebook page or website.
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