KONY Coins for Kids president Carl Lamar chosen to be 85th Dixie Roundup Rodeo grand marshal

Composite image. Background photo shows the 84th annual Dixie Roundup Rodeo Parade, St. George, Utah, Sept. 15, 2018. Inset photo shows KONY hosts Amy Chesley and Carl Lamar at sales event, July 13, 2019, St. George, Utah | Background photo by Cody Blowers. Inset photo by Andrew Pinckney, St. George News

CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — When the 85th annual St. George Lions Club Dixie Roundup Rodeo parade rolls its way down Tabernacle Street in St. George on Saturday, it will be radio host Carl Lamar leading the pack as this year’s grand marshal.

BlvdHome CEO Marc Wittwer speaks with KONY 99.9 radio host Carl Lamar at a ribbon cutting ceremony, St. George, Utah, March 20, 2019 | File photo by Andrew Pinckney, St. George News

Lamar, who was the 99.9 KONY Country morning co-host for 30 years and currently serves as executive vice president of Canyon Media and brand manager for St. George News Radio, said when the Dixie Roundup Rodeo committee chairman asked him to be grand marshal, he was in shock.

“Those are the last words I ever thought would come out of the Roundup Rodeo chairman’s mouth. My first thought was, ‘Say what?’ It really took me by surprise,” Lamar said, and then joked, “and then I thought, ‘Wow, that’s pretty cool. But OK, how many guys turned you down before?’”

While Lamar may be known to many for his almost five-decade career in many different phases of radio, he is probably best known in Southern Utah as president of the annual KONY Coins for Kids charity event that he works tirelessly to help organize — helping thousands of children and families in Washington County celebrate Christmas for over 30 years.

Amy Chesley, co-host of KONY’s “Marty & Amy in the morning” show, said he has earned the recognition.

KONY radio host Carl Lamar interviews school officials and teachers at 2018 Labor Day sale school donation event, St. George, Utah, Sept. 25, 2018 | File photo by Andrew Pinckney, St. George News

“He’s done a lot for our community, and he deserves it,” she said. “And it’s right up his alley.”

Lamar said he has enjoyed working with the St. George Lions Club over the years and noted that this year is interesting because it is like the rodeo has come full-circle for him. At a ticket sale event last Saturday, while interviewing the present Dixie Roundup queen McKinley Drake, he realized he had also interviewed her mother, Natalie, several years before during her reign as queen.

“That’s how long I have been around,” he said. 

Dixie Roundup Rodeo president Marty Lane said Lamar is “like your best friend.”

“Everybody knows him,” he said, adding that Lamar was chosen for his decades of service in St. George and for being a pillar of the community. 

“Some people would call me a pill, but not a pillar,” Lamar joked.

For Lamar, the roundup is more than just a rodeo. He sees it as a greeting place for the community, especially on “kids night,” which takes place Thursday starting at 6 p.m. He said good food, great company and having fun with friends is the whole idea.

“I don’t know where they get their hot dogs from – it’s a club secret – but they don’t taste like any hot dog you’ll buy anywhere,” he said. “I don’t know what they do, but you just got to have a couple of rodeo hot dogs.”

Lane agreed but said you can never just have “a couple.”

“You can’t ever just have one hot dog — you always end up having another with a side of nachos,” Lane said. In fact, he and Lamar have gone head-to-head over the years to see who could eat the most.

But more than just the food, Lamar said he’s looking forward to participating in the Grand Entry at Thursday night’s opening ceremony. He is always amazed at how fast the riders circle the arena carrying flags, never slipping around the corners. 

“They go so fast it scares me,” he said. 

He said he has an appreciation for everyone involved in the rodeo, including the roundup’s resident clown Randee Munn, barrel men and bullfighters that work hard every night to help keep the cowboys safe from danger.

“They’re athletes, they really are. The speed at which they react to danger for the cowboy —  they’re amazing. Very athletic, very quick and very smart.”

As far as the events, he said he enjoys the saddle bronc and bareback riding, but the gutsiest event has got to be the bull riding, something many attendees come just to see. An average rodeo bull weighs in at around 1,500 pounds, and he said he remembers the amazing sensation of power standing behind the chute as the experts do the flanking of the bull prior to letting loose.

“You can just feel the intensity of that strength. As you see that bull close up and the muscles twitching, you can feel how much energy there is — how much strength there is. You can tell the bull does not want to be there. He wants to be out moving around. The sheer energy of that bull … those things are just incredibly strong,” Lamar said. “This rodeo stuff, it’s all skill.”

He said being grand marshal is an honor, both in the association with the Lions Club and the recognition for being in the community for so long.

“I guess I’ve made it. It’s time to go out.”

The 2019 Dixie Roundup Rodeo runs Sept. 19-21 from 6-11 p.m. at the historic Dixie Sunbowl in St. George. The parade route starts on Tabernacle Street near 200 West in St. George at 9 a.m. Saturday.

Tickets are on sale daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lions Club or by calling the radio hotline at 435-673-3301. Tickets will also be available at the gate starting at 6 p.m.

Written by ANDREW PINCKNEY, St. George News.

• S P O N S O R E D   C O N T E N T •

Event details

  • What: 85th annual St. George Lions Dixie Roundup Rodeo.
  • When: Thursday-Saturday, Sept., 19-21. 6-11 p.m. |Parade, Saturday, 9 a.m.
  • Where: Dixie Sunbowl, 150 S. 400 East, St. George.
  • Information: Website, Facebook | Telephone:  435-673-3301.

Email: apinckney@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews 

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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