‘A sense of tradition’: St. George Lions saddle up for 86th annual Dixie Roundup Rodeo

CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — Attendees at the 86th annual Dixie Roundup Rodeo, scheduled for Sept. 17-19, will once again be able to support community causes while enjoying a night of classic Western entertainment with the family. 

85th annual St. George Lions Club Dixie Roundup Rodeo, Sept. 19, 2019, St. George, Utah | Photo by Andrew Pinckney, St. George News

“It’s a hometown event,” St. George Lions Club secretary Mark Breinholt said. “There’s a lot of people that aren’t even hardcore rodeo fans; they just like to come and experience the whole tradition.”

Breinholt said the rodeo, hosted by the St. George Lions every year since 1934, is eagerly anticipated by fans of all ages. Southern Utahns count on it being held the third weekend of every September. Some even plan their vacations around it. 

Although the events to elect rodeo royalty were all postponed or canceled, Breinholt said audiences can expect just as much excitement as in years past. Bull riding, bareback and saddle bronc riding, team roping, steer wrestling and barrel racing are among the nightly attractions, plus mutton busting for the kids. Competition is sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, the world’s largest rodeo organization.

Attendees should plan on the finals on Saturday selling out, Breinholt said, as they have for all of the 25 years he has been involved with the rodeo. Thursday is always Kids Night, when children ages 11 and under can enter for free – and spend their money on the St. George Lions’ “famous” hamburgers instead.  

Breinholt said Fridays were historically the slowest in terms of ticket sales until the rodeo committee started “Pink Night,” when $1 from every ticket is set aside for the Intermountain Foundation at Dixie Regional Medical Center to benefit breast cancer patients.

85th annual St. George Lions Club Dixie Roundup Rodeo, Sept. 19, 2019, St. George, Utah | Photo by Andrew Pinckney, St. George News

Spectators and participants are encouraged to wear pink as a show of support for breast cancer awareness. Each Pink Night typically raises between $10,000-$12,000, and the St. George Lions have donated well over $100,000 over the years. 

“That brings people out to attend the rodeo that might not otherwise – to support the cause,” he added. 

Admission is $17 per person for reserved seating, $12 for general admission adults and $5 for kids ages 11 and under. Kids age 2 and younger who can sit on a parent’s lap can enter for free. 

Early ticket sales for reserved seating and general admission begin Saturday. The sales office will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day except Sunday throughout the week of the rodeo. Tickets can be purchased directly from the St. George Lions at 301 E. 100 South or by calling the rodeo hotline at 435-673-3301

Utah State Sen. Don Ipson, CEO of DATS Trucking and a longtime St. George resident, will serve as this year’s grand marshal. The rodeo committee selects a local citizen each year to be recognized for their contributions to the community. Like Ipson, many are affiliated with the St. George Lions, but Breinholt said grand marshals are selected based upon merit not membership. 

While the Saturday morning parade has become another rodeo tradition, Tabernacle Street will remain quiet this year. When the St. George Ironman triathlon was initially rescheduled from May to September due to COVID-19 concerns, the race route conflicted with the parade, and the rodeo committee made the decision to forego holding it elsewhere. Breinholt said they expect it to be back bigger and better than ever in 2021. 

85th annual St. George Lions Club Dixie Roundup Rodeo, Sept. 19, 2019, St. George, Utah | Photo by Andrew Pinckney, St. George News

The Dixie Roundup Rodeo started as a small event put on by the founding members of the St. George Lions, most of whom Breinholt described as having “some cowboy in them.” The Dixie Sunbowl has been the event’s home ever since the arena opened in the late 1940s. 

“One of the main reasons it’s been going on for so long is that generation after generation will continue to attend,” he said. “People come with their kids and grandkids and great-grandkids and buy the same seats every year, so there’s a sense of tradition.”  

Today, the rodeo serves as the only source of revenue for the St. George Lions and supports their charitable contributions to scholarship funds, rodeo clubs, collegiate sports teams and 4-H and Future Farmers of America high school programs in the Washington County area. Some of the proceeds fund the local arm of the Lions International initiative to improve quality of life for the visually impaired. 

“The more money we make, the more we can give back to the community, and that’s the whole point,” Breinholt said. “So we work our tails off to make this thing work, and then we’ve got some money, give it away and do it again next year. That’s what we’re all in this for.”

Written by ALEXA MORGAN for St. George News.

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Event details

  • What: St. George Lions Dixie Roundup Rodeo.
  • When: September 17-19, 6-11 p.m.
  • Where: Dixie Sunbowl, 150 S. 400 East, St. George.
  • Tickets: Reserved seating – $17; general admission – adults $12, children age 11 and under $5.
  • Information: Telephone: 435-673-3301 | Email: rodeo@stgeorgelions.com| Website.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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