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PRCA, Days of '47 team up to host 'Olympic-style' rodeo

FILE: A proposal unveiled Wednesday, June 16, 2016, outlined an expansive proposal for a new $17 million stadium at the Utah State Fairpark. The new venue is seen here in an artist's rendering.
FILE: A proposal unveiled Wednesday, June 16, 2016, outlined an expansive proposal for a new $17 million stadium at the Utah State Fairpark. The new venue is seen here in an artist's rendering.
Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — An "Olympic-style rodeo," flush with $2 million in cash and prizes, will be the first major event at the 10,000-seat stadium still under construction at the Utah State Fairpark, organizers announced this week.

The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and Days of '47 Rodeo issued a joint news release Tuesday, announcing that they're joining forces to host the event.

The newly named Days of '47 Komatsu Equipment Cowboy Games will be held July 19-22 and July 24.

The $17 million arena at the Fairpark is slated to be completed July 1 — just in time for the 2017 rodeo, one of Utah's longest standing traditions.

The Utah Legislature voted unanimously during a special session in July to spend $10 million on the new stadium, meant to give the Days of '47 Rodeo a permanent home while also revitalizing Salt Lake City's west side.

To pay for the stadium, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints contributed $3 million, Salt Lake County committed $2 million and Salt Lake City pitched in $1 million. Private donations are expected to cover the remaining cost.

Dan Shaw, president of the Days of '47 Rodeo, said rodeo organizers are "excited" to partner with the PRCA to introduce the "new and innovative" Cowboy Games.

“This exciting, new format will bring a fresh approach to the sport and greater financial opportunities to the rodeo athletes," Shaw said in a prepared statement. "The Cowboy Games will give the fans an opportunity to be more engaged, and will bring widespread national exposure to the sport."

Prizes from the rodeo will count toward the 2017 world standings, according to the Days of '47 website. Winners in the eight disciplines each will be awarded $100,000 in cash and prizes, and a Days of ’47 Cowboy Games gold medal.

Events include bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronco riding, tie-down roping, barrel racing and bull riding.

It will also feature a Western gift expo, livestock show, carnival, pioneer campsites, a free music stage, a free competition arena, pony rides and food.

Tickets are available at Smith'sTix, starting at $95 for the same seat for all five nights of the competition.

Contestants can earn the right to compete in the rodeo three ways:

• The top 10 contestants in the PRCA and Women's Professional Rodeo Association world standings will qualify for the semifinals.

• Twenty other contestants in each event can qualify through a series of rodeo association competitions, along with a point system known as the Cowboy Games Trial Events. Qualifiers from the Cowboy Games Trial Events will advance to the July rodeo's semifinal rounds.

• Ten other select invitations will round out the 40-contestant field in each event.

The July 24 finals will be televised by CBS Sports Network.

For more information, visit daysof47cowboygames.com.