Farmington was built by farmers, ranchers and horsemen. Thirty years ago it was lived in and loved by horsemen, cattlemen and farmers. That has definitely changed in the past 15 years, bringing new developments and homes, families and kids to our community. I understand progress, housing needs and the desire to live in a strong community with good, hardworking values. It is the reason I moved back to this city after living away, bringing my young children back to be raised where I was.
Working at Legacy Events Center was my first job; I was there when it was built. I watched them lay the horseshoes in the cement in the entryway, so excited that after years and years, our county was finally getting an indoor riding arena. I competed in 4-H shows, barrel races, team roping events, riding clubs, open ride days, weekly group roping rentals and junior rodeos. My children have ridden sheep with their neighbor kids, teaching them all about cowboy grit and fun farm values. We attend the county fair with all our “city neighbors,” teaching them a little about our amazing lifestyle.
But I have also watched as the center has slowly, tactically removed the horse world. I sat at a city council meeting and watched as we were told that a “horseman’s lifestyle was no longer relevant in Farmington.” The dollar speaks, and the City Council and management of the Legacy Events Center were motivated. I can see the desire for wrestling tournaments, MMA, dance competitions, etc., and can support the need for these events. But what I don’t understand is why the horse events are being categorically forced out.
The Legacy Junior Rodeo Association, the Davis County Mounted Sheriff Posse, the Cowboy Mountain Shooting Association, the Utah Cutting Horse Association, Twin Stars Riding Club, Legacy Barrel Racing, most 4-H club meetings, local jackpots, team penning and team sorting have left for other arenas simply because of the exorbitant price increases and their inability to even schedule time in the arena.
When Davis County residents were asked to take a survey on what the “Legacy Event Center will look like going into the future,” we were asked about the usage of the arena, but the statistics and wording of the study didn’t offer any real options for anyone to build a case for bringing back the equine focus. Besides one question directly relating to how many times we have used the Legacy Arena for equestrian events (which is ironic, considering most of my equestrian events held there have been forced out), each question was geared toward opening the center to more concerts, tournaments, games, etc. Most people I spoke to who filled out the survey didn't even realize that it was specifically targeting the removal of horse use in the arena.
The 4-H program is one of the most impressive youth organizations we have in our country. We begin each event with the Pledge of Allegiance, standing with respect toward our flag. Most also begin with a word of prayer, praying for safety and sportsmanship in a world where this is almost never taught or even acceptable. But what sets 4-H apart is the pledge recited weekly to share our desire and hope for bettering our community.
“I pledge my head to greater learning, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country and my world.”
There are so few children’s organizations that pledge to serve and help the community. It is integral in creating values that are almost nonexistent in our children’s world, and the Legacy Events Center is making it almost impossible for the 4-H groups to meet and practice. For the whole spring, summer and fall, the local 4-H group was given two evenings on which they could hold a practice. Other counties and clubs meet weekly.
The Legacy Events Center may be making more money now, but sacrificing a world in which the things of true worth were built and developed seems to be a poor trade. We have had amazing examples and leaders in our country who spoke about the value of working with animals, such as Ronald Reagan, who said, “There’s nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse.”
Any quality we truly value today, such as hard work, perseverance, patience, knowing the value of a dollar and reusing instead of replacing, came from our ancestors who were cattlemen, horsemen or farmers. Our country was built because of these hardworking people. We live in a community that has the benefit of a horse facility, bringing in the best kinds of people to offer more to our children and our children’s children. Don’t ruin it by making Farmington like every other city. Keep the “Farm” in Farmington. We can all share, but we should be able to use the facilities that were built for us.