The Tooele Bit n’ Spur Rodeo Club will host its 72nd annual Fourth of July Rodeo this week, bringing thousands of rodeo fans to the Deseret Peak Complex to watch some of the area’s top cowboys and cowgirls show off their skills.
The two-day event will also feature a performance by Carver Louis & The Old Lincoln Highway Band, as well as an Independence Day fireworks show.
The rodeo got underway Monday morning with the slack performance at 9 a.m. Full performances will follow at 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday nights, with fireworks to follow Tuesday’s rodeo at approximately 10 p.m.
The Bit n’ Spur Rodeo, in its 16th year at the Deseret Peak Complex, features bareback bronc and saddle bronc riding, team roping, tie-down roping, breakaway roping, barrel racing, steer wrestling and bull riding, in addition to mutton bustin’ for the kids. It is sanctioned but the Rocky Mountain Professional Rodeo Association.
The rodeo, which is the oldest continuously running rodeo in Utah, helps raise funds for the Bit n’ Spur’s Junior Riding Club program, as well as other club activities. The Tooele Bit n’ Spur Club was founded by then-Tooele County Sheriff Alma Bish White in May 1945, with the first Independence Day rodeo held later that year at Legion Park in Settlement Canyon. Another rodeo was held the next month in celebration of the end of World War II.
The next year, the Independence Day rodeo moved to the rodeo grounds at 200 W. 500 South in Tooele on land purchased from Carl Ekenstam. The construction of the rodeo grounds was truly a community effort, as the bucking chutes and rack gates were built at the International Smelter and local volunteers installed lighting, fences, corrals and a half-mile racetrack.
In 2002, the rodeo moved to the Deseret Peak Complex, where it has been held ever since.
Tickets are available at tooelebitnspur.com for $12 for adults and $5 for children age 6-11, with kids age 5 and under admitted free. Adult tickets are $15 at the gate.