Francis' Frontier Days is set to begin this Labor Day weekend and will offer area residents a hefty dose of rodeo and other events.
Luke Thomas, a member of this year's Rodeo Committee, says everyone is very excited about this year's Frontier Days.
"We've got a lot of changes this year," Thomas said. "This year we went with the Rocky Mountain Professional Rodeo Association. We also brought the National Abilities Center on board and we're going to do a Special Needs Rodeo on Saturday night."
For the Special Needs Rodeo, $1 will be donated to the National Abilities Center from every ticket sold.
Other events include a softball tournament that will be held all day Saturday, a free concert by Big Red Judy to be held after the RMPRA Rodeo on Saturday, free kids' scrambles and a bareback event on Monday featuring a scoop shovel race, horse rescue and the 'Ring of Fear,' in which contestants enter the rodeo ring and stand in marked circles with a bull in the ring. The last one left standing in their ring is the winner.
Thomas says the experience of a Francis Frontier Days rodeo is a particularly unique one.
"I think it's a little smaller rodeo, but we have a lot of fun events that they don't have at other rodeos," Thomas said. "We still like the small-town feel rather than some of the big professional rodeos. We're not as commercialized."
Other notable highlights this year, Thomas said, include a grand entry into the arena on Monday by skydivers. Also on hand will be a 2013 chainsaw carving champion, who will be doing carvings all weekend. Saturday afternoon there will also be horse pulls.
Honoring military heroes
A theme this year is honoring military service members, and Saturday will feature a military ceremony and flyover at the arena.
Also present will be 'Dan's Car,' a 2005 Subaru Impreza STI that has been airbrushed with paintings honoring Spc. Daniel Dolan, an Ogden native and Iraq War soldier who was killed during the surge in Baghdad on Aug. 27, 2006.
Dan's Car has toured across the country. The idea was crafted by the Dolan Family, who started a charity called the Daniel G. Dolan Patriot Fund to ensure that their son's memory and efforts were not forgotten. Timothy Dolan, Daniel's father, said his son loved his car, which is why he decided to honor him by keeping and displaying it.
"He loved this car. He put 14,000 miles on [it] in less than six months," Dolan said. "After he was killed, we didn't have the heart to sell it. We found through a friend of his a soldier who airbrushes cars and he put over 500 hours into this car."
Dolan's charity also hosts the Spc. Dan G. Dolan Memorial Ride in Ogden, which was held this year on Aug. 3. The honorary motorcycle ride supports military members and veterans.
Dolan said there is a lot of symbolism behind the airbrushed paintings on Dan's Car. On the passenger's side there are eight soldiers, the total number who were in Daniel's Stryker Brigade Combat Team, the Tomahawks. Daniel, and with his vehicle commander, were killed by an improvised explosive device (IED) while serving on this team.
The car travels in a 36-foot trailer, and Dolan says they have taken it on display to the homecoming celebration for the 3rd Brigade, which had 4,000 soldiers. The soldier that airbrushed the car also made a custom American flag that can be seen on the car's roof.
"We were floored when we saw it," Dolan said. "It's pretty amazing we had a lot of symbolism in this car. It's beyond our wildest dreams."