Cliff Blonquist was stumped for a second.

He was asked, "What would a fair be without a rodeo?"

"It would be a big void to not have a rodeo," he said after thinking about it.

So that is why Coalville resident Cliff Blonquist is still Summit County Fair rodeo chairman.

This year's rodeos, held Aug. 8 and Aug. 9 at the Summit County Fairgrounds, come 21 years after he joined the committee when fair organizers wanted to change the amateur rodeo into a professional rodeo, sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, the recognized leader in professional rodeo.

The change was made because attendance was down, Blonquist said, and revenue from attendance increases the purse -- which is what rodeo competitors seek.

The top 15 money-earners each year go to the 2014 National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, which is the Super Bowl or World Series for cowboys.

So, with increased purse money, over the last two decades the Summit County has become a prime spot in the PRCA bull-riding circuit, said Travis English, fair director, full of national-level competitors, veteran circuit cowboys and new up-and-coming talent.

Blonquist said there are 194 contestants this year.

And Blonquist is one of the chief reasons why. It's why the Days of '47 committee recruited him two years ago to help run their rodeos, too.

The Summit County Fair has become popular for a number of reasons, Blonquist said. One of the chief reasons is that Coalville's rodeo is right off the I-80 highway, a major thoroughfare through the nation.


Advertisement

And if the cowboys are flying, it takes no longer than an hour to get from the Salt Lake International Airport to Coalville.

Also drawing competitors, Blonquist said, is the proximity of the Summit County Fair to the Cache County Fair, which the same weekend is holding its own rodeo. That makes it possible for rodeo competitors to ride in two events the same weekend -- two chances to earn more money.

But perhaps the biggest reason why the Summit County Fair is a big deal is that the Summit County Fair is in the top third of the nation in how much money they give to winners, Blonquist said. Riders who are in the top 15 in the world come to Coalville for that very reason, Blonquist said.

So, the question came again. What would be a fair be without a rodeo?

"It'd be a disaster," Blonquist said.

The two PRCA rodeos at the Summit County Fair will be held Aug. 8 and Aug. 9 at 8 p.m. each night, Tickets for adults are $11.50, children up to age 14 are $5.50, and those 3 and younger are free. There is different pricing for fence-line seating. Tickets can be bought online at https://www.ezticketlive.com/checkout/eventbdate.asp?id=181