Francis Frontier Days celebrates the end of summer
If being charged by a bull were part of Lynette Hallam’s job description as the town clerk of Francis, she wouldn’t have no choice but to quit.
She says she’s not foolhardy enough to participate in the Ring of Fear, one of the flagship events in the Francis Frontier Days’ weekend celebration. The event is held in conjunction with the Cowboy Rodeo Commission’s Battle of the Bulls at 2 p.m. on Labor Day. Viewers pay $6 to watch six competitors stand in painted circles in the bull ring. As if in a nightmare, bulls are unleashed into the ring and rodeo clowns steer them toward the contestants. The last competitor to leave his or her circle wins $300, and some serious bragging rights.
Francis Frontier Days runs all day Saturday and Monday with a softball tournament, horse show, parade, barbeque, rodeo and cajones served sunny side up.
"It’s the last brouhaha of the summer," Hallam said. "It’s more down-home than other rodeos. We get a good crowd, but it’s not so crowded you’re uncomfortable."
The event, no matter how bucolic for the 1,000 or so rodeo spectators, is almost certainly uncomfortable for the 30 professional bull riders who come from five states to show off their staying power. Bill Crittenden, organizer of Battle of the Bulls, says Frontier Days attracts serious competitors. "This is no little backyard event," he warned.
Eight is the magic number for bull riders. That’s exactly eight eternities, Crittenden says. "You’re bearing down, hoping you make it the eight seconds, then you’re hoping to get away without hurting yourself," he said.
Crittenden, who used to rodeo competitively, broke five ribs, a collar bone and punctured a lung after a bull threw him.
For the city slickers in attendance, organizers have scheduled an invitational softball tournament, arts and crafts and live performers. The country-western band Western Shadows takes the stage Saturday evening at 5 p.m. and solo artist Danielle Fowles sings at 8:30 Monday morning while volunteers serve breakfast.
Organizer Karri Lynne Prescott expects 35 antique cars, horse-drawn carriages, political candidates, floats and local businesses to participate in Saturday’s 5 p.m. parade. She said the event is important for community building. "It rallies all of the little local people around," she said.
Down-home it may be, but Hallam said she is impressed with how the festivities have grown over the years. "It started in the 80s as a really small town rodeo, and it’s gotten to the point where it’s bigger."
The fireworks show that takes place Saturday after the rodeo is a recent addition to Frontier Days. Organizers have been putting on the colorful display for the past four years. The show doesn’t fail to impress Hallam. "It’s not just up in the air and pop and boom," she said. "It’s a variety."
Events such as the breakfast and barbeque cost no more than $7 per person and family passes are available. All events will take place at Francis Town Park located at 2317 South Spring Hollow Road, one mile south of Kamas on State Route 32. For more information call 435-783-6236 or visit http://www.francisutah.org.
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A Summit County Councilor said recently that it will become necessary to require people to hold permits to use trails in the Snyderville Basin. There is concern that people from the Salt Lake Valley are contributing to overcrowding issues on the trails.