Frontier Days provides break from Labor Day crowds
Since 1984, the Frontier Days festival in Francis has provided jaded Labor Day revelers a respite from Heber’s Swiss Days and the Miners Day parade in Park City.
"I think we offer something different. Swiss Days is so big, if somebody wants something that’s a little small and wants to find a parking place, we don’t have the crowds," Francis Town Clerk Lynette Hallam said. "But we did put in new bleachers and we almost fill them up."
She added that there aren’t many places left along the Wasatch Back where the holiday can be spent facing off with a bull.
"That’s what people seem to enjoy," Hallam said.
Brave cowboys who take to the dusty rodeo arena after a bull-riding event Monday afternoon will stare down a bull for chance to win a belt buckle and $300, she said.
"We paint rings for about six participants out in the arena," she said. "Then we put the contestants in the rings and turn a bull loose. The last person in the ring wins the event."
Frontier Days is Sept. 2 and 4 and the Ring of Fear follows the Bull Wars competition that begins Monday at 2 p.m.
Other "Wild West events" scheduled during rodeos in Francis today and Monday include wild cow milking, the saddle cow, trailer racing and hide racing.
"We’re more hometown," Hallam said. "We have many Wild West events with some local participants."
Wild cow milking pits two-person teams in a competition that requires a cow be captured and milked on the spot, she added.
"One of them holds the cow down while the other one milks," Hallam said.
A saddle is placed on a cow during the saddle cow event and cowboys must ride the animal from one end of the arena to the other, she added.
Participants dive onto a piece of cowhide pulled behind a horse during hide racing matches and competitors must be first to pull their horses from a trailer, saddle and ride the animals around the arena to win the trailer race, Hallam said.
"That gets kind of wild because they don’t take a whole lot of time putting the saddle on, so sometimes it falls off as they’re going around," she said.
Meanwhile, the Frontier Days parade has grown since the celebration began expanding about 12 years ago, Hallam said.
Political candidates like Democrat Laura Bonham, Republican Mel Brown and Libertarian Gary Shumway, who will compete in November for a seat in the state House of Representatives, are expected to appear in Saturday’s parade that begins at 5 p.m.
Other highlights of Frontier Days this year include:
Horseshoe tournament all day Sept 2 and Sept. 4
Draft horse pulls Sept. 2 at 2 p.m.
Rodeo Sept. 2 at 7 p.m. followed by fireworks
Softball tournament all day Sept. 2 and 4
Battle of the Bulls Sept. 4 at 2 p.m.
Frontier Days events are scheduled at the Francis Town Park/Rodeo Grounds at 2317 South Spring Hollow Road.
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Tourism revenue increased month over month this summer, the Park City Chamber/Bureau reported, but lodging numbers are still off 22% for December. Officials reported a recent uptick in bookings, though, pointing to a modicum of certainty after ski resorts announced their COVID-related opening policies.