The history and beauty of southern Utah is celebrated in Kanab at the annual Jacob Hamblin Days Festival, starting on Friday, June 19 and Saturday, June 20. Named after one of southern Utah’s early, and most influential, settlers, “Jacob Hamblin Days is a celebration of the heritage of southern Utah,” says Kelly Stowell, director of Kanab’s Center for Education, Business and the Arts. Heritage comes alive during Jacob Hamblin Days with rodeos, a horse trail ride, hiking, and an educational seminar about Butch Cassidy. That heritage combines southern Utah’s rich American-west cowboy recent past, integrated with its more ancient – and stunningly beautiful – geology and landscape.

Jacob Hamblin helped make life in southern Utah possible by improving relations between early pioneer settlers and the Native Americans in the area. The sign in front of his historic home describes him as a “pioneer explorer, missionary trailblazer and Indian peacemaker.” A friend to the natives, Hamblin eased tensions between them and white settlers. “We have such an amazing history in southern Utah, and we want to celebrate that,” organizer and Kanab resident Bob Johnson remarked.

Jacob Hamblin Days starts on June 19 at 7 p.m. at the Kanab Middle School, where author Bill Betensen will host a free lecture about Butch Cassidy. Bill Betenson has spent years researching the life of Butch Cassidy. In 2012, his research became the subject of a book, Butch Cassidy, My Uncle. Since then, Betenson’s quest for the truth has not stopped, leading to this revised book.

With all the beauty of Kane County, that’s not the only reason for Jacob Hamblin Days. “We take any reason we can to go out exploring and get in touch with our roots,” Stowell adds, referring to the ancient roots of the earth itself. Roots that include the Mansard Trail, where features and mysteries of the vermillion cliffs will be explored. Meet at 8 a.m. at the BLM Kanab Field Office on Saturday, June 20, for a hike to the “Island in the Sky” on the Mansard Trail. “Mansard Trail is remarkable and has one of the most intriguing ancient rock writing panels ever,” Stowell says.

Also on June 20, horseback riders will embark on a journey riding down Lime Canyon (the first pioneer road accessing the Kaibab Mountain), which intersects Snake Gulch and will return through an adjacent canyon, which has the remains of a copper mill which was used during World War I and World War II. Interested riders should meet at 8 a.m. at the south parking area of KanePlex.

Within Kanab itself, the festival will feature two rodeos at the KanePlex Arena: one for youth, and one for adult cowboys. Cowgirls are not left out either, with a women’s team sorting event as well. The Youth Rodeo starts at 7 p.m., followed by Women’s Team Sorting at 9 p.m. on Friday, June 19. Gymkana Events begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 20, and include equestrian games and events for youth. Team Roping at KanePlex Arena starts at 10 a.m. and the Jacob Hamblin Days Ranch Rodeo starts at 7 p.m., with competitive ranch events happening throughout the evening.

More information on all of these events, including registration and fee information, is available at