Over the past seven years, the Long Valley Lions Junior Rodeo series has grown from a few local kids to over 130 participants in 2023! Some of these new participants travel from as far as Caliente, Nev., and Tuba City, Ariz., to St. George and Richfield, Utah. The Carroll Arena in Orderville is the host site for these well organized and well attended youth rodeos! The series offers events for all levels of competitors starting at birth and going up to age 18. Events include Dummy Roping, Barrel Racing, Pole Bending, Goat Tying, Sack Roping, Tie-Down, Breakaway, Team Roping and Steer Riding.
Left to right:
All-Around Girls 15-18: Tkaya Phillips, Kate Ballard, Kimber Cluff, Holden Cluff, Lexie Heaton, Hailey Hunt, Boston Heaton (Harper.) Photos by Larry Stanger.
2023 All-Around Winners Drey Stubbs (Brandon), Jane Jennings, JW Reese, Holdyn Cluff, Tibbs Thomas, Tymber Thomas, Coy Richards, Jett Jennings.
Taft Cluff and Lizzy Reese, 2023 MVPs. “I really love to rodeo and enjoy helping people do their best,” says Lizzy. “I am thankful for the Cluff family for sponsoring this award. I love watching other people succeed and have a good time.”
With 130 contestants, and as many talented horses, gathering together for four separate nights of rodeo requires a lot of organization and volunteers. Led by the Club president Josh Jennings, Vice President- Candace Cox, Secretary- Kristy Brinkerhoff, Treasurer-Marla Jennings and board members, John and Dusty Reese, as well as Ben and Jill Cluff. Other necessary members include Rough Stock Managers-Tyler and Vanessa Baird, Austin Baird; Arena Judge-Billy Staton; Snack Shack Managers- Robert and Kellee Baird; Announcer Barry and SuzAnn Miller and Rodeo Photographer- Larry Stanger. To all these amazing people, we humbly say, “Thank you!”
When asked about their favorite part of this rodeo, contestant Candice Brinkerhoff responded, “I probably like goats or sack [roping] best. I like all the events and the thrill of rodeo. I like the people that we get to be with and that everybody is encouraging others to do their best.” McKaydee Bauer says, “I like how there’s no stress – it is competitive, but not stressful! Everyone is so good and helpful and there’s no hate or resentment among competitors.”
President of the Long Valley Lions Junior Rodeo series, Josh Jennings stated, “We want to keep our western and cowboy heritage alive in Kane County. Rodeo is such a great family activity. The entire family can be involved. I love how it teaches these kids how to compete as individuals. The harder they work at it, the more success they have. When their name is called the arena is theirs and it’s their time to shine. It’s remarkable to see how much these kids have improved. Kane County really has some of the most competitive cowboys and cowgirls in Utah. Our goal is to continue to provide an inexpensive opportunity for local kids to come and compete. Our plan is to continue doing what we are doing, teaching our children the values of hard work, faith, patriotism, integrity and family as a rodeo community.”
Vice President-Candice Cox says, “My favorite part is seeing how much contestants learn and grow each year. Watching them overcome their lows and being able to celebrate their wins with them. They leave their heart in the arena and it’s a really awesome experience to witness! Our club’s hope is to give each contestant a place to learn and grow in the rodeo arena.”
With this year’s season coming to an end, we were able to gather as friends, competitors and rodeo family for the awards banquet. It wouldn’t be possible without many amazing and generous sponsors! The Long Valley Lions Rodeo Club was able to award eight saddles, 58 buckles and numerous other prizes including halters, buckles cases, bridles, roping dummies, splint and bell boots and many other useful prizes!
As a competitor for the past four years I agree, the Long Valley Lions Junior Rodeo provides a very positive and supportive atmosphere. I appreciate the honor and opportunity I have had to run the American Flag at the beginning of some of the rodeos, as participants removed cover and the audience stood for our national anthem. I like the patriotism and respect that this rodeo brings to our town. The 2023 season has come to a close, but we made memories that will last a lifetime! Until next year, keep on riding!
Sponsors for the LVLJRS: J Bones Taxidermy; Terrys Food & Drug; Alton Lodge; Kane County Office of Tourism; Long Valley Lions Club; Zion Stays; Archie’s; Ramsay’s Towing and Service Center; White Mountain Trading Post; Glendale Ranch Cabins; JB Cluff Holdings; H&C Development; Baird’s Diesel; Thunderbird Resort; Cox Cattle Co.; State Bank of Southern Utah; and Cowboy’s Smokehouse.