The grandson of former Mayor Harm Peery is rallying public support to keep the Ogden Pioneer Rodeo at the same venue where Peery started it 64 years ago.
Mayor Glenn Mecham wants to move the rodeo to the Weber County Fairgrounds. Rob King, Peery's grandson, said his family opposes that move.Peery started the rodeo 64 years ago at the Ogden stadium, which has deteriorated over the years. Still, King called it the most beautiful rodeo setting in the world.
"So much has been changed (in Ogden) and ended up for the worse," he said to applause.
King presented the City Council with a petition with 100 signatures asking for a hearing on the move. The council set a hearing for this week.
After three years of discussion, Mecham presented the proposal to the council this month asking for immediate action so the city could hire builders to add another 4,000 seats to the Weber Fairgrounds arena.
But the Weber County Commission didn't like the plan, and sent a counter-proposal to the council. City and county attorneys are working out the differences, and a final draft is expected this week.
Under Mecham's plan, the city would forgo up to $100,000 of the county's share of maintaining Christmas Village and Municipal Gardens if the county builds the new arena seating and lets the city use the stadium for three weeks each July at no cost.
The county also would get all concession proceeds from the Pioneer Days celebration.
After the stadium expansion is paid off in 10 years, the county would again begin paying for Municipal Gardens upkeep. Commissioner Joe Ritchie said the county wants to renegotiate its Municipal Gardens agreement and doesn't like being given just 10 years to pay off the stadium debt.
Community service director Nate Pierce estimated that it would cost $1.5 million to bring the old stadium up to code, and the city could save between $70,000 and $120,000 a year with the move.
It is uncertain what would happen to the old stadium if the rodeo moves. It is the only activity held there.