Each year, the Days of '47 Rodeo committee attempts to mesh new types of entertainment and competition with one of the state's longest-running traditions.

Just a few weeks ago, the rodeo lost the voice of the rodeo in Clem McSpadden, who'd announced at the event for 46 consecutive years.

"They don't make them like that anymore," said the rodeo's co-chairman, Dave Burdett. "That was the end of an era."

For the last several years, there have been three announcers, so officials won't replace McSpadden, who was best known for his "Cowboy's Prayer."

"We will have a tribute to Clem at this year's rodeo," Burdett said.

John Payne, aka the One-Armed Bandit, will entertain rodeo fans with a slightly different show than he put on the last time he performed at the Days of '47 Rodeo in 1998.

He earned the PRCA's Specialty Act of the Year 1989 through 1996, and has earned rave reviews for his act, which involves herding animals.

"It's just fantastic," said Brad Harmon, co-chair of the rodeo. The committee tweaked the format so the rodeo will stay under two hours and they will forego a Saturday rodeo in order to bring in the Professional Bull Rider's Association for one night's competition.

"It's an interesting thing because the stock contractors also pay an entry fee and can win prize money," Harmon said. "It brings the best animal athletes to town."

There will be 35 bulls in the two-hour competition that was very popular last year in its first appearance.

"We really wanted to give it a chance to succeed if the community wants to make it part of our celebration," Harmon said.

Tonight at 7 is the opening night of the rodeo, and it is also kids night, with children under the age of 14 gaining entry for half-price. The July 22 show will be a fundraiser for breast cancer research — Tough Enough to Wear Pink — with all proceeds going to Huntsman Cancer Institute. On July 23, there will be a tribute to the U.S. Military.

The rodeo runs through July 24, although there is no rodeo on Sunday. Also, the performance on July 24 starts at 4 p.m.


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