Veteran saddle bronc rider Rusty Allen tackles a new challenge this weekend.
He is the official ambassador for his hometown's first professional rodeo, which started Friday night and continues today and Monday at the Pony Express Memorial Park in Eagle Mountain.
Allen, 34, has competed at rodeo's highest levels.
He's a five-time National Finals qualifier who has finished as high as fifth in the world. Allen admits, however, that the task of helping get a PRCA-sanctioned rodeo off the ground is a unique thrill.
According to Allen, the original idea was to hold a kids' rodeo in conjunction with the city's annual Pony Express Days celebration.
It didn't take long, however, for organizers to realize they could put together something bigger.
"Things just kind of snowballed," Allen said. "The more it was talked about, the more interest there was."
Some of the top PRCA cowboys in the country will participate in the three-day rodeo, including Allen.
He ranks 37th in the early-season saddle bronc standings with earnings of $7,730.
"I need to get better," Allen said, "but I can't complain. I'd say I've had a decent start. Not the one I was looking for, but OK."
Allen refers to the spring rodeos as the preseason.
He explained: "If they go well, it's a bonus. If a guy can just be solid and keep his foot in the door, then he can get hot in June and July."
Of course, the summer months are the heart of the rodeo season.
"I'd rather be hot in June and July than start off good and not do anything all summer," Allen said. "That'd be like a football team winning all their preseason games and then falling on their butt. ... It doesn't do you much good."
As the summer season approaches, a handful of Utah cowboys are already among the leaders in their respective events.
Clint Robinson of Spanish Fork is fourth in the all-around standings with earnings of $31,405.
Kaycee Feild of Payson is second in bareback ($60,186) while team roper Colby Siddoway of Hooper is ninth ($22,399). In saddle bronc, brothers Jesse and Cody Wright of Milford are 12th and 14th after earning $20,108 and $19,242, respectively. In bull riding, former world champion Wesley Silcox of Santaquin is second ($81,189) and Payson's Steve Woolsey sits in 18th place ($24,681).
Friday-Monday » Pony Express Days Rodeo, Eagle Mountain
June 3-6 » Canyonlands PRCA Rodeo, Moab
June 4-5 » Black Diamonds Legends Rodeo, Price
June 4-5 » Fort Herriman Memorial Rodeo, Herriman
June 4-5 » Deseret Peak Rodeo, Tooele
June 10-12 » Days of the Old West Rodeo, Delta
June 16-19 » Strawberry Days Rodeo, Pleasant Grove
June 18-19 » Wendy Wood Memorial Rodeo, Cedar City
June 24-26 » Lehi Round-up Rodeo, Lehi
July 1-3 » Western Stampede Rodeo, West Jordan
July 1-5 » Oakley Independence Day Rodeo, Oakley
July 8-10 » Dinosaur Round-up Rodeo, Vernal
July 10-12 » Great American West Rodeo, Logan
July 15-17 » Ute Stampede Rodeo, Nephi
July 18-19 » Fort Herriman Days Rodeo, Herriman
July 19-24 » Days of '47 Rodeo, West Valley City
July 20-24 » Pioneers Days Rodeo, Ogden
July 21-24 » Fiesta Days Rodeo, Spanish Fork
July 23 » Bit 'n Spur Rodeo, Tooele
July 24 » Independence Days Rodeo, Salina
July 29-30 » Desert View Pro Rodeo, Castle Dale
July 30-31 » Mountain Round-up Rodeo, Monticello
Aug. 6-7 » Mountain Valley Stampede, Heber City
Aug. 6-7 » Summit County Fair Rodeo, Coalville
Aug. 12-14 » Cache Valley County Fair Rodeo, Logan
Aug. 12-14 » Utah County Fair Rodeo, Spanish Fork
Aug. 13-15 » Beaver County Fair Rodeo, Minersville
Aug. 25-28 » Golden Spike Rodeo, Tremonton
Aug. 28-31 » Iron County Fair Rodeo, Parowan
Sept. 9-19 » Salt Lake County Fair Rodeo, Salt Lake City
Sept. 17-19 » Lions Dixie Round-up Rodeo, St. George