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Amid Drought, Fireworks Still Planned for Oakley's Fourth of July Rodeo This Weekend


Organizers of the Oakley Fourth of July Rodeo say they will try to put on fireworks shows during the popular annual event, but that they are going to keep an eye on the weather and drought conditions on a daily basis.


The Oakley Rodeo will run from Thursday, July 1 to Saturday, July 3, and then Monday, July 5. 


Oakley Mayor Wade Woolstenhulme told KPCW that the city considered several factors, including Utah’s exceptional drought conditions, before going forward with the fireworks display.


“Because of the moisture that we’ve received the last week, the areas in which we light them, and we’ve spoken with many people—some of the firefighters that are always here fighting fires—and we’ve really never had much of a problem in the past, with a few sparks here in the field,” he said. “We’re going to use extra caution. We’ve got people that volunteer with fire extinguishers in the areas where we’ve had sparks hit in the past, put them out. We’re going to try to do our fireworks. I think our people need something to celebrate. It is a day-to-day situation. If we have high winds and things like that, we will call them off, and then whatever we have left, we’ll use at a different time when conditions are appropriate.”


The mayor said city has sold out all four nights of the 2021 rodeo.


Organizers have also made considerations for ticket-buyers last year who couldn’t attend because of the pandemic. 


Woolstenhulme said last summer those patrons could ask for a refund, but most chose to have their tickets rolled over for 2021. According to the city, all tickets that weren’t used last summer can be used on the corresponding night this weekend.


Woolstenhulme said organizers are saving some seats for patrons who show up on the wrong night.


The rodeo will also be honoring the mayor’s father, Ken Woolstenhulme, who died last week.


Ken Woolstenhulme was a former Summit County Commissioner and an icon in the town who was involved in the rodeo since its establishment.


“When he got to where he couldn’t ride, I loaned his horse to my son-in-law who lived in Logan,” Wade Woolstenhulme said. “And I went and got his horse the other day. And his funeral procession, when we took his body to the cemetery, we had a buckboard pulled by a horse-drawn. And then we led a riderless horse with his horse, his saddle, bridle and chaps hanging and his boots and spurs tied to his stirrups. And we led it to the cemetery. And they’re going to honor him every night before the rodeo with someone leading his horse around the arena.”


He said the program will include a video salute to his father.


Woolstenhulme added that on July 5, activities will include a parade at 9 a.m. and a patriotic presentation with the theme of women’s suffrage. 

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.
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