Over the July 4th holiday weekend, we found at least 4 rodeos within about an hour from Salt Lake City. The closest one was the Western Stampede in West Jordan, UT. There was a carnival next door, so you and your family and friends could spend the entire day or several days and evenings having fun. We chose to attend the rodeo on the 4th, closing night and to see the fireworks after the final bull riding event .
One of the highlights for us was the Mutton Bustin' event. This was not an event that I had seen (or experienced) previously. Children (cut-off age after looking at several seems to be 9) ride a sheep as long as they can. It is similar to cowboys riding the bucking broncos, only these are very young cowboys and cowgirls, and the sheep do not buck as wildly as the broncos, although these sheep sure can jump! There were two rounds of this event on this night. The sheep seemed to win the first round, but a couple or the kids rode their "steed" for a ways during the second round later in the evening. Someone sitting near us informed us that a child rode a sheep all the way across the arena the night before. Our grandson very much wants to participate in this event (so he says.)
The young riders have to bridle or strap to hang onto. They do not have a saddle to help them stay seated. Some have a choke-hold on the sheep, others have fistfuls of wool. All were good champs about the rough rides and their eventual dumping into the dirt. It was cute enough to see these kiddos dressed in their western wear, and the mutton busting' was just icing on the cake.
If you have the chance to see this event, take your friends and enjoy it. Laughter is good medicine!
Note: the photos are not great, but I think you can still get an idea of the fun it is to watch. Sorry about the blurry pics!