The Pony Express Rodeo in Eagle Mountain was recently awarded “Best Rodeo of the Year” in its state and category by the PRCA Wilderness Circuit.

Each rodeo in the circuit falls into one of three classes: small, medium, or large, based on payout amounts from each rodeo. The Eagle Mountain Rodeo won “Best Rodeo of the Year” for the Small category in Utah.

The rodeo, a staple hosted around the time of Eagle Mountain’s annual Pony Express Days, has been running for more than 10 years. This is the first award of its kind awarded to the Pony Express Events Board.

“It says, ‘hey, look, we put on the best rodeo in our circuit,’” says Jared Gray, member of the Eagle Mountain City Council and president of the Eagle Mountain Rodeo Committee.

The award for Best Rodeo is voted on by the cowboys who compete at each rodeo throughout the circuit.

“I think that it shows a lot of things,” says Gray. “Number one: the cowboys like to come here. It means that we’re going to get high-quality professionals.”

Gray has been the president of the Pony Express Events Board for nine years and says the 2022 season was the best year the rodeo has seen.

Though not entirely, this year was the closest the event has been to selling out the rodeo grounds.

“Even our first night, Thursday night, was almost full. That’s awesome,” says Gray.

Attendance at the rodeo continues to grow each year. Gray anticipates that growth will continue.

“When you’re on top, it’s easier to stay on top,” says Gray. “We’re going to be held to a higher standard, but we’re going to be able to keep that higher standard because we’re going to put on a better rodeo.”

The rodeo’s board of directors is made up of Eagle Mountain resident volunteers and surrounding community members.

“It’s nonstop,” says Gray of the work it takes to put on the rodeo each year.

Gray recognizes that the rodeo would not be successful without its board of directors, or without Bar-T, the rodeo’s stock contractor.

“Having a good stock plays a big part in winning the rodeo of the year. It helps that we have Bar-T Rodeo and great animal athletes as well to help us win,” says Gray.

The Pony Express Events Board is already looking forward to next year’s rodeo, which will be held the second weekend in June during Eagle Mountain’s Pony Express Days.

Gray says now is the “perfect time” for residents to get excited about next year’s rodeo, which will run June 8-10.