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Fans fill Preston for rodeo weekend

With top cowboys riding broncs, bulls and roping cows, cowgirls racing ‘round barrels and family and friends coming home for reunions, the 2019 rodeo weekend in Preston was a hit.

Except for a few single seats, each night was considered a sell-out, said rodeo chairman Kris Beckstead. National Finals Rodeo-qualifers Josh Frost, Stetson Wright, Tuff Cooper, Monty Yates, Rhen Richard, Matt Sherwood and Dakota Eldridge all rode in Preston last week.

“If they come here, they enjoy our rodeo, because there are bigger rodeos out there,” said Beckstead. Between registration fees and the $42,000 payout put in by the committee of That Famous Preston Night Rodeo, $89,484 in prize money was paid out this year.

Frost won $2,425 on the bull Big Easy with an 87.5 score. He also received the all-around cowboy award. Dona Kay Rule took home $2,310 for her 16.92 second ride ‘round the barrels. Lane Livingston, Then Richard, and Colton Farceur tied at 8.1 second in the tie-down roping and each took home $2,068 bucks.

Sam Harper took home $2,324 on the saddle bronc Mirror Man with an 86 point run. Taylor Gregg wrestled his steer in 3.4 seconds for a $2,292 payout. Matt Sherwood and Hunter Koch only ran the clock for 4.8 seconds before they had their steer roped for a $3,041 prize.

Bronc Marriott won on the bareback bronc Beatrice for a $2,008 payout. This 20-year-old Woods Cross, Utah cowboy has only been riding five years, he said.

“I wasn’t allowed to get on bucking broncs until I was a sophomore in high school. It was the best day of my life when they let me,” he said. The wait was worth it, he said, when he walked off the arena with that 83.5 score, knowing he’d taken the title.

It was a nice follow-up to a win last week in Joseph Oregon, he said. He came to Preston because he’d heard it was a good rodeo. The reports held true, and he enjoyed his time in Preston, saying the event was comparable to the Fort Worth rodeo, a much bigger event.

“For a small rodeo, it’s great. The crowd really gets into it,” he said. “It’s one of the better rodeos I’ve been to this year.”

Local cowboys and cowgirls, Judd Austin, Brooke Winward, Josie and Laci Jepsen also participated in the event.

Over 300 try walking in ancestor's footsteps

The Preston South Stake youth traveled to Wyoming on July 29-Aug 1, to reenact a small portion of the trail traveled by pioneers who settled this area — specifically, the most tragic portion of the Martin and Willie handcart companies’ journey. The number of leaders traveling with the youth was very restricted due to the number of permits issued by the BLM for traversing Rocky Ridge.

Youth were privileged to visit Martin’s Cove, Rocky Ridge and Rock Creek Hollow where they heard stories of heroic deeds, miracles and severe deprivation. They visited some of the known gravesites of those who perished on the trail. The youth walked in the footsteps of the many who have gone before, pulling handcarts and getting a tiny glimpse of the conditions the pioneers endured.

The two days were spent in the Martin’s Cove area and included square dancing, a “women’s pull” and a river crossing.

The trail over Rocky Ridge was not a part of the last three treks made by youth in the South Stake making it a new experience for many of those who participated. The trail is one of the most difficult parts of the emigrants’ journey due to a 700-foot gain in elevation over two miles of rocky rugged terrain.

The third day began with just enough cloud cover to dissipate a little of the heat on the climb to the top of Rocky Ridge. After reaching the top the clouds vanished and lunch was spent sitting in the full sun about halfway through the 15-mile trail. Some rested under the handcarts, which were nearly the only source of shade.

The handcarts were pulled through multiple, muddy pon- like areas that smelled of cow manure and decay. Some of the boys from the handcarts near the front helped both the handcarts and those walking get across before running to catch up with their groups.

Another mile or so of walking and clouds began to roll in. Lightning could be seen in the distance and the wind began to pick up as a light rain began to fall. Intense heat gave way to much colder weather. The final resting spot was four and a half miles from Rock Creek Hollow and some of the youth retrieved their jackets or rain gear before moving on.

Popsicles and water were offered but many refused the cold treats because they were chilled.

It was harder than most expected to complete the final stretch but complete it they did. At camp, dinner and some well-earned rest was enough for most to get a second wind and visit the gravesite nearby.

It will take some time for the full impact of the experience to sink in but the youth who participated gained a great deal. They worked together to help each other make it through. They experienced the fickle weather patterns of the Wyoming plains and gained a little insight into the trials, sacrifice and joys of the pioneers. (Read more in Rural Route News, page 5.)

West Side continues to consider 4-day week

The West Side School Districts (WSSD) board meeting was held July 17.

To start the meeting off Superintendent Spencer Barzee shared the good times. Schreiber Foods generously gave the high school boys basketball team $1500 to purchase uniforms and other related supplies. Supt. Barzee also said the 12 new classrooms being constructed on the east end of Beutler Middle School are on schedule.

West Side School District has an endowment fund to help former students and current faculty who otherwise would not be able, to earn college degrees. At present six faculty members are working on an advanced degree with another 10 having already completed theirs. This helps the district in hiring quality applicants who have been trained to work specifically with West Side School District.

Student safety continues to be a concern with the student parking lot, at the middle school, specifically when students are crossing to and from the high school. The previous restrictions from last year will remain in place. At present methods of preventing access to the parking lot during times when school is in session are being explored, including, but not limited to, a gate. The hope is that by restricting traffic the students going between the middle school and high school for lunch and classes will be safer.

Members of the public who were unable to attend an open discussion between the board and the patrons of the WSSD regarding a four-day week on Aug. 1, are invited to email Barzee at, to provide input on the idea.

In changing to a four-day week, the district would actually gain 12 hours of instruction time on a 60-minute period schedule at the high school, while losing one calendar day. The district would also save approximately $50,000 per year in transportation and other costs. That money could be spent elsewhere such as new equipment, construction, after school programs, etc. It would also help the district hire teachers, who are increasingly interested in the four-day week.

The board reviewed High School Principal Tyler Telford’s list of possible impacts foreseen at WSHS. He noted that class offerings, including a number of electives, would not change. Graduation requirements would not change. Periods would be modified from a 50-minute period to a 58 or 60-minute period. He stated that 50-minute periods on a five-day week are more desirable to learn math and English.

Homework loads during the week would be similar to those currently assigned. A slight shift could be explored to change due dates to allow Fridays to be used for homework when needed as the teachers adjust to students’ needs and schedule demands.

Longer periods are beneficial to CTE (Ag, Computer, CNA, etc.), art, science labs, PE, and weights classes. Sports practices would start and end at a later time. Coaches may elect for Friday morning practices.

The four-day week would better align to the Utah State University broadcast system in which many of the school’s juniors and seniors participate as it is already on a four-day week. The number of substitutes requested will decrease as teachers feel they can push personal and sick days, such as those used for personal and family medical appointments, to the three day weekend. In high school principal, Ted Telford’s opinion, having teachers in the classroom more would be the most positive benefit to the four day week.

Should the change happen the current school day would get out around 4 p.m. though the start and end dates of the current school year would stay the same. An optional Friday program would be available with transportation provided.

The current plan is for teachers to attend about every sixth Friday for professional development and other forms of assistance. Tutoring will be available for students who need help. On these days, the usual Friday program for students would not be available.

Barzee will continue investigating how other schools currently on a four-day week feel this has impacted their extracurricular activities, especially sports. The current plan is for both supervision and administration to be present at each of the buildings on the optional Fridays.