Small Utah town celebrates holiday weekend in a unique way

DAGGETT COUNTY, Utah — A small town in northeastern Utah celebrated the symbolic end of summer in a special way.

While many head to the lake or pool for the holiday weekend, the town of Manila swells in size over Labor Day as they celebrate their own rodeo.

Daggett County has a population of around 980, but on Labor Day weekend, visitors from all over the world come to visit the Daggett County PRCA Centennial Rodeo.

“Over 30,000 people will be in our county,” said Jack Lytle, co-director of the rodeo committee.

Christoph Morath and his family — who are from Germany — took a detour from their Salt Lake City vacation to see the rodeo.

“We wanted to see some original style of rodeo, and my daughter, she’s very interested in horse riding,” Morath said.

These are a few of many visitors who flock to the area.

“We’re right between Yellowstone and the Mighty 5. Flaming Gorge is a national recreation area,” said Mark Wilson, president of the Flaming Gorge Chamber.

The rodeo honors the history of ranching in Manila.

“We’ve put a new color on the county really with all the visitors from the rodeo as well,” Lytle said.

Between the performances, the community honored local military heroes.

“Any time anybody is able to talk about our son, keep saying their names,” said Darin Hoover, deputy sheriff in Daggett County and father of fallen Utah Marine Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover.

Hoover died in Afghanistan.

“If he saw anybody getting bullied or being picked on or whatever, he would put an end to it,” Darin said of his son.

The show stopped to pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

“It’s what we can do to support those people,” Lytle said.

Between the wooden grandstands and inside the ring, a small town’s traditions were celebrated as a farewell to summer and the visitors it brings.

If you missed the rodeo, Daggett County will host it again next year over Labor day weekend.

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