Lehi Historical Society
With the Lehi Round-Up Rodeo marking 86 years this year, one may wonder about the history of this longstanding Lehi event.
Fortunately, its history has been preserved in the Gary Lewis Lehi Round-Up Rodeo Collection at the Lehi Historical Society on Main Street. Free to the public, the collection can be viewed in person at the Archives or online.
To view the collection online:
• Go to lehihistory.com.
• Click Online Library.
• Choose the Gary Lewis Lehi Round-Up Rodeo Collection box to enter the collection.
• Run the cursor over the many titles to find quick links to more information.
“Although we are only in the beginning stages of digitizing the collection, there is still plenty to see online,” said Lara Bangerter, director of the Lehi Historical Society. “People are always welcome to come in to view the collection as well.”
The collection contains the earliest Lehi Round-Up Rodeo programs, committee ribbons, championship belt buckles, Round-Up baseball caps, press releases and radio ads, posters and scrapbooks.
Lehi native Gary Lewis, who donated the bulk of the collection,served many years as the publicity manager for the Civic Improvement Assoc. (CIA), which presents the rodeo. Later, he was the vice president. However, his interest in the rodeo began long before any of that.
“No one has spent more time with the CIA than I have,” said Lewis, “at least not officially.” He recalls helping at the rodeo grounds by doing things like pulling weeds when he was as young as nine years old.
Lewis’s grandfather, George, was a founding member of the CIA, and both George and Gary’s father, Lynn, served as CIA presidents. Gary loved to tag along with his dad and grandfather on their CIA duties. “I was always interested in the rodeo,” said Lewis, “so I started keeping a record.”
While publicity director in the 1970s, Lewis and his family traveled from Tooele to Spanish Fork to Heber to display rodeo posters to draw in people from all over the area. He also wrote newspaper articles and radio spots. “I just kept all of that stuff,” said Lewis. “I thought it was important to keep a record.” All ofthese items can be found in the collection.
Every year Lewis collected two programs and committee ribbons for history’s sake. Lewis said he was able to supplement his program collection many years ago when he found and was given a box of old rodeo programs at the Lehi Free Press, wheremany programs were printed over the years.
“Scans of almost every rodeo program can be viewed in our online library,” said Lara Bangerter, director of the Lehi Historical Society. To view the programs, go to lehihistory.com, click the Online Library button, select the Gary Lewis Lehi Round-Up Rodeo Collection box, scroll to the bottom andchoose “Lehi Round-Up Rodeo Programs.” Once here, open each program individually to view an image of the program cover.
The collection is available online due to the efforts of intern Molly Hartvigsen of American Fork. A Master of Library and Information Science major from Simmons University in Boston, Hartvigsen interned at the historical society in 2022. She organized, properly stored and recorded the collection in the society’s online library.
“I remember being impressed by the enthusiasm for the rodeo by the organizers and community as well as by the larger rodeo community,” said Hartvigsen.
The project made her so curious about the rodeo that she attended last year. “I got to experience history firsthand,” she said, “and see the collection through a new light.”
For more information on the collection, contact the Lehi Historical Society at firstname.lastname@example.org, 801-768-1570 or lehihistory.com. The organization is open Tuesday through Thursday from noon-5 p.m. at 99 W. Main STE 100.