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OPINION: Round-Up week shows volunteerism is alive and well in Lehi

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We drove past the rodeo grounds on Sunday and sadly saw the last of the trailers moving out. Round-Up Days has always been a special time for our family. We all love the rodeo, the rodeo hamburgers, the events, and excitement in our community during the last week in June. The work and planning are undoubtedly extensive and time consuming to pull off an event of this magnitude. Knowing it is all done by volunteers is an amazing accomplishment every year.

Lehi has a long and storied history of events and services carried out by volunteers. Mike Southwick, President of the Lehi Civic Improvement Association (CIA) said, “There are thousands of hours spent to produce the Round-Up. I have a team that devotes all of June and many hours before then in producing the rodeo. My directors, Stan Lewis, John Lewis, Lec Holmes, Jared Peterson, Brad Erickson, Mark Coddington, Shane Southwick, Drew Wilson, Cal Jacklin, Roberts Allred (Secretary) and all their wives spend countless hours making sure the event runs smoothly and all the details are taken care of.”

The rodeo was expanded to four nights this year because, as Mike said, “We don’t want the event to be too expensive for families to attend and the idea of scalping tickets was not what we wanted.” He added, “Rodeo hamburgers have become an important part of the rodeo, and we have a committee to help coordinate the food concessions, Dave and Rhonda Nerdin, Josh and Whitney Pulham, and Lon and Carolyn Hutchison. Wards in the 20 LDS stakes now in Lehi, do all the work in the concessions stands. The money from the burgers goes back to the wards to help defray expense of the floats the wards build. There are those who have not had the experience of working in the concession stands are exhausted by their efforts, but are excited to do it again. We need over 100 volunteers each night,” said Southwick.

The Booster Club, another legendary service organization raisesfunds for Lehi High School. They also find satisfaction and joy in volunteering to help in the concession stands at the high school. KJ and Todd Smith have helped the Booster Club for over 15 years. KJ said, “On the days of games we start at about 2 p.m. and finish around midnight. We have a loyal and committed staff of volunteers. Lane Zimmerman is the hamburger griller supreme. He, along with his wife, Lisa, Joni and Kevin Shaeffer, Doreen Rhodes, Norma Branson and family, Brook and Ephraim Robby, Amy McBride, Paul Spencer, Lori Woffinden, Debbie Bullock, make and serve about 600 hamburgers each game. The proceeds from their efforts have provided necessary equipment and other items needed for the sports teams and other organizations in the high school.”

Proposals for needed supplies or equipment are written and submitted to the Booster Club and Administration for approval. According to Smith, “flags, dirt for the softball field, spiking machines, benches for the hallways at school, etc. have been purchased with money from the Booster concession stand.” 

The Booster Club also prepares and serves an average of 600 Lehi citizens a delicious breakfast during the celebration. All the work is done by volunteers who love to see the fruits of their labor go to the kids at the high school. “Each year we need more and more people. We had the distinction of being the only concession stand open during the pandemic. We love to see a combination of adults and kids participate in fund-raising efforts. Soccer Coach Bergholm made his team members come and serve and it made such an impact on those students,” said Smith. When asked if there is any compensation, Smith said, “Maybe a Coke or nachos.”

“Once people come and help, they are committed. They have such a good time they want to do it again. Serving the youth and families of this community is a wonderful thing,” added Smith.

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Volunteerism is one of the bedrock values of Lehi. As Mike Southwick said, “All of you volunteers, we couldn’t do it without you!”

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