Hampton-Pennock Park provided the setting this past Wednesday night for a Pioneer Day celebration by members, and friends, of a local church.
Pioneer Day commemorates the day, July 24, 1847, when Brigham Young and a group of Mormon pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley after a difficult, sometimes treacherous, trek to establish a home away from the persecution that had troubled the church throughout its history. It is a state holiday in Utah.
The Pratt Pioneer Day celebration featured poignant stories shared by several persons, whose pioneer ancestors had sought to establish new homes in the American West. The stories showed a faithful people, who often suffered from exposure to the elements and also lost family members along the trail.
The evening included a children’s bicycle parade around the park’s sidewalk loop, with young Cade Hopkins riding his horse-cycle. After a meal, everyone enjoyed and participated in some Western entertainment, led by Brian Heggie, who is in town from Nevada for a few months while working at the ethanol plan for Scoular Grain. Brian wrestles steer in rodeos on occasion. He demonstrated how to twirl and throw a rope and how to crack a bullwhip. The latter he did very skillfully, creating multiple cracks that sounded like loud firecrackers or perhaps pistols shooting off. Several tried their hand at roping and bullwhip cracking and, fortunately, no one injured themselves.
With the roping underway, a separate area featured games that pioneers played back in the day. Some of the games organized by Tamara Gordon included stick pull, hoop roll, and hoops and graces. This European converts to the church brought this latter game with them from Europe, and it required four sticks and a hoop, which two participants tossed back and forth like a Frisbee.
All in all, the Pioneer Day celebration in Pratt showed that the pioneer spirit runs deeper than its Utah roots, and, in fact, encompasses the entire world.