Pioneer Day is a State Holiday in Utah. It commemorates the entry of the Mormon Pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley on July 24th, 1847. The communities in Utah hold many festivities including parades, festivals, reenactments, fireworks, rodeos and more...and you're invited!
How did the Mormon Pioneers save the NHPA?
In preparation for the centennial celebration of Utah's "Pioneer Day" in 1947, Centennial Committees were charged with putting on a show/party like had never been seen during earlier Pioneer Days. As a member of Horseshoe Centennial Committee, and president of the Utah State Horseshoe Pitchers Association, Arch Stokes (pictured) set out to bring the World Horseshoe Tournament to Utah. Due to the Great Depression and WWII, the World Tournament had been held only twice from 1935 until 1946. In 1946, Stokes headed to Des Moines Iowa and with a $2,000 bid brought the Tournament to Utah for the 1947 Centennial. Not only was Stokes successful, but the NHPA elected him as a Vice-President. New lighted clay horseshoe courts were constructed in Murray Utah, which became known as the best courts in the World at that time. The Tournament was a great success both on and off the courts as Fernando Isais regained the crown from Ted Allen and also rode on a Horseshoe Float in the "Day's of '47" Parade down State Street in Salt Lake City. Utah had put on the best World Tournament yet.
Building on the tournament's immense success, it was brought back to Utah for 12 more years starting in 1949. During these years in Utah, the NHPA was able to reestablish itself, not only in building up the Legendary competition on the courts, but in its form and function as a national sporting association, even headed by Stokes himself as NHPA president for a time (Stokes later became a charter member of the NHPA Hall of Fame). By 1959 Utah's leadership (who were also many of the NHPA's leadership) determined it was time to send the World Tournament on its way, having been thoroughly reestablished as a top-tier competition for not only the best 40 foot men, but for all attendees with multiple classes and divisions for women and youth, much like it is today.
Pioneer Day Activities
- Days of '47 Parade (with World Tournament float)
- Start Time and Location TBA
- Fireworks, Dances, Shows, and other Festivities
- The Days of 47 Dixie Activities calendar
- Meet the Mormons Movie
- LDS Temple Visitor Center Theater (Trailer) - Time: TBA
- Historic sites
- Family History Center