Once again, the friendly little city of Kanab will slip back in time to celebrate the “real” and the “reel” cowboys of southern Utah. For three days, Aug. 27-29, 2015, the Western Legends Roundup will celebrate the lively music, quintessential cowboy poetry, classic films and historic activities of its Western Heritage. Western Legends is one of the most unique events in the west, and wearing cowboy boots and hats is de rigeur, in case you wondered.
Few realize that more classic Western movies, more than 300, were filmed in southern Utah than anywhere else outside Hollywood. Kanab earned its title as the “Little Hollywood of the West.” The stunning red rocks, sweeping sand dunes, dramatic cliffs and endless canyons made it a natural setting for westerns featuring the escapades of early cowboy wranglers and hardy pioneer settlers. During Western Legends, fans will get to sample that early western lifestyle the “way it was,” meet some of the original movie stars and visit original sets from shows as well-known as “Bonanza” and “The Outlaw Josie Wells.”
This year the ever popular movie, “How the West Was Won,” will be honored with star Bruce Boxleitner in town. Other well-known icons from Hollywood’s Golden Age will also be attending, including: Clint Walker, Dan Haggerty, Roberta Shore and even Barry Corbin. Every day a western-style street fair entertains with vendors selling everything from saddles and hats to purses with pistol pockets, and everything in-between.
Plenty of demonstrations and activities for attendees of all ages will line the streets. The now famous “Shoot-Out” demonstration and contest attracts gun sharps of all ages, as does the even more famous Cowboy Poetry Contest. A quilt contest, with raffles, enticing smells coming off samples of Dutch Oven cooking, tents pitched by genuine mountain men and the two stages at each end of town offering non-stop country-western music, all add to the hum of activity.
For these three days local townsmen are allowed to ride their horses into town, and mule-wagons clip by giving free rides to anyone wanting to set down on the plank seats. At night, more music by well-known performers, food, and barn dancing keep everyone hopping.
On Saturday, Kanab clears the highway for a full-blown stampede. The High-Noon Parade begins with a clatter of hooves as wranglers guide their feisty long-horn steer down Main Street followed
Few realize that more classic Western movies, more than 300, were filmed in southern Utah than anywhere else outside Hollywood.
by horses, wagons, the mountain men, more cowboys and all kinds of Western fun. Western Legends Roundup is definitely a great family event; most activities are free to attend.
Due to its great success last year, Western Legends is once again including a horse-drawn wagon train beginning Monday night before the big event. For three-days and two-nights the wagon train will travel across the glorious Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument, past sites where “Daniel Boone” and other great movies were filmed, finally pulling into town in time for attendees to take part in a Dutch Oven Dinner with the Stars.
The Western Legends Roundup began 17 years ago now, when a small group of men, including the current Mayor of Kanab, sat down together to joke and recollect stories from their colorful pasts; the ancestors that still inspire them, the land that has inspired and challenged them, and even their personal pasts during the time when most of the folk in Kanab were being hired as movie extras. The recollecting became more meaningful as they began to imagine what it would be like to bring something important from that past back into the present to honor it. More joking about mountain men, and moving herds, and pretty girls dancing in long dresses began to take on the vague shape of a concrete plan, and what we now know - and enjoy - as the Western Legends Roundup became a reality.
Looking ahead at this upcoming 17th annual event, the founders still like to say that they are honoring the men and women who came before them to settle this rugged land, and the cowboy stars that depicted them. In their own words, “Without these hard-working men and women our eyes never would have been opened to both the rugged and dramatic side of the Wild West. The landscape of the west speaks to us, but these actors gave it a voice.”
For more information on the many events and special performances, visit us at www.westernlegendsroundup.com, like us on Facebook, check out our YouTube videos and find our photos on Pinterest.
For information on overnight lodging, visit www.southernutah.com. More information before and during the event can be found at the Kane County Office of Tourism, 78 South 100 East – just look for the statue of the painted buffalo.