Celebrate real and ‘reel’ cowboys of western heritage
Eighteen years ago, a small group of hard-core southern Utah gentlemen from Kanab were together and — not for the first time — began recollecting the history of their families and the surrounding families that moved this hard-scrabble country into something from sagebrush to a place to be proud of. Joking and recollecting stories from both their pioneer heritage and the later “Little Hollywood of the West” mania that seized the town during the filming of hundreds of classic Western movies here, they concocted an idea. It began as a dirt-scratch notion about how to celebrate mountain men, moving the herds, working as extras during the filming of classics like Bonanza and The Outlaw Josie Wells and other significant events. Like enjoying music and pretty girls dancing in long dresses. That conversation was the beginning of the Western Legends Roundup, now an exceptionally unique annual Western-style event taking place here in Kanab.
This year, Kanab invites you to join us for three lively days, August 25-27. Western Legends promotes the best of our western heritage with a full agenda of special events, country western music concerts and classic western films as well as daring contests and a great vendor (and food) venues.
More classic Western movies were filmed around Kanab than anywhere else outside Hollywood. Southern Utah’s dramatic landscape and long-standing cowboy culture won the admiration of film producers, giving Kanab its special title as “Little Hollywood.” During Western Legends Roundup, fans can meet original movie stars and even visit original sets. “Dinner with the Stars,” in Jacob Hamblin Park, is a star-studded special occasion where you may meet many of your favorite Western Legend movie cowboys.
You can also get a taste of what
it was like here during the days when “vaquero-cowboys,” mountain men and the original pioneers first arrived. At each end of Main Street, stages host non-stop country western music with Willie Nelson performing at night — well, at least a “True Willie” will be performing. Live demonstrations of Dutch oven cooking take place alongside a “Shoot-Out” Contest attracting gun sharps of all ages. Mule wagons trot through town offering a seat on a wooden plank so you can take in the view of this historic town and rest. Enjoy cowboy poetry in the historic old barn, go to a tractor pull, quilt contest, visit tents pitched by genuine mountain men and have fun with a street full of vendors selling everything from saddles and hats to purses with pistol pockets and everything in-between. Special bus tours take you to classic movie sites, or to see rare petroglyphs on a private property open only for the event.
One of Kanab’s signature talents is its ability to pull off a remarkable parade and the High Noon Parade during Western Legends is a stand-up, unforgettable event. Hold your breath when the noon whistle blows and the snorting and stamping begins as wranglers move a herd of clattering long-horn steer down Main Street followed by cowboys (and cowgirls) on horseback, wagons and costumed “pioneers.”
Most events at Western Legends Roundup are free, and family friendly with special kid activities. For information on the many events and special performances visit www.westernlegendsroundup.com. For information on lodging, go to www.visitsouthernutah.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.