A cowboy goes through the swinging batwing doors of a saloon, starts drinking and playing cards, and before you know it, he's itchin' for a fight.
Some folks just can't handle their root beer.
This year's Western Festival has a new cowboy-style saloon, serving locally brewed root beer. The festival, an annual kick-off event for Ogden Pioneer Days, starts at 8 a.m. Saturday, July 14, and continues until 1 p.m. at the Municipal Gardens, 343 25th St.
In addition to the saloon, there will be stagecoach rides, shootouts and an antique tractor show.
Other early Ogden Pioneer Days events happening during the upcoming week include a children's parade, devotional, concerts, fireworks, the Horse & Hitch Parade, a street party and rodeos.
The cowboys who might get a sugar high from root beer are members of the Weber County Sheriff's Mounted Posse. They dress in Western costume for the festival each year, to put on shootouts and stagecoach rides in downtown Ogden. This year, they decided to add something new.
"We'll have a saloon backdrop for the shootout," said Jim Armstrong, a member of the group, noting that the backdrop was designed by members of the posse and made by theater students at Rocky Mountain Junior High.
"On one end we'll have swinging saloon doors," he said. "With the backdrop there will be a bar, and tables where guys will be playing cards or whatever."
The saloon backdrop will be set up in front of the entry to the Ogden Amphitheater, in the Municipal Gardens.
Everyone is invited to belly up to the bar and order a drink. The root beer, coming in kegs from Roosters Brewing Company, will be served in commemorative mugs featuring the posse logo. A filled mug costs $5; refills are $1. For those who can't handle their root beer, there will be bottled water for $1.
"We're planning on having a good time, and giving the crowd a taste of maybe the Old West," said Armstrong.
And that means there will be shooting.
"A couple of guys will be playing cards in the saloon and one will cheat, of course," he said. "It's just kind of impromptu, as we decide what we want to do, to create a situation."
There will also be shooting in the street in front of the saloon.
"Stagecoach rides start at 9 a.m., and there are stagecoach holdups every hour on the hour," said Armstrong. "For the high noon one, we usually have the good guys come in and arrest the bad guys."
Rides, offered until noon, cost $1 and, like the root beer sales, help cover costs of the day's events and go to charities the posse helps support.
The Western Festival also includes the Great Basin Antique Tractor Show. The exhibit of old-time machinery includes antique tractors, engines and farm equipment for threshing, binding, chopping and more.
The Historic 25th Street Farmers & Art Market opens for the season during the festival, with farmers lining Municipal Gardens, and artists and other vendors along the street.
EARLY PIONEER DAYS EVENTS
Ogden’s celebration of pioneer heritage is too big for just one day — the fun has already started, and continues through July 24. These earliest Pioneer Days events include two parades, concerts, queen competitions and fireworks. Many events are free.
The annual rodeo series jumps out of the chute on Wednesday, July 18, and continues through July 24.
Saturday, July 14
• 8 a.m.-1 p.m., Farmers Market opening day, Ogden Municipal Gardens at 2525 Grant Ave., and Historic 25th Street. Free admission. Stampede plays at 10:30 a.m.
• 8 a.m.-1 p.m., Western Festival, with Wild West shootout, Great Basin Antique Tractor Show, stagecoach rides and more, Ogden Municipal Gardens and Historic 25th Street. Free admission.
• 8 a.m.-1 p.m., Western Wishes Barrel Race and Auction at Ogden Pioneer Stadium, 668 17th St. Admission to this fundraiser for Western Wishes, an organization that grants Western-style wishes for children facing adversity, is free.
• 9 a.m., Children’s Parade, on Washington Boulevard from 18th to 28th streets. Free.
• 5 p.m., Junior Posse Jamboree at Ogden Pioneer Stadium; $2.
Sunday, July 15
• 6 p.m., devotional with speaker M. Russell Ballard, in the Dee Events Center at 4600 S. Harrison Blvd. Free.
• Dusk, Lindquist Family Pops Concert and Fireworks around the pond at Weber State University, 3848 Harrison Blvd. Free. Story/4.
Monday, July 16
• 7 p.m., Horse & Hitch Parade, Washington Boulevard from 18th to 25th streets. Free.
• 8 p.m., Family Night To Remember, concert by Cherie Call, at the Ogden Amphitheater, 343 Historic 25th St. Free. Story/20.
Tuesday, July 17
• 5 p.m., Special Kids Rodeo, for age 18 and younger with special needs, at Lorin Farr Park Pavilion, 769 Canyon Road. Free; registration required, call 801-645-8057.
Wednesday, July 18
• 9 a.m., slack (preliminary timed rodeo events), Ogden Pioneer Stadium; free.
• 6:30 p.m., Downtown Hoedown, rodeo kick-off party with music by country band Mile Marker 6, motorcycle jumping and more, at Ogden Municipal Gardens and Historic 25th Street. Free.
• 8 p.m., Billy Dean concert at the Ogden Amphitheater; $10, available at Smith’s Tix (800-888-TIXX) and Burger King. Story/3.
Thursday, July 19
• All day, pickleball tournament at Mount Ogden Park, 3144 Taylor Ave.; watching is free. Story/3.
• 2 p.m., Miss Rodeo Utah horsemanship competition at the Golden Spike Arena, 1000 N. 1200 West. Free.
• 7:30 p.m., rodeo, Standard Examiner Family Night, at Ogden Pioneer Stadium; $5-30. Pre-rodeo entertainment at 6:30 p.m. includes mutton bustin’ and wild cow milking.
Friday, July 20
• All day, pickleball tournament at Mount Ogden Park; free for observers.
• 1 p.m., Miss Rodeo Utah Luncheon at Ogden Marriott Hotel, 247 24th St.; $30, call 801-668-2555 for tickets.
• 7:30 p.m., rodeo, “Wrangler Patriot/Military Appreciation Night, at Ogden Pioneer Stadium; $6-$30. Pre-rodeo entertainment at 6:30 p.m. includes mutton bustin’ and musical chairs by horseback.
Rodeo tickets are sold at the Pioneer Days office, 1810 Washington Blvd., from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, and at the Ogden Pioneer Stadium box office at 5:30 p.m. July 19-23. Smith’s Tix, Smith & Edwards, Reams and Hill Air Force Base Tickets & Travel also sells tickets. New this year, seats in the North Grandstand are reserved.