Approximately 1,000 head of sheep will be herded from Cedar Mountain pastures down Cedar City’s Main Street, providing an exciting glimpse of the Old West and its livestock heritage to spectators along the route.
Horses, wagons, antique tractors, bag pipe bands, youth groups, stock dogs, and historic and modern sheep camps also will take part in the procession.
The parade committee also encourages entries in memory of members of the livestock industry who have past. For everyone’s safety, please leave your dogs at home and keep to the edge of the street as the sheep pass by. Do not get in front of the sheep. After the parade the tractors and sheep camps
For a Full Schedule of Events Click Here will also be on display the remainder of the day at the Cross Hollows Events Center.
Time: 10 a.m.
Location: Cedar City Main Street, from 200 South to 400 North (past Bradshaw Chevy)
Sheep Camp Display: Immediately following the parade at the Cross Hollows EntCenter.
History of the Cedar City Livestock and Heritage Festival
The first agriculture activity was dairying. Women and children moved to the mountains for the summer and set up dairies while the men and older boys remained in the valley and farmed. Thus, dairy cows were the first livestock to utilize these mountain ranges. Milk was used mainly for making butter and cheese which was taken to town each week or two and sold or traded for needed items.
The McConnell family was one of the first to have a mountain dairy in 1869 and a granddaughter described the “top of the mountain as a sylvan paradise and everywhere grass and wild barley, waist high, browse and vivid wild flowers carpeted the meadows and hillsides. Compared to the arid valley below, such untouched beauty and bounteous feed were overwhelming.”
In approximately 1890, some prominent Cedar City cattlemen went into the sheep business by purchasing a herd of sheep from Colorado.
These early sheep men built up their herds by keeping as many ewe lambs as they could and selling only the 2- or 3-year-old weathers that were driven on foot or horseback to market in Chicago or Kansas City.
Livestock men soon realized that sheep were ideally suited to southern Utah ranges, especially the mountain summer ranges where Larkspur (Delphiniumbarbeyi) was common. This plant is highly toxic to cattle but is well tolerated by sheep and is considered valuable forage for them.
Even today despite the declining numbers of sheep in the West, sheep are still the dominant livestock species on Cedar Mountain.
In the first decade of the 21st century, Iron County has some 160 farms involved with cattle and sheep. In 2002, the number of cattle and calves was 25,683, with sales of cattle in the year of 14,467.
The number of sheep was 34,908. Neither the acreage devoted to livestock, nor the number of animals tells as much about the county’s dedication to its livestock industry as does the seasonal movement of cattle and sheep to and from the summer ranges on the mountains and the winter ranges in the valleys.
The pattern of livestock and ranching continues, with families relishing the traditions being passed on to the fifth and sometimes sixth generation. This makes the celebration of our livestock heritage a natural festival for the community!
To learn more about Iron County’s Livestock Industry you can purchase “Selected Stories of the Livestock Industry in Iron County”, at the USU Extension Office, 585 N. Main, Cedar City, for $10. Each year, additional stories will be added to the book.