NEPHI, Utah (ABC4 News) – While the Ute Stampede has been going on for 80 years, one of its most popular traditions started about 25 years ago.
The flag drop into the arena is an amazing and emotional sight that the crowd just loves.
It’s a huge part of our show.
Ute Stampede Director Chris
Memmott says the flag fly happens before every rodeo.
“I take a lot of phone calls we get asked about the flag more than anything. Are you still having the flag come in? Our show is dedicated largely to patriotism, the military and we dedicate a huge part of our show to that,” said Memmott.
The flag fly-in started back in the 90s. For the past 20 years or so, Kent Lane – a parachute expert – has handled the duties.
Our flag is very important to us.
“By the time you see it to the drop – how much time? 2 minutes and 45 seconds.”
Memmott said the announcer needs to know that.
He starts counting down his script building up to that – kind of giving away behind the scenes secrets – but that’s part of the game.
But that helps get everyone ready for the flag to fly in.
“People at our show know it’s coming – they’re here for a reason. You can feel it. The excitement builds and when the flag hits the floor, they’re excited,” said Chris Memmott.
When you hear the song and see the flag you know it’s time to rodeo – part of our makeup.
And Chris says it still affects him every time it happens.
“Still gives you chills no matter how many times you’ve seen it.”
The National Guard jumps in as much as they can keep it off the ground.