On Saturday July 23rd twenty-nine cowboys and cowgirls from every county in the state of Utah will take center stage at the Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo to be honored for their outstanding contribution to the preservation of Utah’s cowboy culture today and for future generations. The individual selected from Morgan County is Rodney Haslam.
“Rodeo is a support sport,” says Haslam. “Every cowboy that competes is there to win, but they are also there to help their buddy and do whatever they can do to help their buddy to win…Anything that your friend can do to help you, knowing that you are going to try to beat them...they will do.”
This statement seems like a metaphor for Haslam’s approach to life. He is committed to what he does. He wants to succeed. He will strongly advocate for the things in which he believes, but he will also go out of his way to help anyone around him, even when they have a different view or position.
He has a view of life in which service plays a central role. Talking with Haslam has the feeling of sitting down with an old friend. He is down to earth, he gives the feeling of one who is comfortable with who he is, and is comfortable to let others be who they are.
Anyone involved in rodeo at the fairgrounds or in the community knows Haslam. He was a livestock chairman in Morgan for over 12 years. This position has given him many opportunities to teach and lead the youth.
He is a great supporter of not only his own children but also a great supporter of all children in Morgan County. His passion for rodeo, along with his teaching and encouraging the youth in raising, grooming, and showing their livestock, helps to lay the groundwork for the next generation in the sport.
Haslam grew up on Stoddard Lane and graduated from Morgan High School. When he shares this bit of information, he adds that he is sure that his “graduation was to the relief of many high school teachers.” At eighteen Haslam worked in the oil fields.
He married in 1982 and has four children. He went to work at for Hill Field in 1985 as a boiler operator. He later became an HVAC mechanic at Hill and he continues to work in the position now.
He has loved rough stock rodeos, and all that surrounds these activities since he was young. He rode bulls as a young man, and as his children grew he became more involved in the rodeo and the 4-H organization. His two boys both participated in Rodeo and his oldest boy went on to win two high school rodeo championships and receive a rodeo scholarship from Montana State University.
He spent and is currently spending a great amount of time supporting his boys as they chase after their dreams in professional rodeo. With his children now grown, he has continued to volunteer every year in the sport that he loves. He speaks with pride of the Morgan community and especially of the youth of the community.
“I think we have outstanding youth in this community…we are pretty fortunate. People say that we are sheltered by the mountains, and I am not too sure that’s not a really good thing…I think we have good youth because we have a great community.”
He has volunteered for the 4-H for seven years, the livestock committee for eleven years and the high school rodeo for fifteen years. He continues to volunteer for the high school rodeo each year. He has enjoyed watching the youth with which he has worked as they have developed skills and character.
He expresses the joy of, “Watching a nine year old little girl that’s petrified on a horse, and a year later you don’t think it’s the same girl because by the time she’s out of the program she’s a Morgala Days queen…the small kids that start with a 1,200 pound steer or a nine year old girl with a hundred and thirty pound lamb and by the time they get through the program they are seasoned and very good at what they do…that’s what I enjoy the most.”
With his love of rodeo, Haslam became a rodeo judge for the RMPRA. It has helped him gain a better appreciation for the cowboy and cowgirl lifestyle. Haslam has spent countless hours helping the community make the Morgan County Fairgrounds a better facility. He assisted with redesigning the old arena and building a new one for the Morgan High School Rodeo Club.
Haslam served on the county council until health issues caused him to resign in October of 2010. In November of 2010, he received a heart transplant which saved his life. Now, 6 months later he is back to doing what he loves, running from bulls while judging rodeos.
Last year, when The Morgan County News profiled Haslam as a councilmember. The title of the article was “Big Hearted Haslam.” This title has stuck. Haslam’s selfless service to his family, his community, and his commitment to rodeo and the cowboy lifestyle make him a model recipient for this award.