(Over the next four issues, the Lehi Free Press will highlight the history of the Civic Improvement Association (Lehi Roundup Rodeo Committee) and the leaders of this community organization.)
The year was 1941, and the United States had just entered World War II. The entire country was united in a sense of patriotism. Lehi’s mayor at the time, Dean Prior, and the city council, created a volunteer organization to “foster, promote and sponsor worthwhile activities that would be a community benefit.” This group, which was named the Lehi Civic Improvement Association, was concerned with creating a major community celebration in Lehi every year, and despite the threat of war, the group began with enthusiasm.
The following were the group’s first leaders and their areas of responsibility:
- S.I. Goodwin: Rodeo
- Dr. J.G. Jones: Parade
- Dean Prior: Advertising and publicity
- Clell Jackson: Dances
- Stanley M. Taylor: Concessions
- Daryl Fowler: Finance
- A.C. Schow: Program
The group held a “name the celebration” contest, which was won by Ethel Hunger for her moniker “The Lehi Roundup.” The inaugural Lehi Roundup Rodeo, held July 3-5 was a great success and the “CIA” repaid the city the $500 it had borrowed to stage the event. Since that time, the Lehi Roundup Rodeo committee has provided funds to dozens of local organizations benefiting Lehi educational groups and causes. The Lehi Roundup Rodeo has united the community for 80 years, but the vision and foresight of the early leaders cannot be underestimated.
The first director of the newly created CIA was Alva H. Wing who served from 1941-1947. The second leader was Daryl Fowler (1947-1948.) The third leader was George Lewis (1948-1965) and the fourth was Dean Prior (1965-1971.) All four of these men served as Mayor of Lehi.
Alva H. Wing
Wing was a tireless public servant and leader. In addition to being the first president of the Lehi Roundup Rodeo Committee, he served Lehi as Mayor from 1940-1943, and then again 1946-1947. Wing was a mortician, operating Wing Mortuary, which still exists today and is operated by his great grandson Quin Wing.
Fowler was the second president of the group. He served for one year, then was elected mayor of Lehi in 1948. Fowler was an accountant by trade and a farmer. He died unexpectedly of a heart attack in 1948, after serving only about three months of his term. Fowler left behind a widow with several children at home.
Lewis, a farmer, was active in civic affairs throughout his life. Lewis, along with several other Lehi men, started a poultry operation in the 1940s. In addition to being a successful farmer, he was also a meat cutter, a great lover of livestock and worked at the Utah County Recorder’s office.
Prior served as the President of the Roundup Rodeo Committee for six years. He also served as Lehi’s mayor during the difficult World War II years. He was instrumental in creating much of Lehi’s power and sewer infrastructure during his years as mayor. Prior, along with Dean Welch, was one of the first two history teachers in 1959 at the newly constructed Lehi High School.