Swanny Kerby was born in Moab in 1917 and graduated from Grand County High School in 1935. Kerby married Verda Mae Burdick, whom he met while working for her father’s cattle company in the remote desert rangelands near Moab. These early ranching experiences inspired Kerby’s dream: to have a Western rodeo show, a plan that came to fruition when Kerby first built a rodeo arena on his Moab property in 1945.
Kerby grew a large rodeo business over his career, raising livestock for use in rodeos and producing rodeo events across the Rocky Mountain and the Pacific Northwest regions. Ultimately, he settled on a small ranch in north of the state, and Swanny Kerby’s Bar T Rodeo Inc. has remained a family operation.
Today, Moab’s seven-acre Swanny City Park honors Kerby’s accomplished career. The park sits on part of Kerby’s original ranch, where the prized bulls and horses grazed.
The Moab Museum is dedicated to sharing stories of the natural and human history of the Moab area. To explore more of Moab’s stories and artifacts, find out about upcoming programs, and become a Member, visit www.moabmuseum.org.