“Morgan was leading by seven with only a minute and a half to go, but they nearly let the game slip away. The Trojans had only a one-point lead during the final seconds until Gary Peterson flipped one in at the buzzer,” stated in the Deseret News.
Gary Peterson, a Morgan County native, was the ultimate package, from an All State basketball player during the week to an all-around rodeo cowboy on the weekends; he filled every open second with something. He could sing, act and even play the trombone. He also dabbled in golf, football and opera singing. This was all for his high school, Morgan High. From the time he was born in 1953 to present day, he strives to be the best at everything he participates in and teaches his family to do the same.
When he was young, his favorite thing to do was go haul hay in the rolling fields with his brothers, Mitch and Stan, and his grandpa, Dick. After, they would ride their horses to Como Springs and swim. He loves where he lives. He said, “I would never live anywhere else. I think living in Morgan was the best thing for me. It was a good life.”
His first big baseball game was in 1965 when he and his little league team, “Little League All Stars,” represented Morgan County in a tournament in California. They didn’t end up winning, but Gary said, “That little league game gave me more drive to be better, to be a winner.”
After his California vacation, he stayed home to help carry his baseball and basketball teams all around Utah, not to mention he also rolled in the dirt during rodeo season. His team was his best friends. They played pranks on each other all the time. When the Vietnam War started, they had the draft, which Gary wasn’t the most excited about. His friends decided to call saying sorry about Vietnam and said their goodbyes. It wasn’t until the day after that he realized it was a trick.
His sophomore year in high school, basketball won the class B region tournament but lost during the state playoffs, but they won the first cage victory with Gary leading with 16 points. Gary also starred in the high school band for Morgan; the trombone player was in various newspaper articles. Additionally, in his 10th grade year, he won a golf meet with his dad at Round Valley golf course here in Morgan. They won many tournaments, with both baseball and basketball. He then got into football, too.
In his junior year, the basketball team won region and a rivalry game between Morgan and North Summit to be in the state playoffs. The baseball team won the region title, but lost to Emery in the state game. Gary did these all while staying in the band which went to Salt Lake City to play a concert. In addition, he got into the opra, which he occasionally floats into now.
Although his junior and sophomore year was hard to beat, he did it. His senior year, 1971, was one for the books. His baseball team won state playoffs and Gary got many articles on his sports accomplishments, “So much potential in the fact that Gary has been the object of envy from some of the state colleges coaches that have been prowling around the high school gyms.” He got the honor of being named on the all-state basketball team for Utah and the best all-around athlete for Utah. He got a letter from the Utah congressmen saying congratulations for his spotlight. He got four full-ride scholarships from Utah State, Miles Community College, Utah University and Ricks College. Gary got prep of the week and got an athletic watch from the capitol building in Salt Lake City. He also acted in “My Fair Lady” and was a trombone prospect.
After high school he won the RMRA, Rocky Mountain Rodeo Association, all-around cowboy title. Also, he won the steer wrestling champion of the year. Although he may have had a great career, he remained humble. He always says, “Be a leader, not a follower, but stay humble.” He definitely showed this throughout his life.
Gary, now age 64, now resides in the Morgan home where he grew up. He has two children, Chad and Matthew Peterson, with his wife, Judy. Together they have four grandchildren: Shambrae, Brooklyn, Kash and Kendall Peterson. He lives within a mile of his brothers, Mitch and Stan, and a sister, Marci Jones. Gary is very close to his parents, Marlene and Larry Peterson.
He still keeps up with his rodeo career with $25,000 in team roping winnings the past few years. He says, “The hardest thing about growing up is supporting a family, but the most rewarding is seeing that family grow up and having their own.” Gary has showed his family the real meaning of hard work and continues the lesson to today.