The Contractor

Honeycutts make providing rodeo stock a family affair

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Raised with rodeo in his blood, Jerry Honeycutt and his family have made presenting the World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo a time-honored event for themselves and for the town of Payson.

The Honeycutt and Sons Rodeo Company has been the stock contractor for Payson for as long as anyone can remember.

"Oh boy," Honeycutt, now 35, said, "I can remember doing this ever since I was about five years old."

And this is not unusual in his family. The Honeycutt and Sons Rodeo Company is a family-run business, with family "employees" starting young.

"My nephews carry the flag at the opening ceremony and help out with various duties," Honeycutt said, "and then as they get older, they will graduate up the ranks just like my brother, sister and I did."

A stock contractor furnishes all of the bulls and livestock for the competitions.

"From the end of the national anthem to the last bull-riding competition, it's all us," Honeycutt said.

There are 60 and 70 active stock contractors spread throughout the country, but only the best of the best make it.

"In the rodeo business, if you don't do well, there are 15 or 20 other contractors waiting in line behind you, so you have to put on the best show (to continue in the business)," Honeycutt said.

Based in Alamosa, Colo., the Honeycutt Co. travels wherever and whenever a rodeo awaits, sometimes doing two shows in one weekend.

"We just have to split our crew," he said.

This hustle-and-bustle lifestyle is nothing new for the family and crew. Roy Honeycutt, Jerry's father, was a bull rider sent to Japan to help coordinate a Wild West Show.

Upon returning, he met, fell in love with and married Virginia Alsbaugh, a Colorado rodeo queen, raised in the rodeo lifestyle from the time she could walk. With rodeo in her blood and Roy's new-found love of producing show, the Honeycutt Rodeo Co. was established.

It flourished over the years, corralling close to 250 bucking horses and bulls at the present time, 80 that have never bucked a day in their life. The Honeycutt and Sons Rodeo Company prides itself on raising its own bucking broncs and then adding them to the heard when they're stronger and more agile.

"Right now, we take special pride in our exceptional bull quality," Honeycutt said.

But this has not always been the case. Ten years ago, the Honeycutts bought two bulls that had never had human contact.

Presenting a rodeo in Rawhide, Honeycutt wanted to familiarize one of the new bulls on where to exit the arena. The bucking bull made his way around the arena and out.

Jerry mounted his horse and chased the raging beast 15 miles into the desert. After a long battle and many flashes with death, Jerry was successful in roping and tying the bull. Needless to say, the bull went back to the sale barn the next day.

Times like these don't make Honeycutt or his family flee from the business; it's times like these that reaffirm their love for rodeo.

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