Rodeo Rides Again

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Payson's hallmark event, which began on dusty Main Street in 1884 and has continued without fail for 116 years, opens at its new location this weekend.

The World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo the August Doin's to the locals begins Thursday night at the Payson Event Center in south Payson.

Today, the Payson rodeo is among the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association's top outdoor rodeos, and lures some of the biggest names in professional rodeo to the cool pines. Among them are Lan LaJeunesse, the 1999 World Champion bareback rider from Morgan, Utah; Cody Custer, the No. 7 bull rider last year; Cody Ohl, last year's No. 2 calf roper; and Sherry Cervi, one of the top barrel racers in the country.

Three locals are signed up for the Payson rodeo bull rider Jack Blaylock, and calf ropers Kyle Conway and Homer Sanders.

Fans familiar with the fabled fest know that four days of action-packed rodeo excitement await them. Arena action kicks off Thursday night with the Women's Professional Rodeo competitions. Admission to the WPRA event is a can of food, which will be donated to the Payson Food Bank.

Friday night, the men take to the arena, with professional rodeo action beginning at 7 p.m.

Rodeo fans can then round out the evening with a spin around the floor at the Mazatzal Casino. Friday and Saturday nights, Harry and the Gila Monsters will play at the casino's bingo room until 12:30 a.m.

When the sun comes up Saturday, folks will start lining up for the rodeo parade down the Beeline Highway. Lawn chairs and cool drinks are recommended for those who plan to jockey for position along the highway for the annual parade, which runs from Rancho Road to the Payson Village Shopping Center. Floats, bands and balloons begin rolling at 9 a.m. that's 9:15 or 9:20 Payson time.

Rodeo action continues at 1 p.m. and at 7 p.m. at the Payson Event Center.

The final day of August Doin's begins with a public worship service Sunday morning at the event center. PRCA performances begin again at 1 p.m. and end that afternoon

REACh (Rodeo Education and Children) programs will be held before each performance, to give children an insight into the lifestyles and philosophies of rodeo cowboys. The mutton bustin' competition, which challenges young cowpokes who weigh less than 50 pounds to ride sheep for eight seconds, also takes place during each performance.

Tickets for each performance of the World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo are $12 for adults, $7 for children 6-12 years old, and free for children 5 and under. Tickets can be purchased at the event center, the Mazatzal Casino, the Tonto Apache Market, or at any of the Rim country Circle K stores.

116th WORLD'S OLDEST CONTINUOUS RODEO SCHEDULE

Thursday, Aug. 17

7 p.m. Women's Professional Rodeo (no roughstock)

Thursday admission is a can of food for Payson Food Bank

Friday, Aug. 18

7 p.m. PRCA Rodeo Performance

Saturday, Aug. 19

9 a.m. parade on North Highway 87

1 p.m. PRCA Rodeo Performance

7 p.m. PRCA Rodeo Performance

Sunday, Aug. 20

9 a.m. Cowboy Church, Event Center. Open to the public.

1 p.m. PRCA Rodeo Performance

Gates open two hours before each performance

Specialty Act

Francisco Zamora and his high-steppin' horses

Events

Barrel racing, bareback riding, bull riding, saddle bronc riding, team roping, steer wrestling, calf roping

Additional Events

REACh program before every performance, Mutton Bustin' all performances.

Admission to Rodeo Performances

Adults: $12; Children: (6-12 years old) $7; Children 5 and under admitted free. Sunday tickets are 2-for-1, if purchased in advance.

Tickets are being sold at the gate, the Mazatzal Casino, the Tonto Apache Market and all Rim country Circle K stores.

Mastercard, Visa and Discover cards accepted for advance ticket sales at the Mazatzal Casino.

Parking

Parking is $2 per vehicle, and additional parking is free at the casino, with shuttle service to the rodeo grounds.

Teen Dance

A teen dance is scheduled from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 19 at the old Wal-Mart. No booze, just boogie to the music of Tulare Dust.

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