Floyds Grand Marshals Of Rodeo Parade

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The 2002 Gary Hardt Memorial PRCA Spring Rodeo Parade is a tribute to a woman who gave years of service to the community.

The memory of Vertielee Floyd is being honored with the selection of her family to serve as Grand Marshals of the parade Saturday.

Her son, Jerry, his wife, Chris, and their children, Matthew, 17, and Kayla, 14, are carrying the banner of Grand Marshal.

Vertielee Floyd and her family moved to Payson in 1966 and 10 years later, in 1976, she helped start the annual Payson Old Time Fiddlers' Contest. Floyd died in March.

The contest, which is now known as the Arizona Championship for fiddlers due to Floyd's efforts, had humble beginnings. It started as just a group of enterprising musicians gathering on the back of a flatbed truck as part of the town's bicentennial celebration.

Through years of work by Floyd, and her loyal volunteers, the fiddlers' contest helped Payson earn the reputation as the festival capital of Arizona. She devoted her whole life, almost year-round, to putting the contest together.

The Floyd family was approached by rodeo officials just this month and asked to serve as the parade grand marshals, Chris Floyd said.

"We were surprised and also honored. I'm glad my husband agreed to do it. I was not sure he would. Grandma did a lot for this community," Chris said.

She did not know what they will ride in the parade. There was talk about trying to get a stagecoach, but if that cannot be arranged, the family may be in a convertible, she said.

Chris Floyd is also a longtime resident of Payson. Her maiden name is Smith and her family has been in the community since 1968.

She is a graduate of Payson High School and works for the town in the community development office.

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