Incarceration For A Good Cause


If you get rounded up by a "purty gal" in flashy fashions, just grin and bear it and haul out your wallet: You're on your way to the Rodeo Jail.

When you post your bail, you are contributing to the education of a deserving student at Payson schools. All the money raised by the Rodeo Jail Committee, under the direction of Lori Foss, goes to the Payson Rodeo Committee's scholarship fund.

"We actually start Aug. 14, selling buttons for immunity during Western wear week," Foss said. During the week leading up to the 120th World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo residents and visitors are encouraged to either wear Western-style clothes or a rodeo button.

In the past a raffle ticket was attached to each button, but so many prize winners failed to collect their winnings, the Rodeo Jail Committee is changing the raffle this year. When a button is sold, the buyer will be asked if they would like to buy a raffle ticket as well. Among the prizes to be awarded in the raffle this year are a saddle, halter and horse brushes. The buttons and raffle tickets will be sold throughout the week.

Foss said her committee members will be at the annual Rodeo Mixer at Chapman Auto Center, during the parade and possibly at other events.

The buttons are $2 each and also are available at the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Payson Event Center and elsewhere.

The rodeo is Aug. 20, 21 and 22 this year.

During the rodeo week, Rim country residents can have some extra fun by taking a warrant out on their friends and members of their family. The cost of the warrant is $10, which must be paid to the Rodeo Jail Committee prior to the "arrest," Foss said.

The minimum bail to get out of "jail" is $25, but the person taking out the warrant can set a higher bail, Foss said.

"We do ‘work release' too," she said. "If a person we're arresting can't leave their place of employment, we will give them a work release pass, but they still have to pay their bail."

Foss wants to assure everyone the whole Rodeo Jail project is all in fun and meant only to be a fund-raiser for the scholarship fund, not an embarrassment to anyone. She said the people taking out warrants for their working friends and family should clear the interruption by the Rodeo Jail Committee at their work place.

The Rodeo Jail Committee has been part of Payson's rodeo events for about six years, Foss said.

"The first year, it raised about $12,000 for the scholarship fund and the second year it pulled in around $10,000. Unfortunately, the amount has been down since then," Foss said, then pointed to the economy, war and gas prices as contributing factors.

The committee is as enthusiastic as ever, though.

"This is a volunteer effort for charity," Foss said. She asked everyone to remember that the promises made to the program to pay bail money are what keep it successful.

To arrange the purchase of buttons or get a warrant for the "arrest" of a friend or family member, call Foss at (928) 474-9314.

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