Only seconds after calculating the total pay-off late Sunday afternoon of the 120th Annual World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo, arena secretary Karen Kissel knew the event had been a success.
"It's a big one," she said, "bigger than most rodeos I work."
A total of $56,610 in prize money was paid out to the competitors, including $1,835.00 to Jim Leatherberry for winning the bull riding.
In an event in which only five cowboys stayed on their bulls in four rodeo performances, Leatherberry rode 102 Mr. Biscuits to a winning score of 86. His prize money was the largest single pay-off of the rodeo.
The payoffs might have been a big reason the rodeo drew some of the biggest names on the PRCA circuit.
Among them were Jason McClain, Cody Hancock, Scott Miller, Steve Dollarhide, Mark Gomes and Rick Kieckhefter.
McClain, a four-time NFR qualifier, carded a 79 to finish second in the bull riding and win $1,406.88.
Hancock, the 2000 PRCA world bull riding champion, took third with a score of 74. The Taylor, Ariz. cowboy pocketed $1,039.87 in prize money.
In the saddle bronc riding, Miller -- who stands 20th in the world standings --ode A7 Jack Fog to a 77 first-place finish. The win was worth $1,607.82.
Dollarhide of Wikieup took third with a ride of 69. Dollarhide is a seven-time NFR qualifier.
Gomes, an eight-time NFR qualifier, pocketed $1,555.58 for riding C28 Dawson Creek to a winning tally of 84 in the bareback competition.
The steer wrestling was won by C.J. Arago with a two go-around average of 10.9 seconds. His win was worth $1,020.40.
The team of Wes Dayzie and Jeremy Alcott joined forces to win team roping with a time of 11.8 seconds. Each received $1,010.70.
Kieckhefer lassoed $1,098 for winning the tie down roping in 17.3 seconds. In the first go-around, Kieckhefer was first (8.6) and in the second he finished third (8.7). The Prescott cowboy currently ranks 13th in the world standings.
All-around cowboy honors was garnered by Clay Parsons who finished fourth in the team roping averages and fourth in the second go-around of the tie down roping.
Gail Thurman won in barrel racing with a time of 17.71 seconds. Her efforts earned here $1,343.62.
Only .05 of a second behind Thurman was runner-up Bonnie Stradling who won $1151.67.
Rodeo boss Bill Armstrong said the Payson rodeo was a total success, adding that it took the entire rodeo committee working almost non-stop to ensure it went off without a hitch.