As we left Payson for a retirement in Prescott, many, including the Roundup staff, made me promise to stand up to Payson's bidor "the oldest rodeo."Prescott, of course, contends it had the "world's oldest rodeo" and Payson knows it has the "world's oldest continuous rodeo."This matter has been raked over the coals so many times it seems fruitless to bring it up again.Except, I confess that over here am pretty tired of hearing this claim with every reference to their annual rodeo.The word is never mentioned here without the prefix "world's oldest."
I still contend that Payson's claim to the 1884 date stands, in that local cowboys brought their profession of roping and riding to town and began competing in that particular summer.Payson's "August Doins" has continued without a break for these 120 summers.However, Prescott does legitimately stand by their claim to be "the world's oldest rodeo," based on the following reasoning.I quote from an article by Richard Sims, director of the Sharlot Hall Museum. "In 1888 a group of local citizens... established the criteria of organized, modern rodeo: 1. A committee to organize it and put it on; 2. Cowboys invited to compete; 3. Admission charged to pay expenses; 4. Prizes awarded; and 5. Documentation of the proceedings."
Using those strict guidelines, Payson's official rodeo would begin quite a bit later than 1884.ut what's in a date?Who really cares about a word like "oldest" or "continuous?"The main thing is the fun of it all, and having written this I really hope not to speak about it any more, especially over here.
Stan Brown, Prescott