Get ready -- it's rodeo time in the Rim Country.
Payson is celebrating its 121st continuous rodeo beginning Thursday, Aug. 18, through Sunday, Aug. 21, at the Payson Event Center.
Look for some of the top cowboys in the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association's Turquoise Circuit to compete in the Annual World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo. As of press time, 224 cowboys were signed up to compete, including all-around cowboys Russ Sullivan (2002) and Joseph Parsons (2004); bareback riders Cody Lee (2003) and Tom McFarland (2004); top steer wrestler Brian Cline (2003); team ropers Mark Simon and Matt Sherwood (2003) and Rube Woolsey (2004); saddle bronc rider Rawley McFarland (2004); tie-down roper Joseph Parsons (2004); and bull riders Larry Leist (2003) and Cody Hancock (2004).
The rodeo kicks off Thursday evening at 7 p.m., with the annual Women's Professional Rodeo Association Cactus Circuit Rodeo (see related story). Admission is a can of food to benefit area food banks.
The first performance by members of the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association will be at 7 p.m. Friday. Miss Rodeo Arizona Amanda Jenkins, other rodeo queens and special guests will open the night's events with a grand entry.
The first of four mutton bustin' contests, where youngsters have a chance to demonstrate their riding skills, also takes place that evening. Special performances by the One-Armed Bandit and Company's Amanda Payne will provide entertainment.
Announcer Johnny Pope will guide the audience through the competitions, assisted this year by an electronic scoreboard made available to Payson by the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co.
The World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo Parade will march down the Beeline Highway at 9 a.m., Aug. 20. The route follows West Rancho Road to the intersection of the Beeline Highway and Highway 260. Rodeo performances will take place at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday. Finals are at 1 p.m., Aug. 21.
Payson's official historians, Jinx and Jayne Peace Pyle are hosting an old-fashioned Rodeo Reunion from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 20, at the Tonto Apache Reservation gym, south of the Mazatzal Casino.
Special guests are noted rodeo performers from the past, Lynn and Nancy Sheppard. Other past rodeo competitors from the area are also expected to attend and all will be available to sign copies of the book, "Rodeo 101, History of the Payson, Arizona Rodeo 1884-1984," written by Jinx and Jayne last year. The books will be for sale at the event, which will also feature live, old-time music and a barbecue.
The Payson Event Center is located south of Payson on Highway 87 west of the Mazatzal Casino. For more information about the rodeo shows and parade, see the Rodeo Guide enclosed in this issue of the Roundup, or visit the Roundup www.paysonroundup.com, or call the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce at (928) 474-4515. For more on the Rodeo Reunion, call (928) 474-0380.
See related story:
Women's rodeo kicks in donations to local food banks