Rodeo Hosts 200-Plus Professionals

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The Payson Pro Rodeo Committee, the Town of Payson, the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Payson Horsemen's Association and Mazatzal Casino are working together to bring the community the best rodeo ever.

Bill Armstrong, who has been coordinating Payson's rodeos for years, said between 230 and 240 professional cowboys will be competing in the 2005 Gary Hardt Memorial Spring PRCA Rodeo.

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All kinds of action awaits at the 2005 Gary Hardt Memorial PRCA Spring Rodeo at the Payson Event Center. Shows will be around 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday, but gates open at 4 p.m. for a performance by the Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales.

During its earliest years, Payson's Spring Rodeo was part of the National Old Timers Rodeo Association, now known as the Senior Pro Rodeo Tour.

In 1987 it became the Gary Hardt Memorial Rodeo to honor the memory of the Payson native who died in 1987.

He was a well-known roper, fisherman and an all-around athlete.

Hardt was recognized throughout the Southwest for his bull riding and roping talents. His rodeo career began in 1962 at the World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo in Payson.

As a member of the Rodeo Cowboys Association, Hardt rode bulls for about 20 years.

During the last 10 years of his work in rodeo, he became well-established as a roper.

This memorial event in his name is dedicated to benefit local youths with their educational and athletic achievements.

Once again, the stock contractor for the event is Honeycutt Rodeo Inc.

The Honeycutt family is a familiar part of not only Rim rodeos, but rodeos throughout the southwest.

Honeycutt livestock has been to every National Finals Rodeo since 1976.

The company has a goal, having a horse or a bull of the year that comes out of their breeding program.

This program was started in 2000 with the bull, Candy Man.

The blood line on some of the colts goes back to Alsbaugh' Spark Plug, horse of the year for National Finals Rodeo in 1974. Most recently the company purchased a stud, Sparrow Hawk, from the Bar T Rodeo. The horse is the son of Sparrow, another horse of the year for National Finals Rodeo in 1990.

Honeycutt Rodeo, Inc. has been producing professional rodeos for 27 years. Based in Alamosa, Colo., the company includes four generations of the family in its operations.

It is a family-run outfit offering the highest quality of family entertainment.

The company works hard to put on a fast-paced and entertaining rodeo with super bucking bulls and horses.

Honeycutt Rodeo, Inc. will be back in Payson for the World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo in August.

Helping the riders stay safe will be Matt Lucking, bullfighter. Jeff "Slim" Garner will be entertaining the crowd as this year's speciality act.

Announcing the events will be Reed Flake from Snowflake, Ariz.

Schedule of Events

Rodeo contests at the Payson Event Center begin Thursday, May 19 and continue through Saturday, May 21.

Thursday, May 19

Women's Professional Rodeo Association Cactus Series Barrel Race. Books open for entries at 5 p.m., performance starts at 6 p.m. Free admission with a can of food to benefit Food Bank.

Friday, May 20

Gates open - 4 p.m.

Clydesdale performance - 6 p.m.

Rodeo performance - 7 p.m.

Entry fees - $12 adults, $10 seniors, $8 children 8-12, children 7 and under free.

Saturday, May 21

Gates open - 4 p.m.

Clydesdale performance - 6 p.m.

Rodeo performance - 7 p.m.

Entry fees - $12 adults, $10 seniors, $8 children 8-12, children 7 and under free.

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