Rodeo Attracts Record Numbers

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The 122nd Annual World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo is in the history books.

The wild and wooly competition held Aug. 18 to 20 in the Payson Event Center, drew some of the largest crowds in the history of the rodeo, long known as the August Doin's.

"I'm still counting tickets. So, we don't have any official figures, but the crowds those two nights were capacity," Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tina Bruess said.

Rodeo Boss Bill Armstrong, who has taken in about as many Payson rodeos as anyone in town, agreed.

"Both nights (drew) as big of crowds as I have ever seen," he said.

The competitors

If there was anyone who departed the Event Center grounds disappointed, it was the bull riders.

During the Friday performance, nary a bull rider pocketed day money because none could stay aboard stock contractor Roy Honeycutt's rank bulls.

On Saturday afternoon, only one cowboy could stay on for the required eight-second ride.

In all, just four cowboys turned in qualifying rides and Daren Albrecht's 59, normally a nonwinning score, was good enough for fourth place and $558.06 in prize money.

Marana bull rider, Josh Lozinsky rode 002 MoMoney to a winning score of 73 and the event's top paycheck of $1,534.66.

Former world champion bull rider Cody Hancock of Taylor, was expected to compete, but was forced to withdraw with an injury.

Hancock, a local favorite since he first rode onto the PRCA circuit in 1998, is a four-time Wrangler National Rodeo qualifier, a past Payson champion and an Xtreme Bulls finalist.

In the saddle bronc riding at the Payson rodeo, Jasique Hughes out-rode Arizona cowboy Steve Dollarhide for first place and a paycheck of $1,476.58.

Hughes stayed aboard C14 Chinook for a score of 84.

Dollarhide earned $1,119.62 for a runner-up tally of 79.

In team roping, which is one of the most popular events in the Rim Country, Buddy Robinson and John Etcheveery posted a two go-around time of 13.8 second to take first and prize money of $826.50 each.

The single best time, 5.4 seconds was chalked up in second go by the team of Darwin Parks and Mike Clancy.

Jerome Schneeberger edged Prescott cowboy Rick Kieckhefer to take first in the tie down roping. Schneeberger score 15.6 seconds to win $1007. Kieckhefer won $755.25 for his time of 17.4 seconds.

Dean McIntyre won $912 for his first place finish in the steer wrestling. His total time of 10.8 seconds was 2.2 seconds quicker than that of runner-up Russell Armenta.

The $38,900 in prize money paid out to the PRCA cowboys came up short of the $44, 290 paid last year.

Among the seasons for the smaller payout was that no bareback competition was held.

Due to a number of glitches, including not attracting enough cowboys, the event was canceled.

Even with that, Bruess and Armstrong agree the rodeo was an overwhelming success that provided hours of family entertainment to visitors and local residents alike.

"It was a pretty good boost to the economy, too," Bruess said.

Photo gallery:

View a photo gallery of the 122nd Annual World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo and parade.

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