Spring Rodeo Festivities Fill Weekend

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Dust off those Justin boots, spruce up the Wranglers and get that fancy Stetson off the top shelf in the closet. It's rodeo time in the Rim Country.

The 2006 PRCA Gary Hardt Memorial Rodeo is May 18 through May 20 and the Silver Crown Rodeo Showdown Pageant to select Miss Rodeo Arizona is May 19 through 21.

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More than 250 cowboys are expected to participate in the Gary Hardt Memorial 2006 PRCA Spring Rodeo. Gates open at 5 p.m. today and performances start at 7 p.m.

Women kick off and close the activities this year, so it is appropriate that a special theme has been incorporated into the festivities to support breast cancer research. Both the rodeo cowboys and rodeo royalty are participating.

At Friday night's performance, contestants, officials and arena workers will all be wearing something pink as part of the "Tough Enough to Wear Pink" campaign. The audience is also invited to participate by wearing something pink to the show. Vendors will be on hand to sell pink items as well. For every contestant wearing something pink, $3 will be contributed to breast cancer research. Everyone in the audience wearing pink will net another contribution of $1.

For their part of the special promotion, the pageant theme is "In the Pink -- Arizona Style."

Pageant events open to the public today, Friday, include: Horsemanship at 1 p.m. at the Payson Event Center and informal modeling and more at 6:30 p.m. at the Tonto Apache Tribal Activity Center. Tomorrow, Saturday, the public can attend the fashion show at 10:30 a.m. at the tribal center, and the awards and coronation will be held at 9 a.m. Sunday, May 21, at the tribal center.

For ticket information, call (520) 378-3717.

The campaign is being backed by Wrangler and is sponsored in Payson by the historic Ox Bow Saloon and Chaparral Pines/Rim Club, with assistance from Compass Bank, Bashas', Payson Jewelers, Payson Regional Medical Center's Healthy Woman Program and El Rancho.

The Cactus Circuit WPRA Rodeo -- the women's rodeo -- was held last night, Thursday.

The regular rodeo events will be held tonight and Saturday night, with the gates opening at 5 p.m. and the performances starting at 7 p.m. both evenings.

More than 250 cowboys are expected to participate in the team roping, steer wrestling, tie-down roping, saddle bronc, bareback and bull riding events.

Admission to the rodeo is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, $7 for children and free for those 7 and younger.

For more information, call the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce at (928) 474-4515.

The Main Event, the rodeo parade, will be held on Main Street between Green Valley Park and South Colcord at 9 a.m. Saturday.

The Payson Police Department will close the parade route and roads feeding into it from 8:30 a.m. until approximately 11 a.m., according to Commander Don Engler.

The roads feeding into Main are, from the east side, and to the west: South Colcord, Meadow Street, Bootleg Alley, McLane Road and Oak Street.

Access on Green Valley Parkway will be limited as it is the staging area for the parade.

See additional rodeo stories:

Special Spring Rodeo edition of The Rim Review

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