When cowboys and cowgirls take center stage and Payson's western heritage is on display with blue jeans, boots and ten-gallon hats abound, one thing is certain -- it's rodeo time in the Rim Country.
The four-day festivities beginning Thursday, Aug. 16, ensure that an already bustling summertime weekend makes Payson an even more desirable place to be.
The family atmosphere provided by the various rodeo events, as well as the annual parade down the Beeline on Saturday morning, hits even closer to home as members of the town staff are participating in the action.
Town Manager Fred Carpenter will be presiding over parade announcing duties -- a role he said he has played on and off for 20 years. He'll be stationed at Ace Hardware to comment on the parade entries.
One of his favorite things to do is to play his country music prior to the start of the parade, he said.
Carpenter said that town staff has been busy preparing for the events for weeks. Even though many town officials may not be visibly present during the myriad events, their hard work will help ensure a successful weekend.
"We're back behind the scenes making sure everything goes smoothly," he said.
Public Works personnel have spent hours in the hot August sun trimming the weeds along Beeline Highway.
The greenery had a big boost in growth from recent monsoon rains. The rains also washed granite and other debris into the streets, so time has been spent running the street sweeper.
Beeline is not the only road being tidied for the town's rodeo guests, other streets are getting a brush-up as well.
Carpenter said that members of the town council will likely ride on a float or in a car in the parade.
Charlene Hunt, recreation specialist, said that preparations are being made at the event center to accommodate the rodeo events.
While the old hands at rodeo are doing a lot of the work in the actual arena, the town staff is also getting things in order in and around the center of the action.
The parking lot of the event center is being chalked to make parking easier. The north end of the parking lot will host horse and livestock trailers and rodeo equipment during the events.
An area of the event center grounds is also set aside to accommodate the participants' fifth-wheels and other recreation vehicles. The competitors in the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association travel throughout the country to participate in their sport, usually making the journey by the road. The camping area is only for rodeo participants, though.