Payson's very own prodigal son, Seth Barkley-Seidel, returned to town last Sunday to prepare for competition in the saddle-bronc division of the world's oldest continuous rodeo.
The 21-year-old joined the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) in 2007 after becoming the Arizona High School Champion saddle bronc rider in 2005, his senior year at Payson High School.
One of Seidel's accomplishments was his qualification and participation in the National College Finals Rodeo while he was attending Cochise College in 2006 on a scholarship he was awarded for his expertise in saddle bronc riding.
Siedel didn't confine his riding to college competitions, he also took winning prizes two days in a row during competition in Las Cruces, N.M. at the Grand Canyon Regional Finals Rodeo in 2006. That same year he won the Grand Canyon Pro Rodeo Association Saddle Bronc Championship.
He will be competing alongside other PRCA cowboys this weekend at the Payson Rodeo for thousands of dollars in prize money.
His mother, Cricket Barkley, said, "Seth's goal is to qualify for the national finals in his rookie year, and to also win rookie of the year at the National Finals Rodeo."
Seidel only gets one chance to be named rookie of the year at NFR and so far he has fluctuated between first, second and third places.
"Right now he's in second place, but we're sure he will qualify for the finals and win," Barkley said.
"He's about five thousand dollars behind the leader, but if he could get just one good win he'd be right back in the running for first place."
In the meantime, Barkley said the family plans to spend as much time with him as possible.
Seidel has been on the road for months now, and they would all like to catch up on his life and get some of Mom's cooking into him before he has to leave again. Barkley said.
Barkley said Seidel's favorite kind of food is Mexican. She has been stuffing him with as much home cooking as she can since he arrived in town Sunday.
"He said he's really getting tired of fast food," Barkley said.
"So I've been making sure he gets plenty to eat before he has to go back on the circuit."
"We're really glad he can be home here with us, even if it is for just a short time." she said
Seidel has competed in more than 20 rodeos since he went on the Pro Rodeo circuit, including ones in Texas, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and California before coming back to Payson to compete in this weekend's rodeo at the event center.
He will accompany Jason Amon, another PRCA cowboy from Payson, after this weekend's rodeo to compete in the Mescalero, N.M. Pro-Rodeo on Aug. 18.