Will You Be In This Year's Rodeo Parade?

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Spike, the official mascot of the 2008 Super Bowl, has already signed up to walk in the Rodeo Parade on Aug. 18.

It has yet to be determined who will be walking behind him.

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Cash prizes will be given during the August rodeo parade to the best entries in a variety of categories, including "Best Horse-Drawn."

If businesses or individuals plan to enter this year's rodeo parade, it's time to sign up at the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce.

"There is no question the World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo is a major draw and we would like to make the parade a major event to complement the rodeo," said chamber business coordinator, John Stanton.

"The parade is a way to show what our community is about, what we offer and who we are," said parade co-chair, Carrie Dick.

This year's theme, "Stars of the Western Screens," includes film and television characters. Miss Kitty could be at one end of the parade and Gene Autry at the other.

Cash prizes, in the $25 to $50 range, are raised through the collection of entry fees. As a result, they depend on the number of people who participate.

Awards are given for the best entry in each category:

  • Best themed entry, commercial
  • Best themed entry, non-commercial
  • Costumed rider - female
  • Costumed rider - male
  • Costumed riding group
  • Costumed non-riding group/adult/child
  • Costumed non-rider adult/child
  • Family
  • Civic/volunteer
  • Motorized vehicles
  • Marching group
  • Horse-drawn

Fees are free for schools and rodeo royalty, $20 for individuals and families, $35 nonprofits and chamber business members, $50 non-members and for $60, political entries.

There is a $10 discount for entry fees received by Aug. 2.

Those fees also help make the parade self-sufficient, without the chamber asking for high-dollar sponsors from a business community that "is always so good about donations," Stanton said.

Payson Christian Church will treat parade entrants to a free breakfast, the morning of the parade.

While entrants need to check in at 7:30 a.m. at Payson Elementary School, spectators have to wait until 9 a.m. for the parade to begin.

The route will follow Highway 87, from Airport Road to Highway 260.

Arizona Public Service (APS) is sponsoring the event, along with the chamber.

In addition to the Super Bowl mascot, the parade currently includes royalty from the Ms. Turquoise circuit, plus Show Low, Gilbert and Florence rodeo queens and their entourages.

Bison Homes is bringing a stagecoach and their Percheron horses.

The Calendar Cowgirls will perform a patriotic routine.

Announcers will be stationed along the parade route.

"We want to have fun," Stanton said. "The world needs more smiles and laughter and we aim to provide some of that."

Entry forms are available at the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, located at the corner of Main Street and the Beeline Highway, and at the Payson Public Library.

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