Jim Barrett's passing this week drew the circle of the old-time rodeo crew closer.
Barrett began his work with the Payson Jaycees rodeo committee in 1959, right after moving to the community, but his involvement in the sport came quite a few years before.
"I messed around with it in college and had friends who rode bulls and saddle broncs," Barrett told the Payson Roundup last year for its 2006 edition of the annual August Rodeo publication.
Barrett made an impression on everyone with whom he came in contact. He was a big man, but soft-spoken with a good heart.
Talking with his old friends, they all thought a lot of Barrett.
"He was a wonderful man," said Pat Albritton, who worked on the rodeo committee with Barrett for many years. "He adored his kids and grandkids. He was well-respected by the rodeo family. My husband thought a lot of him. They worked together as the Medicare Misfits."
Barrett told the Roundup about the Medicare Misfits in the interview last summer.
He was talking about the new blood working the rodeo, "We need it. We joke you have to be on Medicare to work the arena. We call ourselves the Medicare Misfits."
Bill Armstrong, chairman of the Payson Pro Rodeo Committee, said, "When I came, he taught me everything. We were right there together, side by side, and watched the rodeo grow. He loved rodeo, but he loved the Payson Rodeo the best. He was a hell of a man."
Roy Haught is Barrett's step-nephew. He said, "He was a good man and good uncle. He loved to hunt and fish and took me with him a lot. He was good to me as a kid and did a lot for me, and taught me a lot."
Ronnie McDaniel has known Barrett since he came to Payson in 1959.
"We played basketball together on a men's traveling team," McDaniel said. "He was an excellent athlete and a good ball player. We hunted together.
"Once, I was supposed meet some friends after a football game, but I didn't have a way to get my horse up to the camp. Jim offered to take both me and my horse up to Little Green Valley. It was about 11 at night and I rode into camp around midnight.
"Payson lost a piece of rodeo history with his passing. He was so instrumental with the rodeo. If it hadn't been for him and Bill Armstrong, there probably wouldn't be a rodeo. He was a great guy and a lot of fun to be around."
Read the formal obituary submitted by the family.