Nationally Ranked Cowboys Expected At Weekend Rodeo

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The Gary Hardt Memorial Rodeo festivities begin Thursday with the Cactus Series Ladies Barrel Racing. Gates open at 5 p.m. The performance is at 7 p.m. Admission is a can of food for the food bank.

Evening performances at the Payson Event Center will be held at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Gates open at 5 p.m.

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Several nationally ranked Pro Rodeo cowboys are expected to be among the 240 entrants in the contests, according to Rodeo Boss Bill Armstrong.

He said Jud Mortenson of Dewey will be in the bull riding, Tommy McFarland of Wickenburg will participate in the bareback riding and Steve Dollarhide of Wikieup will compete in saddle bronc riding.

Also on the list of participants are bareback rider Stetson Herrera of New Mexico, who has family in the Rim Country, team roper Rube Woolsey of Casa Grande, tie-down roper Chance Kelton of Mayer, team roper Steve Sherwood of Gilbert and barrel racer Sheri Estrada of Alamogordo, N.M.

The rodeo will also feature hometown PRCA cowboy, Jason Amon, who will participate in both saddle bronc and bull riding.

Admission is $12 for adults, ages 13 to 64; $10 for senior citizens, 65 and older; and $8 for children 8 to 12; those 7 and younger are admitted free.

Tickets are available at the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, Corral West, Circle K North and the Payson Roundup newspaper.

Salt River Rodeo is returning to the Rim Country as the rodeo's stock contractor, featuring some of the top bulls in the sport.

On Friday, the "Tough Enough to Wear Pink" special Breast Cancer Support Performance provides $1 to the cause for each attendee who wears pink and $3 for every cowboy in pink.

The Main Event Rodeo Parade will be on Main Street, starting at Julia Randall Elementary School at 9 a.m. Saturday and traveling east.

This year's parade is dedicated to three longtime members of the Payson Pro Rodeo Committee who died in 2006-2007 -- Jim Barrett, Al Ayers and Walt Prychodnik.

They will be honored by three riderless horses led along the parade route.

There are 17 entries currently registered to participate, but Parade Chair Joni Alexander will accept entries up until Saturday morning.

To find out more about the parade, call Alexander from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at (928) 468-9797. She can be reached at other times at (928) 978-3348.

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