Equestrians from around the Rim Country and throughout the state will be showing off their riding skills and talent for speed in the exhibition Women's Rodeo May 17 at the Payson Event Center.
Coordinator Charlene Hunt said about 70 contestants are expected to participate.
The gates open at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 17, with the action slated to start at 6:30 p.m. Admission is a can of food for the area food banks.
The Gary Hardt Memorial Rodeo competition is not the only event local riders have to choose from this year. Rim Country equestrians will have plenty of recreational and competitive activities this summer, thanks to the Mogollon Montoneras and Payson Parks and Recreation specialist, Charlene Hunt.
On the Montoneras' agenda is a series of jackpot gymkhanas that will be held June 9, July 14, Aug. 25 and Sept. 22 at the Payson Event Center.
Payson Parks and Recreation Department will again host the 7D barrel and pole bending events that have proven popular the past several summers.
The 7D events are scheduled for Wednesday evenings. They began May 2 and wrap up July 25.
Some dates could be changed, due to holidays or the spring rodeo, Hunt said.
Competition begins each Wednesday evening at 6:30 p.m. at the Payson Event Center. Books open at 5:30 p.m. and there is an entry fee of $5 per event.
"This series will be a 7D format, where you will compete against time and not age groups," Hunt said.
At the conclusion of the series, awards will be presented.
In the Montoneras-sponsored gymkhanas, contestants will compete in a jackpot series in which there will be no year-end rewards, but payout will increase after each event.
Equestrians compete in age groups including 6 and under, 7 to 9, 10 to 13, 14 to 17, 18 to 30, 31-years and over and lead line.
The June 9, July 14 and Aug. 25 events will tip off at 5 p.m. The Sept. 22 clashes begin at 10 a.m.
Each competition will feature barrel racing, pole bending and a specialty event, such as "Big O," "Water Glass," "Big T" and "Butterfly."
For those unfamiliar with the Mogollon Montoneras organization, it is a nonprofit group, run solely by volunteers. Members and their families will be asked to assist with the production of the events, including setup, breakdown and working the entry/exit gates.
The Montoneras have long been a huge part of Rim Country culture.
Also on the equestrian agenda will be a monthly series of 4-H Horse Club shows for the younger age groups.
For more information about 4-H, call Lani Hall at (928) 474-4160. Call Megan Ward at (928) 476-2570 for information about the Montoneras Gymkhanas, and Hunt at (928) 474-5242, ext. 7 for the 7D barrel and pole bending series.
Copies of rules and guidelines for the 7D series are available at Parks and Recreation offices located at Green Valley Park.