The Payson Rodeo has relied upon the contributions of time and effort of thousands of people over its 124-year history.
Most of these people have volunteered their time, others are paid professionals.
One of the rodeo's long-standing volunteers is Bill Armstrong, who has served as Rodeo Boss for 25 years and volunteered in other capacities for many years prior. At 69, around these parts you can't say the word "rodeo" without mentioning Bill and all he has done for the sport in the town of Payson.
Armstrong is the chairman of the Payson Pro Rodeo Committee, a group of dedicated men and women who work tirelessly to keep rodeo alive and well in the Rim Country. The committee raises money to support a scholarship program for Payson High School seniors and contributes to numerous other activities in the school system.
The 2008 World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo is also being made possible through the efforts of numerous volunteers with the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, employees of the Town of Payson, as well as the volunteers and employees involved in the organizations and businesses participating in the various associated events.
Keeping the Payson Rodeo tradition alive are several professionals who are making return appearances in the Rim Country:
Honeycutt Rodeo - Livestock Contractor
Since 1976, Honeycutt Rodeo has been one of the few stock contractors/rodeo producers to have been a part of every National Finals Rodeo and also has been chosen 23 times since 1979 to provide their top bucking horses and bulls for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Four generations of horses can be seen running the high plains of our Alamosa, Colo. ranch, waiting their turn to show what they've got.
The Honeycutt family has been a part of the Payson Rodeo for so many years, they are almost natives.
Johnny Pope - Rodeo Announcer
Pope is a longtime rodeo announcer who is easily recognized all over the country. He has served as Military National Finals announcer, 1988; Indian National Finals Rodeo, 1986, 1999; All-World Bull Riding Championship announcer, 1987; announcer of the World Cup Horse Show, 1999; and many other circuit finals appearances.
Like the Honeycutt family, Pope has participated in enough Payson Rodeos to be considered a full-time resident of the community.
Reed Flake - Arena Announcer
Flake was born in Snowflake, Ariz. (not that the name would give that away) and when he is not calling the action from inside the arena he is running his own ranch.
He is a team roping contractor and is often seen around Arizona's high country rodeos. Flake's achievements consist of: Turquoise Circuit Finals announcer, three times; National Finals Rodeo announcer, 11 times; Wrangler Divisional Finals announcer, two times.
Honeycutt Rodeo - Rodeo Clowns
Rodeo clowns have one of the more dangerous jobs in show business, their jobs as stuntmen requires improvisational comedy with half-wild bulls and exposes them to a range of potential injuries from the bulls. Honeycutt Rodeo has several of rodeo's best rodeo clowns.
Their No. 1 goal is to protect the cowboys and then the livestock.
The Kiesner Family - Wild West Revue & Entertainment
The specialty act on board to entertain rodeo fans between all the rodeo action is the Kiesner Family Wild West Revue. Founded by Phillip Kiesner, 47, of Granbury, Texas, the act joined PRCA in 2004. Participating with Phillip, who is a fourth generation horse trainer, are his wife, Julie, and sons, Ryder and Roper. The revue uses paints and quarter horses in the act as well. The acts and stunts featured by the Kiesner Family Wild West Revue include trick roping, gun spinning, cowboy mounted shooting and roman riding.