The spirit of the West lives on through the sport of professional rodeo. And that spirit will descend on Payson with the 125th Annual World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo. Events are planned from Tuesday, Aug. 11 through Sunday, Aug. 16.
The Payson Rodeo Preservation Alliance is proud to present the 125th Annual World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo. This PRCA-sanctioned rodeo has been referred to as the best small-town rodeo in the country. In addition to the rodeo action action, this year will include several special ceremonies that will focus on the 125th celebration.
Ice Cream Social Tuesday
The Rim Country Literacy Program presents Lasso For Literacy and Ice Cream Social at Green Valley Park from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 11. This event will feature Western storytellers, musicians and cowboy poets. Come to the park and enjoy some good, old-fashioned family fun.
Two Ranch Rodeos
On Wednesday and Thursday nights, Aug. 12 and 13, kick up your heels at two Ranch Rodeos that will feature some of the best local talent in the Rim Country.
Ranch Rodeo events will consist of steer riding for youngsters ages 8 to 12, horse catching, team branding and wild cow milking. This event is in conjunction with the WPRA (Women’s Pro Rodeo Association) sanctioned rodeo with its tie-down roping, breakaway roping, team roping and barrel racing. Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for children under 12, and kids under 5 are free.
The first annual Payson Rockband 2 competition is from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 13 at Chapman Auto Center.
This event will feature five to eight bands that will play the Wii game, Rockband 2, live on a giant jumbotron. Each band will perform two songs and will be judged by three celebrity judges. They will be awarded points in four different criteria: best score, character, dress and song difficulty. The winning band will receive tickets to the rodeo performance at 1 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 15 and will be recognized in the arena during the intermission.
Dan Majerle coming to town
During the Friday and Saturday night rodeo performances, Dan Majerle, assistant coach of the Phoenix Suns, will “Shoot for Breast Cancer Research.” Al McCoy and Tim Kempton, also of the Phoenix Suns, will join Majerle. They will call the action while Majerle tries to sink as many three-pointers as he can in a 90-second period. All proceeds will go to help fight breast cancer.
The Annual Rodeo Parade will return to the roots of the 125th Annual World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo and be held on Payson’s Historic Main Street, beginning at Green Valley Park and ending at Sawmill Crossing.
Al McCoy will be a celebrity announcer for the parade, along with Eddie Armer. The two will be stationed in front of the Ox Bow Saloon. Fred Carpenter will announce from near the Community Presbyterian Church. Also announcing will be DJ Craig near the Main Street Fire Station, assisted by Jeff West, of KMLE Country.
Dan Majerle and Tim Kempton will be special ambassadors for this year’s parade. Nancy Sheppard, World Record Trick Rider and Roper and member of the Cowboy Hall of Fame, Cowgirl Hall of Fame and Rodeo Hall of Fame, will be the parade Grand Marshal. The parade will feature an expected 70 entries including riders, floats, classic cars, tractors, bands, cowboys, cowgirls and lots of surprises.
Sheppard, along with Harry Shill, Eddie and Penny Conway, Frank and Tammy Kelly, and Leroy Tucker were inducted as charter members of the Payson Rodeo Legends Ring of Honor in July 2009. Many won world championships in rodeo. Also inducted were major contributors to the rodeo tradition of the Rim Country and world champions Arizona Charlie Meadows, John Collins Chilson, Ace Gardner, Joe Bassett, John Armer, John Rhodes, Asbury Schell and Eddie Schell.
Sheppard, the Conways, the Kellys, Shill and Tucker will be introduced during an intermission program at the evening performance of the rodeo on Saturday, Aug. 15.
Tickets for several of the performances of the 125th Annual World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo also commemorate Sheppard, Shill and Eddie Conway with their pictures. Track down the honorees and have them sign the stub and you will have quite a collectible.
Contact the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce for tickets, (928) 474-4515.
A monument with the names of the first inductees to the Payson Rodeo Legends Ring of Honor will be erected at the Payson Event Center.
August Doins’ started in 1884
Rodeo was born on the ranches of western America. Informal competitions sprang up among cowpunchers to determine the best riders and ropers.
Payson’s rodeo history dates back to 1884, giving it claim to the World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo held each August. Organizers of the first Payson Rodeo were Abraham Henson Meadows — known later as “Arizona Charlie” Meadows (1860-1932) — who moved to the Rim Country with his parents from California in 1877, and young John Collins Chilson (1867-1924) who also moved to this area from California in 1879.
For complete Rodeo Week details, pick up the Roundup’s Rodeo Program available Wednesday.