On July 1, 2009, Payson Mayor Kenny Evans proclaimed Harry Shill be to Payson’s official Town Rodeo Ambassador. Harry’s job is to promote the sport of rodeo in Payson. Harry plans to promote rodeo in the newspapers, on the radio, and in large and small groups of interested people. Payson organizations may want to invite him to speak.
Harry will have a float in the parade again — and his float is very rodeo oriented. He will be riding “Wooly Booger,” and his wife Sharron will be driving the pickup. He won the Judges’ Choice Award in the May 2009 Rodeo Parade.
The first time Harry competed in the Payson Rodeo he was 16. That was back when hometown cowboys could enter — and yep, Harry entered the bull riding.
Over a period of 50 years, Harry developed his bull riding into a show by parachuting out of an airplane then riding a bull. He is in a class of his own and loves what he does. Harry went to the National Old Timers Rodeo Association Finals in 1987.
Harry and Sharron have adopted the Payson Rodeo Reunion, had it incorporated, and had it approved for 501c3 tax-exempt status. They will host a Cowboy Golf Tournament and a barbecue on Saturday, Aug. 15 in Rumsey Park.
Harry is a well-known rodeo cowboy in these parts and he keeps in contact with the others who used to come to Payson each August. He loves the sport of rodeo and does all he can to support it. Now with his new title, he should be even better known and easy to find for speaking engagements. He can also sing.
Plan to attend Payson’s 125th Annual Rodeo this year Aug. 14-16 at the Payson Event Center. This is the world’s oldest rodeo, starting in 1884 — four years before Prescott — but Prescott trademarked the title, so Payson has to advertise as the World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo.
“See you there!” said Harry.
Payson’s official town historians, Jinx Pyle and Jayne Peace Pyle, were asked what they thought about the choice of Harry Shill as Payson’s Rodeo Ambassador. Jinx replied, “Who else could do better? Harry is the man. He has lived the life, he knows what he speaks of, and he’s a colorful character. I think he will give it all he’s got.”
Jayne said, “I greatly supported the suggestion for Harry Shill as our rodeo ambassador. In the past few years, our rodeo attendance has fallen off and this is sad since we have the World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo. I think Harry will do all he can to bring people to the rodeo and teach people about rodeo. He rode bulls for almost 50 years, so he knows the business. He will be a good rodeo ambassador.”