Payson Event Center will be a beehive of equestrian activity throughout July and August.
Among the activities on the agenda are the 7D Barrel Race and Pole Bending Series, monthly ropings, team sortings, the Turn-n-Burn Barrel and Pole Bending Series, 4H horse shows, Gracie Haught Memorial Roping and Mogollon Montoneras family horse events.
The 7D barrel and pole bending events began May 6 and will continue each Wednesday through July.
At the conclusion of those, the highly popular Turn-n-Burn series begins Aug. 5 and continues through September.
Those two series wrap up with the Cowboy Tri-Stampede on Oct. 10.
Town recreation specialist Charlene Hunt calls the stampede a true cowboy-cowgirl event because it features barrel racing, pole bending, team sorting and team roping.
In short, those who compete are usually well-rounded equestrians.
For the inaugural stampede, which was held Oct. 11, 2008, the turnout of 33 teams surprised even Hunt.
She had earlier been concerned that there were not enough locals who competed in team sorting to have the skills to attempt the Cowboy Tri.
Watching the Tri unfold, she said, “We now know team sorting can be popular; it was wonderful to have such a good turnout.”
The highlight of the stampede was the awarding of the Tri All-Around championships to those who had accumulated the most points during the summer season and at the finals.
In the senior division, Leslie Thompson rode her way to first-place honors.
Teddy Tomerlin took top honors in the male division and Jackie Dawes was first among the female competitors.
Among the juniors, Pine cowgirl Chelsie Stodghill was crowned champion.
Although competitors had to compete in only three events to be eligible for the all-around title, Tomerlin, Dawes and Stodghill entered all four.
Hunt says entering four events gives the competitors a better chance at winning.
In the senior division of team sorting, Kenny Calloway dealt his way to first place.
Among the juniors, Mason Ridley took the title, winning his first championship buckle.
Peggy Randall and Hunt tied for the women’s championship.
The overall winner was Reed Hunt, Charlene’s son.
Charlene Hunt says she is confident that the upcoming Tri-Stampede will be even more successful than the first.
For more information about the Tri-Stampede or any of the barrel and pole bending series, call Hunt at (928) 474-5242, ext. 7.
For those interested in the family horse events sponsored by the Montoneras, gymkhanas will be held Aug. 1, Aug. 29 and Sept. 26.
Earlier gymkhanas were held April 25, May 30 and June 27.
Most gymkhanas draw about 100 equestrians.
For those unfamiliar with the Mogollon Montoneras organization, it is a non-profit group run solely by volunteers. Which means, members and their families will be asked to assist with the production of the events, including set up, breakdown and working the entry/exit gates.
The Montoneras have long been a huge part of Rim Country culture.
Call Megan Ward at (928) 476-2570 for information about the Mogollon Montoneras.
The much-anticipated Gracie Haught barrel race will be held Aug. 7 and the roping events the following two days.
Those are among the most popular events on the summer PEC agenda, partly because they benefit the Gracie Lee Haught Children’s Fund.