Economic times are tough all around, but Bobbie Jo Haught’s best hope is that the distressed market doesn’t adversely affect the Gracie Lee Haught Barrel Racing and Team Roping.
“I hope we can do as good as last year, which was great,” she said.
Her concerns are because she understands the proceeds benefit a highly worthwhile cause — the Gracie Lee Haught Children’s Memorial Fund — and the events are the type of boot scootin’ celebrations small towns are famous for.
During the festivities, which will be Aug. 7 to 9 at the Payson Event Center, there will be plenty of old-fashioned camaraderie, delicious food, toe-tapping live music, children’s games and plenty of furious riding and roping competition.
Although the focus will be on barrel racing and team roping, there will be equally as much activity outside the arena — some in a specially constructed 40-by-100-foot tent that last year was a hotbed of goings-on.
It also should provide plenty of cooling shade, which can sometimes be hard to come by at PEC.
Among the most popular children’s attractions last year was a 30-foot climbing wall that will again be featured. Children will be allowed to scamper on the wall free of charge — and safely, thanks to the harnesses they wear.
Other activities on the agenda include a three-legged race, egg toss, shoe scramble, piñata bash and pingpong ball toss.
There will also be a dance in the tent beginning at 8 p.m. Saturday evening, which will be preceded at 6 p.m. by a benefit dinner.
During last year’s festivities, Albert and Charlene Hunt served up about 400 deep-pit beef cowboy dinners.
This time around, dinner duties have fallen on the shoulders of Roy George Haught who is well-known locally for his fabulous outdoor cooking delights.
“It’s guaranteed to be good,” said Jan Parsons of the Children’s Memorial Fund.
Tickets to the dinner and dance are $20 per person or $50 per family. Seniors, 60 years and older, can take advantage of a two-for-one offer.
At 9 p.m. Saturday evening, a Calcutta will be held in which participants can wager on the outcome of the weekend’s team ropings.
“It’s a 50-50 Calcutta, with half the money going to the winners and the other half to the (Children’s) fund,” Bobbie Jo Haught said.
Sunday’s team roping opens at 7:30 a.m. with a pancake breakfast served up by the Payson Lions Club.
Racing and ropin’
The weekend gets off to a roaring start at 7 p.m., Friday, Aug. 7 with the memorial jackpot barrel racing, which will be hosted by Charlene Hunt. Books open at 5:30 p.m.
Fees are $15 per run for Pee Wees (10-years-and-under) and $35 per run in the 4D division. Fees are cash only.
The following day, Aug. 8, team roping begins at 8:30 a.m. and books open one hour earlier. Action continues throughout the day.
The entry fee is $70 per man.
Team roping begins on the second day directly after the breakfast, about 8:30 a.m.
Among the few changes the roping has undergone since last year is that Destry and Terri Haught of By-Grace Productions will provide the livestock.
In 2008, Travis Stodghill lassoed the headers’ first place saddle award and Sam Hambrik won it for heelers.
Bobbie Jo Haught anticipates Stodghill will return to defend his title, but is unsure if Hambrik will enter.
The annual celebration is held in memory of Gracie Lee Haught who died four years ago in a tragic accident in Star Valley. She was 3 years old and the daughter of Bobbie Jo and Hooter Haught.
Following Gracie Lee’s death, the Children’s Fund was founded to provide financial assistance to those in need.
“If it’s anything associated with medical help and safety for children, we (the Children’s Fund) can usually help out,” Bobbie Jo said.