Welcome To Our Rodeo Celebration

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Dennis Fendler/Roundup

Rough and tumble action, fun, foolishness and lots of lovely rodeo royalty await residents and visitors alike at the 2009 Gary Hardt Memorial Spring Rodeo. The festivities start Thursday, May 14 at the Payson Event Center with the Cactus Series Women’s Rodeo and continue Friday and Saturday night with the rodeo and Saturday morning with the rodeo parade on Main Street. The Payson Event Center performances are at 7 p.m., with the gates opening at 5 p.m.; the parade starts at 9 a.m.

Payson and the Rim Country are kicking off summer with a celebration of the region’s Old West heritage.

The 2009 Gary Hardt Memorial Spring Rodeo is ushering the season at the Payson Event Center.

The first show is the Cactus Series Women’s Rodeo at 7 p.m., Thursday, May 14, with gates opening at 5 p.m. Admission is a can of food for the Payson Senior Center.

The rodeo has two performances at 7 p.m., Friday, May 15 and Saturday, May 16. Gates open at 5 p.m.

Tickets are $12 for adults, 13 to 64; $10 for seniors, 65 and older; and $8 for children ages 8 to 12; children 7 and under will be admitted free of charge.

Tickets are available at the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, all area Circle K stores and the Payson Roundup newspaper.

Once again, the Payson Pro Rodeo Committee is dedicating a performance to the Wrangler Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign to raise funds for breast cancer awareness and research. The Friday, May 16 show will be the Tough Enough to Wear Pink performance. For every competing cowboy wearing pink, a $3 donation will be made to breast cancer support and for everyone in the audience wearing pink, a $1 donation will be made.

About 250 contestants are expected for the rodeo. The stock contractor for the 2009 Gary Hardt Memorial Spring Rodeo is Salt River Rodeo, owned and operated by Skip Beeler and featuring some of the top bulls in competition this season. Announcers will be Reed Flake and Rob Schmidt. Jeff Garner is the specialty act.

The annual Main Event Parade on Payson’s historic Main Street starts at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 17 at Green Valley Park and goes east on Main to Westerly.

This year there will be a $25 prize for the winner of each of the eight categories. The categories will be: Walking, Individual or Group; Motorized Vehicle, Individual or Group; Manual Powered Vehicle, Individual or Group; Floats, Individual or Group; Floats, Corporate/Business; Horses, Individual or Group Mounted; Horses, Individual or Group Leading/Driving; Other Animals, Individual or Group.

There will be a $50 prize presented for Best Overall Judges’ Choice for the entry that best exemplifies the spirit of the May Rodeo Doin’s Spring Parade.

In addition to raising funds for breast cancer research and awareness, the funds from the Payson Pro Rodeo Committee’s Gary Hardt Memorial Spring Rodeo are used for scholarships to graduating seniors. The committee will give five $1,500 scholarships and a $2,000 Jim Barrett Memorial award.

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