Hope you’re rested up. This week is full of action to celebrate Rodeo in the Rim Country.
The fun and festivities for the 126th Annual World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo kick off Wednesday night, Aug. 18 with the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce and Chapman Auto Center Rodeo Mixer.
Held at Chapman, at the corner of the Beeline Highway and West Longhorn Road, the fun begins at 5:30 p.m. and continues until 7 p.m.
The mixer will provide an opportunity to meet the Pro Rodeo Jail Girls and buy a “get out of jail” button, with proceeds benefitting the Pro Rodeo Committee’s fund-raising efforts, which in turn are used to provide scholarships to graduating seniors and other help for students. Attendees can also have photos taken with the new portable jail/gallows.
Put on your western duds and plan on having a great time.
The following night, Thursday, Aug. 19, the Cactus Series — Ladies Barrel Racing program, plus breakaway and team roping, will be presented at the Payson Event Center. Bring a can of food for admission to help Payson food programs. The event center gates open at 5 p.m. and performances start at 6 p.m.
The Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association contests will be held Friday night, Saturday afternoon, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
Evening performances at the Payson Event Center are at 7 p.m., with the gates opening at 5 p.m.; afternoon performances, also at the event center are at 1 p.m., with gates opening at 11 a.m.
The performance Friday, Aug. 20 is the “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” show — for every cowboy competing in pink, $3 will be donated to breast cancer research and breast cancer support programs, for every member of the audience wearing pink, $1 will be donated. There will be pink items available for purchase, with the proceeds also being contributed to research and support for breast cancer.
The performance on Saturday night will feature a tribute to veterans with a patriotic performance, which will include the local honor guard, the Vietnam Veterans Legacy motorcycle group and members of the Payson Choral Society. This is a first-time Wrangler event for fallen and wounded active duty service personnel and veterans, explained coordinator John Landino, who is with both the Payson Pro Rodeo Committee and the Payson Choral Society. He said Wrangler is giving a portion of the proceeds from the sale of certain products to veterans organizations and the Saturday night show at the Payson rodeo will also be a fund-raiser for local veterans’ groups.
Sunday afternoon’s performance has been dedicated to families.
Guiding the audience through the action will be announcers Reed Flake and Rob Schmidt.
Flake was born in Snowflake, Ariz. and when he is not calling the action from inside the arena he is running his own ranch. He is a team roping contractor and is often seen around Arizona’s high country rodeos. His resume includes: Turquoise Circuit Finals announcer, three times; National Finals Rodeo Announcer, 11 times; Wrangler Divisional Finals announcer, two times; USTRC Events and Finals announcer, 15 years.
Schmidt is a former world champion bullfighter and a member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association and Professional Bull Riders Association.
Between Friday’s opening rodeo and Saturday afternoon, the annual Rodeo Parade will be held on historic West Main in Payson. The theme of the parade is “Ropin’ and Ridin’” and will feature lots of beautiful rodeo royalty, the APS clowns, classic cars, the Shriners and much more.
Sponsored by the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce and APS, the parade begins at 9 a.m. Saturday in Green Valley Park, at the far west end of Main, and heads east to Sawmill Crossing.
Also part of this year’s event is a rodeo dance both Friday and Saturday night at the historic Oxbow Saloon on Main Street. The dance will feature the band Rendezvous performing inside, plus another band outside on the patio. The dance music begins at 9 p.m., with doors open at 5 p.m.
The stock contractor for the 2010 World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo is Salt River Rodeo, featuring some of the top bulls in rodeo.
The tickets for the PRCA performances are $18 for those 13 to 64; $14 for those 65 and older; $10 for children ages 8 to 12; with those 7 and under admitted at no charge. Look for $2 off coupons available in the Payson Roundup and on selected Coca Cola and Canadian Club products.
Tickets are available at the Rim Country Chamber of Commerce, all Circle K stores in Payson, Bill Armstrong Pawn in Star Valley, the Payson Public Library and the Payson Roundup.