Two warring factions this weekend reached a proposed settlement in the fight over who will stage the World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo in Payson this summer.
Ruth Klaver, with the Pro-Rodeo Committee, said on Monday the two sides have reached an agreement that will give the Pro-Rodeo Committee the right to put on the August Doin's.
She said lawyers for both sides will release a statement before this week’s scheduled court hearing, but declined to provide details at press time on Monday.
The Payson Rodeo Preservation Alliance had filed a lawsuit disputing the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce’s sale of the rights to the rodeo to the Pro-Rodeo Committee — after a complicated, sometimes bitter, struggle last year over which faction the chamber would select to stage the rodeo.
The Pro-Rodeo Committee had managed the rodeo for most of the past 20 years, but last year the chamber instead awarded a contract to manage the big August tourist draw to the newly formed Rodeo Preservation Alliance.
The chamber’s contract with the Alliance gave that group the first right of refusal on this year’s rodeo. However, after a now-disputed sequence of events, the chamber sold the rights to the rodeo to the Committee for $20,000, after an exchange of correspondence with the Alliance that the chamber said amounted to a refusal to buy the rights.
However, as the Committee prepared to stage this summer’s rodeo, the Alliance filed a lawsuit that claimed the chamber had breeched the Alliance's contract giving it “first right of refusal.”
Reportedly, both sides met with a mediator and hammered out an agreement that will leave the Pro-Rodeo Committee in charge of the rodeo.