What started with a simple calf roping contest more than 120 years ago is now the World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo.
Payson’s rodeo began in 1884 and is now known as the August Doin’s and the World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo. The celebration will be held Friday, Aug. 19 through Sunday, Aug. 21.
Sanctioned by the Arizona Centennial Committee, this event is part of Arizona’s rich rodeo history, and activities will feature everything from beautiful rodeo royalty to the large Shrine participation in the rodeo parade, plus the nation’s only U.S. Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard.
Rodeo performances are scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. Sunday at the Payson Event Center. Gates open two hours prior to the performances.
Friday is Tough Enough to Wear Pink night, which raises funds for local breast cancer support groups in conjunction with Wrangler’s Susan B. Komen program. Saturday evening is the Patriot Performance, honoring returning, fallen and wounded veterans with a special tribute during the rodeo. Sunday is Family Day and includes chances to win some great prizes from Coca Cola.
Tickets are available at the gate or online at www.paysonrimcountry.com/augustdoins. Admission is $18 for adults, $16 for seniors 65+, and $10 for kids 8-12. Active duty military will be admitted at no charge.
The three-day rodeo festivities include the 2011 August Doin’s Rodeo Parade, themed “Western Leather and Lace.” It will be held at 9 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 20 on Historic Main Street in Payson.
The Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, Steve Coury Automotive Family, KMOG, Gila County Mounted Posse and Kiwanis of Zane Grey Country sponsor the parade.
It has more than 60 entries, according to John Stanton, executive director of the chamber. Among the participants are the famous APS clowns, rodeo queens and their courts, Ronald McDonald, the Payson High School Band, local floats, riders, and first responder teams.
The country’s only U.S. Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard will lead the parade, and will also be part of a special veterans tribute at the Saturday night performance of the rodeo.
The parade will go east from Green Valley Park to Sawmill Crossing. Announcers along the route will be Fred Carpenter at Community Presbyterian Church, Eddie Armer at the Senior Center and Michael Rose at Pine Country Animal Clinic.
Adding to the fun on Friday and Saturday night, you can kick up your heels at the Payson Pro Rodeo After Party and Dance at the Payson Event Center, home to the rodeo arena. The featured group, Western Fusion Band will begin playing at 9 p.m. each night and there is a $4 cover charge, which begins at 8 p.m. The dance will be held in the fenced area outside the arena.
The first rodeos in Payson provided local ranchers and cowhands a chance to get together and compare their roping skills during the annual “down time” before the big fall roundup. There were only a couple of events in those early rodeos, but it was not long before cowboys from all over the state and beyond were showing up to compete in new events like bronc busting, bull riding, steer roping and even horse and foot racing.
This year, there will be more than 170 contestants — including 50 women competing in barrel racing. Competitors are mostly from Arizona and New Mexico, but there are a couple traveling quite a distance to be part of the 127th World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo. One is coming from Montana and another is making his way here from Tennessee.
Look for details in the special publication about the 2011 Rodeo in today’s Payson Roundup. For more information, call (928) 474-9440 or go online to www.paysonrimcountry.com/augustdoins.