This weekend’s 2012 Kenny Davis Southwest Indian Rodeo Association Regional Finals brought a big group of contestants to the Payson Event Center arena for a first-ever event town officials hope will become a regular fixture of summer.
The scores in the rodeo that drew Native American contestants from all over the country will determine who will participate in the 37th Annual Indian Finals Rodeo this November in Las Vegas.
Winners in Payson this weekend divided about $14,000 in prize money. Performances took place at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 25.
The Mazatzal Hotel and Casino of Payson sponsored the event.
The Indian Rodeo Association was founded just seven years ago, but draws on a long, proud tradition. Many tribes have long hosted informal community rodeos, often in a windswept expanse of desert where expert riders compete in a great variety of events. Tribes like the Navajo and the Apache have long treasured horses and riding. The community rodeos often inspired days of betting, socializing and connecting with friends and family. The tradition has produced some of the top rodeo competitors in the country.
The Saturday event here included both “Sudden Death” winners who earned belt buckles and the “Year End” winners, who will move onto the national finals.