The long tradition of rodeo in the Rim Country continued this past weekend with hundreds of young rodeo athletes.
The Arizona High School Rodeo Association State Finals took place at the Payson Event Center.
Looking west at the stoplight by the Mazatzal Hotel & Casino there were horse trailers, pickups and recreational vehicles as far as the eye could see and clouds of dust rising from the event center arena.
The state’s best young rodeo athletes opened their 2012-2013 season in Payson in September and concluded it with their state finals June 12-15.
The purpose of the Arizona High School Rodeo Association is to promote high school rodeo on a statewide scale and work toward bringing statewide recognition to the sport of rodeo. It strives to promote professional conduct and good sportsmanship at various rodeo events.
Members compete in bareback and saddle bronc riding, bull riding, steer wrestling, goat tying, tie-down and breakaway calf roping, barrel racing, pole bending, cutting and team roping. The cowboy or cowgirl and the animals used in the rodeo compete against themselves and the clock, as much as they compete against each other.
Another aspect of the Arizona High School Rodeo Association state finals is a shooting event. The 22 long rifle shooting event was at the Tonto Rim Sporting Association Jim Jones Shooting Range June 12 and the trap shooting event was at Bird Busters of Payson Trap and Skeet Club located in Rye.
The finals included a queen contest; jackpot calf roping and breakaway for cash prizes; and the all-important points competition.
The young people also enjoyed a “Cowboy Prom” at the Mazatzal Hotel & Casino Event Center as well as a closing dinner and awards presentation.
Contestants representing Rim Country included Bryce Stodghill and Chelsie Stodghill, both of Pine, Monty James and Quinton Wells, both of Payson.
To purchase pictures from this event click here High School Rodeo