There is something different about the 2013 edition of the Gary Hardt Memorial Spring Rodeo — actually there are several new features.
To start, there is the start of the festivities. In the past, the Thursday night program has been devoted to the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association’s Cactus Series events. This year, it’s a local contest. The Payson Rodeo Committee is calling it Bulls, Broncs and Bling.
Rim Country residents and others were invited to sign up for a variety of events that start at 6 p.m., Thursday, May 16 at the Payson Event Center. There will be something for everyone, from the littlest cowboys and cowgirls willing to bust a mutton to daring adults trying their hand at bull riding, saddle bronc riding, team roping, barrel racing and more.
An especially fun feature has been added for Saturday — a 1800s Old West Costume Contest. So, even though there is no formal parade with the spring rodeo, brave and fun-loving fans will be parading around in some great costumes at the Saturday afternoon performance of the rodeo.
A draft horse show including draft horse barrel racing (you know those will have to be some big barrels) is another new feature at the spring rodeo. There will be a show at 5 p.m., Friday, May 17 and at 1 p.m., Saturday, May 18.
The Cowgirl Historical Foundation will also be performing. The group will perform at both the Friday night and Saturday afternoon rodeos.
The Friday night show is the annual “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” event. The rodeo committee will contribute funds to breast cancer support and research efforts for every contestant and audience member wearing pink.
Saturday’s show is the Patriot Performance, to honor returning, wounded and fallen veterans. Red, white and blue attire is encouraged. All active duty armed forces members will be admitted free of charge.
The shows Friday night and Saturday afternoon will both feature the traditional rodeo competitions: bareback riding, barrel racing, bull riding, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, tie-down and team roping.
Adults, 13 to 64 - $14; senior, 65+ - $12; children, 8 to 12 - $10; 7 and under free. Tickets are available at the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, all area Circle Ks, Bob’s Western Wear, Bill Armstrong Jewelry & Pawn in Star Valley, and the Payson Public Library ($2 off coupons can be found in the Payson Roundup).
Guests can participate in a 50-50 drawing and several raffles at the rodeo performances.