Best Businesses Honored


He’s hosted the rodeo in Rim Country for the last 30 years, heading up the Payson Rodeo Committee and acting as rodeo boss for both the Gary Hardt Memorial Spring Rodeo in May and the World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo in August.

And under his leadership, the August Doin’s was named “Best Small Town Rodeo in America.” His efforts have brought in countless tourism dollars and kept the area’s best known and longest standing tradition of rodeo alive.

“That is why when you spell rodeo you spell it A-R-M-S-T-R-O-N-G,” said John Landino at the 2013 Rim Country Business Awards where Armstrong received the Lifetime Achievement Award, spurring a standing ovation from business leaders.


Rodeo boss Bill Armstrong (right) jokes with Star Valley Mayor Ronnie McDaniel after receiving a lifetime achievement award.

Armstrong accepted the award with a bashful smile and a quiet thanks.

Armstrong was among a handful of individuals and businesses honored for their hard work and contributions to the region at the annual event.

Other winners of the annual awards for Rim Country’s best businesses include the Merritt Center, Black and Tan Tales, Rim Country Health and Apartments, Judy Smith, Payson Tourism Director Cameron Davis and Fossil Creek Creamery owners John and Joyce Bittner.

Besides heading up the rodeo, Armstrong is best known for running a jewelry and pawn shop in Star Valley.

After moving to Star Valley in 1972, Armstrong owned and operated a Texaco service station near the intersection of the Beeline Highway and Highway 260. He later opened Armstrong’s Automotive east of town, but sold it, to retire.

Only a few months into his retirement, he decided to open the pawn shop to keep busy, even though he still gives hundreds of hours to organizing the rodeos.

Under his guidance, the Payson Pro Rodeo Committee has continued its mission of helping local youth, establishing scholarship funds.

Another person honored Tuesday, specifically for community service, was Judy Smith, who has donated her time for the past 19 years to the Tonto Community Concert Association and the Rim Country Chamber of Commerce.

Landino said she is among the first people to volunteer when a need arises.

Also honored for its community work was the Merritt Center, a therapeutic retreat for personal growth, which received the Non-Profit Business of the Year award.

Under the guidance of founder Betty Merritt, the center offers classes for couples, individuals and combat veterans. The free retreat for veterans focuses on identifying PTSD triggers, releasing the experiences of war and creating the dream of a new life.

Small Business of the Year went to Black and Tan Tales craft store, and Rim Country Health and Apartments took the Large Business of the Year award.

Cameron Davis, town tourism director, won the James Young Award for Business Person of the Year. Davis is credited for bringing 100 events to town and “influencing businesses the most this year.”

And finally, John and Joyce Bittner of Fossil Creek Creamery received the Pat Willis Award for Business Excellence. The award recognizes creativity in operating a business, high standards of ethics and customer service and outstanding community involvement.

To view a photo gallery of the 2013 Rim Country Business Awards, see


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.