The Arizona High School Rodeo Association and Arizona Junior High School Rodeo Association season will stampede into action this weekend at the Payson Event Center.
Action begins at 9 a.m. Saturday and continues until about 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. and resumes at 9 a.m. Sunday running through about 4 p.m.
Events include barrel racing, breakaway, bull riding, calf roping, team roping, saddle bronc riding and goat tying. Rodeo shooting has been added this season.
Payson hosts both the opening weekend and the high school state finals, set for June 11-15, 2014. Rodeos continue about once a month through May at locations throughout the state. The season’s top performers qualify for the state finals and the top cowboys and cowgirls there move onto the nationals.
About 400 high school and junior high students from around the state will converge on Payson to compete in this weekend’s event. That includes nine from the Payson area. That group features two-time High School Nationals qualifier Chelsie Stodghill, who is a senior at Payson High School. She’s entered in barrel racing, breakaway and team roping.
Other local competitors include Payson High seniors Trey Hale (saddle bronc riding) and Quinton Wells (team roping); PHS junior Matt Lowery (bull riding); PHS sophomores Brylee Hall (barrel racing and goat tying), Monty James (calf roping and team roping) and Bryce Stodghill (calf roping and team roping); and PHS freshman Denton Petersen (calf roping and team roping).
Representing Payson in the junior high division this weekend is Rim Country Middle School eighth-grader Bryndee Hall (barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, breakaway and ribbon roping), who qualified for the Junior High Nationals this summer.
In past years, only Payson hosted both the middle school and high school contests at the same time. This year, organizers have adopted that approach for each of the monthly events throughout the state.