Come out to the Payson Event Center tonight, 5 p.m., Friday, Aug. 19 or tomorrow afternoon or evening, 11 a.m. or 5 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 20 for the World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo. Shows start at 7 p.m., Friday; 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., Saturday.
In addition to all the great action in the arena, the center will have numerous vendors, plus extra entertainment is planned.
Kevin Higley is the specialty act for the August Rodeo.
Higley has been clowning around for over 40 years. He received his Pro card 35 years ago, and has been entertaining crowds all over the northwest. He has worked rodeos from the Canadian border to the Mexico border and also in Hawaii.
The first part of his career Higley fought bulls and did comedy. He was respected by the bullriders enough as a bullfighter to be voted to protect them at the Wilderness Circuit Finals for six years straight.
Then as things go, years slowed him down, and he decided to make a move to just entertaining and be a barrelman. It was a good move, he was called once again to be the barrelman at 18 Circuit Finals Rodeos, including Wilderness, Columbia, Montana and Mountain States he also was a two-time Dodge National Finals Barrelman.
Higley has a lot of fun and enthusiasm in the acts he performs and is always trying to come up with something new, whether it is on the spot or year after year. He said that is what keeps him going back to some places for over 20 years.
“The things I like to sell most is — if you hire me you get me and my enthusiasm for the whole rodeo,” he said.
His acts include Hollywood Tex and John; World’s Funniest Magic Sonic Wash; White Lightning — Newest Compact Car; Dipstick the barrel racing dog; and many filler acts.
Higley’s interests are his family and he believes rodeo is truly a family sport and entertainment, He has young bulls he raises to be sold to contractors, helps out with high school and college programs in his area. He also owns and operates Circle H. Construction Inc. where he builds custom homes.
Higley lives in Hooper, Utah with his wife Tammy. They have four boys, three daughters-in-law and 10 grandchildren.
Immediately after the rodeo on Friday and Saturday nights, the Official Payson Pro Rodeo Boots and Bling Dance is at the Payson Event Center with Western Fusion, free admission for ticket-holders, $5 for others. Anyone under 21 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
And don’t forget the fun at the Kiwanis Rodeo Parade, which starts at 9 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 20 at Green Valley Park and travels east on Old Main to Sawmill Crossing.
Professional rodeo action consists of two types of competitions — roughstock events and timed events — and an all-around cowboy crown.
• Bareback Riding
• Saddle Bronc Riding
• Bull Riding
A contestant’s score is equally dependent upon his performance and the animal’s performance. To earn a qualifying score, the cowboy, while using only one hand, must stay aboard a bucking horse or bull for eight seconds. If the rider touches the animal, himself or any of his equipment with his free hand, he is disqualified.
In saddle bronc and bareback riding, a cowboy must “mark out” his horse; that is, he must exit the chute with his spurs set above the horse’s shoulders and hold them there until the horse’s front feet hit the ground after the initial jump out of the chute. Failing to do so results in disqualification.
During the regular season, two judges each score a cowboy’s qualified ride by awarding 0 to 25 points for the rider’s performance and 0 to 25 points for the animal’s effort. The judges’ scores are then combined to determine the contestant’s score. A perfect score is 100 points.
• Barrel Racing
• Steer Roping
• Steer Wrestling
• Team Roping
• Tie-down Roping
Cowboys and cowgirls at “the other end of the arena” compete against the clock, as well as against each other. A contestant’s goal is to post the fastest time in his or her event. In steer wrestling and the roping events, calves and steers are allowed a head start.
The competitor, on horseback, starts in a three-sided fenced area called a box. The fourth side opens into the arena.
A rope barrier is stretched across that opening and is tied to the calf or steer with a breakaway loop. Once the calf or steer reaches the head-start point — predetermined by the size of the arena — the barrier is automatically released. If a cowboy breaks that barrier, a 10-second penalty is added.