PAYSON — Payson, Arizona is where rodeo began. Known since its inception in 1884 as “August Doin’s”, the Annual World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo is a world famous event that will celebrate its 133rd consecutive year in 2017 on August 18 and 19. The first rodeos in Payson provided local ranchers and cowhands a chance to get together and compare their roping skills and ranching skills during the annual “down time” before the big fall roundup. There were only a couple of events in those early rodeos, but it was not long before cowboys from all over the state and beyond were showing up to compete in new events like bronc busting, bull riding, and steer roping.
Early Payson rodeos weren’t held in fancy arenas. In fact, the original venue was a meadow near the intersection of Main Street and Highway 87/The Beeline. Wagons and later autos created barriers to form the ‘arena’. This year’s activities will feature everything from beautiful rodeo royalty to the large shiners participation in the annual rodeo parade.
Named the country’s Best Small Rodeo (according to the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, which sanctions the event and recently named as the Official Best Small Town PRCA Rodeo in the West by True West Magazine, it continues to attract the best of the best from all over the world to compete for substantial prize money.
Rodeo performances start at 7:00 PM Friday and Saturday night and at 1:00 PM Saturday afternoon. Gates open 2 hours prior to the performances. Friday is the Tough Enough to Wear Pink night that helps fund dollars for local breast cancer support groups in conjunction with Wrangler’s Susan B. Komen program. Saturday evening is the Patriot Performance that honors our returning, fallen and wounded veterans, with a special tribute during the rodeo featuring the US Marine Mounted Color Guard. Tickets are available online at HYPERLINK “http://www.paysonprorodeo.com” www.paysonrodeo.com. Admission is $18 for adults, $16 for seniors 65+, $10 for kids 8-12, free for children 7 and under, as well as any active military. Tickets will also be available at the gate.
The rodeo festivities include the Rodeo Parade. It will be held on August 19, starting at 9:00 AM, on Historic Main Street in Payson, Arizona. The Parade is sponsored by The Rim Country Kiwanis of Zane Gray Country. It will include the US Marine Mounted Color Guard, clowns, rodeo queens and their courts, Payson High School Band, local floats, riders, first responder teams and many other great entries from all over Arizona. Join in the fun when real cowboys and cowgirls strut their stuff, along with floats, cars, tractors, team bands and units of the El Zaribah Shriners. The parade will go east from Green Valley Park to Sawmill Crossing. Announcers along the parade route will keep you posted on the coming entries, and provide music for your entertainment. So, bring your “mountain” chair, water, and the kids, and enjoy a great morning with some fabulous entertainment, antique cars, clowns, horses, and help Rim Country celebrate The World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo. For parade applications, please go to the Chamber or to HYPERLINK “http://www.rimcountrychamber.com/” www.rimcountrychamber.com . Applications are due by August 1st.
Adding to the fun on Friday and Saturday night you can kick up your heels at the Payson Pro Rodeo after party and dance at the Payson Rodeo Grounds. The band will begin playing at 9 PM each night and there is no cover charge for rodeo ticket holders and families are welcome. Cover charge is only $5.00 if you did not attend the rodeo, all are welcome.