The 125th annual World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo takes place in Payson from Friday through Sunday. This Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association-sanctioned rodeo continues the tradition of cowboys, horses and cranky bulls.
In the beginning, during the 1800s, Payson was mostly a flat, grassy spot where cowboys could gather up their scattered, near-wild herds during the fall roundups and prepare to drive them down to Phoenix or to the railroad line in Winslow.
Naturally enough, the cowboys spent a lot of time boasting and then staging impromptu contests to both establish bragging rights and win enough money to have some fun during their time off. So began the August Doin’s, and 125 years later we celebrate the World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo.
This rodeo gets you “up close and personal” with the cowboys, the livestock and the traditions of rodeo. There are a huge variety of vendors selling food and cowboy clothing, hats and western items. The “mutton bustin’” for kids gives a child the chance to ride a real sheep, with the crowd going wild.
The annual rodeo parade will return to its roots and be held on Payson’s historic Main Street, beginning at Green Valley Park and ending at Sawmill Crossing. Phoenix Suns broadcaster Al McCoy will be the main announcer for the parade. Assistant coach Dan Majerle and broadcaster and Tim Kempton, both former Suns players, will be special ambassadors for this year’s parade.
The color pink is not something you would associate with the tough sport of rodeo, however, breast cancer has touched the lives of many rodeo families. The 125th annual World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo has designated the 7 p.m. performance on Friday as the “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” event. Anyone wearing pink to the performance will generate a $1 donation to Payson’s Healthy Woman Program. Pink items will be on sale to benefit breast cancer research and the Healthy Woman Program.
The rodeo parade will feature riders, floats, classic cars, tractors, bands, cowboys, cowgirls and lots of surprises. The parade will end at the lush, cool, relaxing Green Valley Park, where you can sit by the lakes, do a little fishing or just stroll with the geese and ducks. While at the park you can swing by the Zane Grey Museum and take the historical tour of this Arizona homesteader and poet’s home, the inspiration for several cowboy tales of the Old West.
All of this is less than a tank of gas away. Leave from the Valley by taking state Route 87 out of town and go join in the entertainment and cowboy spirit at the cool mountain town of Payson.
• “Tough Enough To Wear Pink” benefit for breast cancer research
• First performance, World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo, 7 p.m. (gates open at 5 p.m.)
• Second performance, World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo, 1 p.m. (gates open at 11 a.m.)
• Third performance, World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo, 7 p.m. (gates open at 5 p.m.)
• Fourth performance, World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo, 1 p.m. (gates open at 11 a.m.)
Preferred seating: $22 online
Adults: $14.50 online, $18 at the gate
Seniors: $12 at the gate
Children (ages 5-12): $7 at the gate
Under 5: Free
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