It’s Time to Head North for the 140th Annual World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo!
A town known to have a rough and tumble side, Payson, Arizona, carries on the tradition of the long ago started “August Doins” (rodeo). It is now home to the Payson Pro Rodeo known as the World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo. The talented cowboys and cowgirls hit the dirt each year to continue adding to the legacy of the World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo. This year the best of rodeo happens August 17th, 18th, and 19th, making it the 140th year of rodeo magic and fun for the whole family in one small town known for the shows it puts on.
Payson is a town that wasn’t easily accessible until the 1960s, so people that made it there generally stayed. They had to find a way to entertain themselves, so rodeo was the answer. All thanks to the original rodeo organizers Abraham Henson Meadows, later known as “Arizona Charlie” Meadows, and John Collins Chilson, the first rodeo took place in 1884. Word was spread from ranch to ranch to meet up on the third weekend of August to complete at Mid-Town Pasture, located southwest of Highway 87 and old main, now the site of Sawmill Crossing. In the early years, contests ranged from horseracing, bronc riding, and ranch roping events, but there were also cock fights, greased pig contests, sack races, and foot races.
Now the rodeo hosts tie-down roping, team roping, saddle bronc riding, barrel racing, bareback riding, steer wrestling, bull riding, breakaway roping, and even mutton bustin’, which is always the crowd favorite. All of this is done to show off the best of the best, both the human and animal rodeo athletes. The livestock is provided by Salt River Rodeo, a company based in Arizona, which can proudly say that many of its animals have made it all the way to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
Get to the 140th Annual World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo early to participate in the Rodeo Week Kick-Off on Saturday, August 12th, to enjoy some great food by Rim Country BBQ and even better company. The big week gets underway with the Chamber Mixer on August 16th; the next day is when the action starts! The Women’s Cactus Series Barrel Racing kicks off on August 17th, with gates opening at 5 pm and the performance starting at 6 pm. Admission for this event is one can of food.
The rodeo performances kick up the arena dirt on August 18th, with the gates opening at 5 pm and the performance starting at 7 pm. This is the night to wear pink to show your support for breast cancer awareness. All proceeds from this performance benefit the local breast cancer awareness programs. Once you’ve had your fill of the action provided by the rodeo athletes, create some of your own at the Boots and Bling Dance. Western Fusion starts jamming after the last bull bucks, and it’s free for rodeo attendees.
Saturday hosts two performances, both of which are sure to rock your socks! Bring the whole family to the Coco-Cola Family Day, which includes giveaways! The gates open at 11 am, and the performance starts at 1 pm. Grab a drink and a bite to eat, then head back to the big show at 5 pm the same day. The performance starts at 7 pm, and it’s the last for this year’s longest-running ride, so you can’t miss it! Slide onto the dance floor after the end of that show and burn it up!
Get your tickets and head to the 140th Annual World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo in Payson, Arizona. Enjoy the cool air and the talent, and don’t forget to check out the history because there is a lot! A rodeo known as the oldest continuous rodeo in the world should know how to put on a show, and guess what? This one sure does!
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