Everything You Need to Know About the World’s Oldest Rodeo: Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo
One of the most prestigious rodeos in the country is the World’s Oldest Rodeo, Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo, which is set to take the stage this Fourth of July!
One of the most anticipated rodeos of the summer is right around the corner, and Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo needs no introduction. Running June 28th- July 4th located at the Prescott Rodeo Grounds in Prescott, Arizona fans will not want to miss what the 8 thrilling performances have in store! Drawing in approximately 27,000 spectators for the rodeo each year, Prescott Frontier Days rodeo is celebrating its 135th year of rodeo. This rodeo has continued uninterrupted, never missing a year, since 1888.
There will be many food and retail vendors where spectators can begin the evening but by 7:30 you will want to be in your seats for rodeo time! Fans can expect to be greeted by the nostalgic voice of Randy Corley who has been the “voice of the World’s Oldest Rodeo” for 36 years! He will be joined by co-announcer James Horcasitas. Barrelman Cody Sosebee will be there, as well as specialty act John Payne, who will be there to mesmerize the crowd at halftime with his act.
Prescott Frontier Days Inc is a non-profit organization that thrives on the help of the community. Composed of hundreds of dedicated volunteers of all ages from the Prescott area they work tirelessly to ensure the rodeo is perfect for fans and competitors alike. Prescott Frontier Days®, Inc has also donated thousands of dollars back into the community including scholarship funds, 4-H, Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund, and many more.
History of Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo
Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo is full of history which will come as no surprise, being trademarked as the World’s Oldest Rodeo. July 4, 1888, is the day that started it all. Becoming the birthday of professional rodeo it was the first day of the “cowboy tournament” where people from the community gathered to compete in cowboy contests for offered cash prizes. These contests continued to grow for many years, now 135 years to be exact. Hiring Harry Vold to provide top-of-the-line stock in 1972, the Vold Rodeo company continues to provide some of the best stock available today attracting top competitors within the PRCA. In 2008 the rodeo was inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The first rodeo was organized by local business professionals and took place on July 4, 1888. The event provided the opportunity for local cowboys and ranchers to demonstrate their skills to the public. Participating winners were awarded cash prizes. Unlike today, the old-time events played out on a simple barren tract of land in Forbing Park. Designated areas were sectioned off with ropes to contain livestock and establish the perimeter of the arena.
By 1913, the Yavapai County Fair Association named the festivities Prescott Frontier Days. The term “rodeo” is Spanish for “roundup” and was not associated with Western activities until 1916. In order to attract larger crowds celebrity cowboys, which included Tom Mix and Will Rogers often attended the PRCA events.
John Payne the One-Arm Bandit
John Payne the One-Arm Bandit is a 15-time PRCA Specialty Act of the Year, a legend in the Western world and he is returning to the Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo 2023. In June 1973, the Oklahoma native was electrocuted by 7,200 volts, which led to the loss of his arm and his now infamous performance name. His one-of-a-kind act is a ‘Wild West Show Fit for a King’ and features not only horses but buffalo, cattle, mules, and zebras.
Broken Spoke Clydesdales
The Broken Spoke Clydesdales travel across the country participating in rodeo exhibitions, fairs, and tons of other fun events. Having been a staple of the Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo, they are excited to return for another year.
Rodeo Performances: Gates open two hours before each performance offering vendors for fans to shop, eat, and listen to live music. In addition to live performances, rodeo fans can also experience the rodeo in a new way this year. Fans can now purchase tickets to view the rodeo on a live stream from Mile High Middle School in Downtown Prescott. Catch all the details below!
- Performance #1 – Wednesday, June 28 – 7:30 PM
- Performance #2 – Thursday, June 29 – 7:30 PM
- Performance #3 – Friday, June 30 – 7:30 PM
- Performance #4 – Saturday, July 1 – 1:30 PM
- Performance #5 – Saturday, July 1 – 7:30 PM
- Performance #6 – Sunday, July 2 – 7:30 PM
- Performance #7 – Monday, July 3 – 7:30 PM
- Performance #8 – Tuesday, July 4 – 1:30 PM
Rodeo Dance: Get ready to dance the night away on June 29, 30, and July 1 from 8:00 PM to 1:00 AM at the Depot Marketplace in the BMO Harris Bank parking lot. With a live band each night, there will be no shortage of entertainment!
Prescott Rodeo Parade: The Prescott Frontier Days World’s Oldest Rodeo proudly presents the 136th Annual Rodeo Parade, held annually in downtown Prescott over the 4th of July weekend! The Rodeo Parade is a wonderful tradition that celebrates rich western history, right in downtown Prescott, Arizona.
Learn more about the event and tickets at WorldsOldestRodeo.com.
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