Save the Date for the 139th World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo in Payson, Arizona!
Payson, Arizona is where rodeo began. Starting in 1884 the Annual World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo is a world-famous event that will celebrate its 139th consecutive year in 2022 on August 19 and 20.
The first rodeos in Payson provided local ranchers and cowhands a chance to get together and compare their roping 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 line Main Street to form the ‘arena’. This year’s activities will feature everything from beautiful rodeo royalty to the Shiner’s 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 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.
Payson Pro 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 raise funds for local breast cancer support groups. Saturday evening is the Patriot Performance that honors our returning, fallen, and wounded veterans, with a special tribute during the Payson Pro rodeo. Saturday afternoon is Family Day with prizes for kids. Tickets are available online at paysonprorodeo.com. Tickets will also be available at the gate, but some performances sell out early.
The rodeo festivities include the Rodeo Parade. It will be held on August 20, 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 includes clowns, rodeo queens, and their courts, the 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 along Main Street 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 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 official 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. The cover charge is only $5.00 if you did not attend the rodeo, all are welcome under 21 and must be accompanied by an adult. Come join the fun and experience the place where rodeo began over 139 years ago in Payson, Arizona’s Cool Mountain Town! For more information, please call 928-295-8109 or visit PaysonProRodeo.com.