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HISTORY OF THE PAYSON RODEO

Payson has always been known as a rough and tumble town.  Up until the early 1960's, it was super hard to get to Payson due to its geographical position in the state of Arizona.  This meant that people who lived here had to find ways to entertain themselves.  In the early years, many of the local ranches would get together to demonstrate their cowhand skills and show off their horses. Horse races were a favorite event at the early rodeos. Family's loved this time of year, it rivaled Christmas because everyone would return home for the "August Doins" and the great celebration that would ensue. 

 

The Gary Hardt Memorial Rodeo came along many years after and has become a favorite in the spring-time.  

 

Read more about the World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo and the Gary Hardt Memorial Rodeo below.

Many consider Payson, Arizona as the "Birthplace of the Modern Day Rodeo."  Learn about the traditions, events and activities that were created to make this event more popular than Christmas in Rim Country.

World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo

Gary Hardt was a well-known roper and Bull Rider. He was recognized throughout the Southwest for his bull riding and roping talents. Every spring this rodeo represents his memory and love for rodeo.

Gary Hardt Memorial Spring Rodeo