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Round-Up Some Fun in Arizona: The World’s Longest Continuous Rodeo

payson rodeo zuni rv park
Follow the herd to Payson, Arizona to experience roping contests, bull riding, and some good old-fashioned “clowning around” as real-life cowboys round up abundant fun at the Payson Rodeo Grounds. If you’re visiting Kingman and the Zuni Village and RV Park this August and want to experience a day trip with a truly western flair, take a drive to Payson, Arizona and witness the pulse-pounding action of the world’s longest continuous rodeo. Complete with championship bull riding, a festive parade, and the unique sport of “mutton bustin’,” the Payson Rodeo offers visitors an exciting way to bring live western culture into your trip. So, grab the kids, don your Stetson, and head on over to the Payson Rodeo.

Getting There

“Steer” yourself toward the Payson Rodeo by following I-40 and US 93 S for 259 miles. The trip takes about four hours, making it an easy drive. Expect to spend somewhere between $30-60 for fuel. If you’re looking for a great halfway point along the route to stretch your legs and grab some grub, Parks, Arizona is a wonderful choice.

Once you’ve arrived at the rodeo grounds at the Payson Event Center, limited parking is available for $10 per vehicle when entering. Do note, only cash is accepted for parking. Handicap parking and drop-off are available as well. Attendants will be on hand to direct you. If the Payson Event Center lot become full, don’t worry. Ample parking is available at the casino, which is just across the highway. 

The Best Small Town Rodeo (and Some Low-Down on the Hoe-Downs)

 The “best small town rodeo” has proudly taken place every August for the past 140 years. This year the fun kicks off on Saturday, August 12 when visitors can enjoy some finger-lickin’ Rim Country BBQ from 1PM-4PM. Mix and mingle with some cowboys and cowgirls at the Chamber Mixer on Wednesday, August 16 at the Payson Event Center from 5PM-9PM. Don’t be late, ‘cause the dinner bell rings at 5:30!

Get ready for a whole “barrel” of fun and support a great cause on Wednesday, August 17 when the ladies show you how it’s done in the Women’s Cactus Series Barrel Racing. Bring one (1) can of food for entry when gates open at 5PM and watch these skilled riders manipulate their horses from the starting line, around three barrels, and back again.

For some Friday night fun, the “buck” stops here! Watch cowboys ride bucking broncos at the performance at 7PM on Friday, August 18 and support breast cancer awareness. Then kick up your boots at the Boots & Bling Dance which is free with your rodeo ticket, or available for a $5 cover charge.

Bringing the whole family? Don’t miss the Family Day Matinee with giveaways on Saturday August 19.  The arena opens at 11AM, and the performance “kicks” off at 1PM. Can’t make the matinee? Don’t be blue…be red, white, and blue with the special patriot-themed performance at 7PM! Active military with a valid ID will receive free general admission tickets. And if you didn’t get enough boot scootin’ boogie on Friday night, swing on over for another Boots and Bling Dance, free for rodeo attendees.

Rodeo Event Round-Up

Beyond the special events the Payson Rodeo has scheduled, visitors can count on seeing all the thrills and chills you’ve come to expect from a good, old-fashioned rodeo. First, it’s eight seconds of mayhem as cowboys do their best to hang on to their ride in the rodeo’s roughstack events—horse and bull riding. Then watch the timed events where contestants compete individually and in teams, racing against the clock in steer wrestling, breakaway roping, bareback riding, barrel racing, and more! 

Payson Rodeo Pricing

Tickets for Payson Rodeo are free for children seven and under. General Admission tickets in Sections A-E and G cost $10.00 for children ages 8-12 and $25.00 for adults ages 13 and up. Tickets in Sections 1-3 are priced at $35.00 for adults. Be sure to take advantage of the $1.00 discount off your ticket when you share it on Facebook! 


Can I bring a purse or bag into the Payson Event Center?

The Payson Event Center has recently instituted a clear bag policy. Visitors may enter the arena with clear, non-backpack style bags, not to exceed 12”X6”X12”. Also allowed are 12”x12” clear gallon zip bags and small wallet clutches or purses not exceeding 4.5×8.5”. The only exception to these rules are diaper bags and medical necessities. All bags are subject to search. 

Can I bring a cooler into the Payson Event Center?

No coolers are allowed in the Payson Event center, but there will be plenty of great food and beverage vendors on hand to wrangle any hunger pangs you might have! 

Can I bring my dog?

Only ADA service animals are allowed into the arena.

So, saddle-up, partners, and get on down to Payson where you’ll round-up a whole lot of fun and excitement for the whole family at the Payson Rodeo. You’ll see bucking broncos, burly bulls, barrel racing and more. Don’t miss the opening night BBQ and kick up your heels at one of the dances. Take advantage of the special events and soak in a heaping helping of western culture at the world’s oldest continuous rodeo just a day trip away from Kingman and the Zuni Village and RV Park.

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