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Mon, Oct. 14

The birthplace of professional rodeo

Prescott Frontier Days World’s Oldest Rodeo Steer Wrestling --- Rusty Hamilton.<br>
The Daily Courier, file photo/Matt Hinshaw

Prescott Frontier Days World’s Oldest Rodeo Steer Wrestling --- Rusty Hamilton.<br> The Daily Courier, file photo/Matt Hinshaw

Prescott became the birthplace of professional rodeo on July 4, 1888, when a group of local merchants and businessmen organized the first formal "cowboy tournament," complete with cash prizes.

Cowboy Juan Leivas won the initial title at what is now called Prescott Frontier Days, the "World's Oldest Rodeo," and the popular contests have continued here annually ever since thanks to a committee of merchants that plan, promote and carry out the event.

Since the late 1800s, rodeo has gained in popularity among cowboys and ranchers across the United States, and today the sport has grown into a multi-million dollar enterprise.

Each summer, Prescott Frontier Days - a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) rodeo - plays host to a week of performances, typically in late June and early July, drawing some of the best cowboys and livestock in the business for roping and riding. Thousands of people visit the rodeo grounds off Fair Street to watch the event in the old grandstands.

This year, the Prescott rodeo rejoins the prestigious Wrangler ProRodeo Tour's Summer Series.

Competitors accrue points on the tour by attending this series of rodeos. The top finishers then earn a rank in the tour's standings and the series' winner receives a substantial cash payout.

While the rodeo is in the business of entertainment, Prescott Frontier Days has donated thousands of dollars from its ticket sales in past years to local charitable organizations and schools, among other groups.

For more information about the rodeo, call (928) 445-3103 or toll free at 1-800-358-1888. To buy tickets, call (928) 445-4320 or 866-407-6336, or log on to the Internet at www.worldsoldestrodeo.com.

Schedule of performances for the 2009 Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo:

• Monday, June 29 - Daily Courier Night, 7:30 p.m.

• Tuesday, June 30 - Outback Night, 7:30 p.m.

• Wednesday, July 1 - Country Bank Night, 7:30 p.m.

• Thursday, July 2 - Jack Daniels Night, 7:30 p.m.

• Friday, July 3 - Wrangler Night, 7:30 p.m.

• Saturday, July 4 - York Dodge Day, 1:30 p.m.

• Saturday, July 4 - Coors Night, 7:30 p.m.

• Sunday, July 5 - Coca-Cola Day, 1:30 p.m.

Other rodeo-based events (at Prescott Rodeo Grounds unless otherwise indicated):

• Saturday, May 30 - Prescott Frontier Days Golf Tournament at Antelope Hills Golf Course

• Friday to Sunday, June 19-21 - Chuck Sheppard Memorial Roping

• Monday, June 29 - Happy Hearts Rodeo for Exceptional Children

• Thursday, July 2 to Saturday, July 4: Rodeo Dances, at M&I Bank parking lot downtown

• Friday, July 3: Kiwanis Kiddie Parade, off Cortez and Goodwin streets

• Friday, July 3 to Sunday, July 5: Prescott Rodeo Days Fine Arts and Crafts Show, at the courthouse plaza

• Saturday, July 4 - Prescott Frontier Days Parade, 9 a.m. at the courthouse plaza

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