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Prescott Frontier Days rodeo opens Tuesday with 665 total contestants expected

Chauncey Kirby of New River, Arizona, rides bareback horse Katy Perry during the final performance of the 2015 Prescott Frontier Days rodeo at the Prescott Rodeo Grounds.
Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier, file

Chauncey Kirby of New River, Arizona, rides bareback horse Katy Perry during the final performance of the 2015 Prescott Frontier Days rodeo at the Prescott Rodeo Grounds.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first part of a two-part preview on the 2016 Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo.

2016 Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo

Tuesday, June 28, through Monday, July 4, at the Prescott Rodeo Grounds (840 Rodeo Drive)

TUESDAY, JUNE 28

Performance No. 1, 7:30 p.m.

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 29

Performance No. 2, 7:30 p.m.

THURSDAY, JUNE 30

Performance No. 3, 7:30 p.m.

FRIDAY, JULY 1

Performance No. 4, 7:30 p.m.

SATURDAY, JULY 2

Performance No. 5, 1:30 p.m.

Performance No. 6, 7:30 p.m.

SUNDAY, JULY 3

Performance No. 7, 7:30 p.m.

MONDAY, JULY 4

Performance No. 8, 1:30 p.m.

PRESCOTT – The Prescott Frontier Days, the “World’s Oldest Rodeo,” returns for its 129th annual running Tuesday, June 28, through Monday, July 4, with 665 pro contestants entered, about 100 more than last year.

All eight performances will take place at the Prescott Rodeo Grounds, 840 Rodeo Drive off Miller Valley Road. The rodeo gets underway at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday (see complete schedule accompanying this story).

A member of the Wrangler Million Dollar Silver Tour, Prescott Frontier Days’ rough-stock and timed events draw many of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s (PRCA) finest competitors – partly because of the rodeo’s large purse ($260,000 in 2016) and partly because it’s so steeped in tradition. The Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo began in 1888.

Prescott Frontier Days General Manager J.C. Trujillo said from his Rodeo Grounds office on June 22 that rodeo officials are pleased to have recently signed a fresh long-term lease with the City of Prescott on the historic Rodeo Grounds property.

“We’re really excited about this new lease – to be here in generations to come,” added Trujillo, crediting Prescott Frontier Days President Joe Butner for a “great job” in negotiating the lease. “It has been one of my [long-term] goals to secure it.”

What follows is a listing of the standout contestants scheduled in the rough-stock events at the rodeo this coming week. In Tuesday’s Courier Sports section, look for a preview of the competitors in the timed events.

BAREBACK RIDING

In the first performance on Tuesday, current PRCA world No. 7-ranked Winn Ratliff of Leesville, Louisiana, and No. 11 Luke Creasy of Denton, Texas, are the likely bareback riding headliners.

On Wednesday, world No. 30 Casey Colletti, a past National Finals Rodeo (NFR) qualifier from Pueblo, Colorado, should be here.

On Friday, the fourth performance, No. 47 Zack Brown of Red Bluff, California, and Chauncey Kirby of Phoenix are ones to watch. Guy Murphy, a longtime veteran from Black Hat, New Mexico, is up on the Saturday matinee performance at 1:30.

Then, on Sunday night, PRCA world No. 2-ranked Orin Larson of Inglis, Manitoba, Canada, should stride into town.

“In the bareback riding, just about every top contender is here,” Trujillo said.

BULL RIDING

PRCA world No. 22-ranked bull rider Jordan Spears of Redding, California, a past NFR qualifier, should take to the chutes during the first performance on Tuesday night. On his heels Wednesday evening will likely be 15-year pro Shawn Proctor of Tooele, Utah.

Others scheduled to appear throughout the week include: PRCA world No. 9-ranked Scottie Knapp of Albuquerque, New Mexico, who’s among the top contestants on the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) circuit; Ramon Curley of St. Michaels, west of Window Rock; world No. 2 Joe Frost and Josh Frost of Randlett, Utah (Saturday night); and 13-year veteran Camo Mullins of Buckeye (July 4).

SADDLE BRONC RIDING

On Tuesday, PRCA world No. 34-ranked Cooper DeWitt of Rio Rico should lead the pack of saddle bronc riders into the chutes.

During the second performance on Wednesday, past NFR qualifier Tyler Currington of Hastings, Nebraska, and current world No. 12 and past world’s champion Taos Muncy of Corona, New Mexico, are expected to ride. No. 24 Zeke Thurston of Big Valley, Alberta, Canada, is also on the list.

On Thursday night, there should be a rare treat when PRCA world No. 2-ranked CoBurn Bradshaw of Beaver, Utah, and Alex, Jake, Jesse, Cody, Rusty, Ryder and Spencer Wright of Milford, Utah, ride here.

Two of the Wrights, Rusty (No. 5) and Jake (No. 6), are presently in the PRCA world standings’ Top 10. Cody (No. 22), Ryder (No. 32), Jesse (No. 38) and Alex (No. 31) are among the Top 40.

Now that’s incredible!

On Friday, Jake Salcito of Skull Valley and seven-time NFR qualifier and current No. 14-ranked Heith DeMoss of Heflin, Louisiana, are scheduled.

On Saturday, Jesse Bail of Camp Crook, South Dakota, and Darrell Triplett of Waterflow, New Mexico, are slated to appear in the afternoon and evening, respectively, followed by No. 28 Cody DeMoss of Heflin, Louisiana, on Sunday night, and No. 15 Ben Londo of San Luis Obispo, California, on July 4.

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