Lawton Champie on Fire Bug Fits in 1926. Champie won many events and the All-around Cowboy frequently between 1924-1944. Photo courtesy Sharlot Hall Museum
Hailed as the "World's Oldest Rodeo," the event
celebrates the cowboy heritage of Arizona and the West. The first
rodeo, held in Prescott during the Fourth of July celebration in
1888, was initially called a "Cowboy Tournament"; admission was
charged to help pay for prizes and meet other expenses. Early
cowboy contests were bronc riding, steer roping, and cow horse
racing. Attendance at that first rodeo was probably around 2,000.
Through the years, the crowds have increased dramatically until, in
1999, 20,000 - 30,000 spectators viewed eight performances. The
number of contests has increased from 12 the first year of the
Prescott Rodeo to over 500 today, and cowboys compete for prizes of
over $177,000. Since 1913, the rodeo has been held on the Yavapai
Over the last century, rodeo events have been added
and dropped. Today's Prescott Rodeo includes eight popular events:
wild horse racing, calf roping, saddle bronc riding, steer
wrestling, bareback bronc riding, team roping, women's barrel
racing, and Brahman bull riding. A Prescott Rodeo Queen has been
selected since 1939. The year 2000 will mark the 112th anniversary
of that first rodeo.
Documentation consists of thirteen pages of text and
twelve black and white photographs of various sizes.
Originally submitted by: John McCain, Senator.
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.