There will be cowboys, cowgirls, a rodeo queen and some cantankerous rough stock in Williams over the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend. Williams will play host to the Ken McDaniel Memorial Bares, Broncs and Bulls Rough Stock Rodeo during the Rendezvous Days festivities, with performances at the Bob Dean Rodeo Grounds beginning at 6 p.m. May 26-27. A rodeo dance is scheduled following the rodeo at the Sultana Bar in downtown Williams.
Tickets for the rodeo are available at Olsen's Grain, the offices of the Williams-Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce and the Sultana Bar. Costs are $8 in advance and $10 at the gate at the time of the event. Children five and under get in free.
Producers Terri and Billy Beeson coordinated the event with the Williams-Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce to coincide with the upcoming Rendezvous Days event. Terri Beeson is a Williams native who recently returned to the area with her husband after spending a number of years in Chino Valley. Beeson lived in Williams until she was 14. The rodeo is named for her grandfather, Ken McDaniel. McDaniel, Beeson said, was the first rural mail carrier in the Williams area.
When McDaniel passed away in 2004, Beeson decided to turn her grief into something positive by creating the memorial rodeo.
"This is our fourth year, but our first year in Williams," said Beeson. "We were a full rodeo in Chino Valley. Last year I had 407 contestants, but because we're moving it to Williams and we're taking out all the timed events, we'll probably get 100 bull riders and 100 other rough stock riders. There will probably be about 200 contestants. Sierra Tuff, the horse that (country singer) Tim McGraw rode in his video, she'll be here."
Beeson said rodeos typically last a little over two hours, though it varies depending on injuries and other unforeseeable occurrences.
"There's bareback riding, saddle bronc riding and bull riding. There's an open bull riding that the pros do and then there's novice (bull riding). This year we're bringing ranch saddle bronc riding too. They use ranch saddles and they ride a bucking horse," said Beeson, adding that she has received nothing but positive feedback since she moved back to the Williams area.
"Everyone here has just been so nice and I appreciate it," Beeson said.
Sponsorships are still available for the upcoming rodeo, according to Beeson.
For more information on the Ken McDaniel Bares, Broncs and Bulls Rough Stock Rodeo, or for sponsorship questions, contact Beeson at (928) 635-2519. Buckle sponsors cost $300.
Other plans for this year's annual Rendezvous Days event include a 4-H Barbecue at the Williams Recreation Center, a teepee and tomahawk throw put on by the Mogollon Rim Free Trappers at the Williams Visitors' Center, a carnival at Glassburn Park and youth activities at the Williams Recreation Center. Youth activities will include a rock-climbing wall, a DJ, Berry-Go-Round, Gyro Ride and a paintball target range. Craft and food vendors will also be on hand for the event. The annual Rendezvous Days parade will kick off the Memorial Day Weekend beginning at 10 a.m. in the downtown area.
Sponsorship opportunities are also available for Rendezvous Days through the Williams-Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce. Contact Rendezvous Days event coordinator Sue Atkinson at (928) 635-0273, ext. 210 for details on tickets and pricing, as well as for sponsorship and volunteer opportunities.