Labor Day weekend has a different definition in Williams than in most places across the country. Some parts of that definition remain the same, a special holiday set aside for the workforce, but in Williams there's a little something called "rodeo" added to that definition. After all, many believe it wouldn't be Labor Day without the PRCA Labor Day Rodeo.
This year will be no different, as the famed Turquoise Circuit will close out its season at the Bob Dean Rodeo Grounds Sept. 1-3. Advance tickets for the rodeo are available at the Williams-Forest Service Visitors' Center and online at
www.williamsfestivals.com. This year's rodeo will also include a special barrel racing event Aug. 31 when the Women's Pro Barrel Rodeo Association compete. The special Aug. 31 event is free to the public, according to rodeo organizer Bob Dean.
Over 11 rodeos are held in Williams over the course of the year, ranging from the Ken McDaniels Rodeo to the recent Cowpuncher's Reunion Rodeo, said Dean. Each one offers something special to participants of the events.
"We've won best ground in the Turquoise Circuit seven times," Dean said. "That's Arizona and New Mexico."
Events will include bare back riding, steer wrestling, tie down roping, saddle bronc riding, team roping, bull riding and barrel racing, according to Dean. The average performance, he added, will last a little over two hours. Daily performances are scheduled to begin each day of the rodeo at 1 p.m.
"Big time rodeo in a small town is what I dubbed it and that's what it is," Dean said. "At this rodeo, we usually have some past world champions and possibly some future world champions."
Dean added that covered rain stands will also be a fixture at this year's PRCA Labor Day Rodeo.
"Don't let the rain bother you," Dean said.
Championship buckles for the rodeo are currently on display at DeBerge Gallery and Western Wear in Williams. The flashy buckles are handmade from Leupp artisan Ed Lewis and represent the best in each category of the event. Buckles are given to the winners at the conclusion of the Labor Day Rodeo, according to Dean.
The PRCA rodeo has its roots as far back as the 1930s, though it was not always known as the PRCA, or Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Originally known as the Cowboy's Turtle Association, the name was changed in 1945 to the Rodeo Cowboys Association. The group became known as the PRCA in 1975.
The annual Labor Day parade will make its way down Route 66 next Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. Applications for the parade are still being accepted, according to Williams-Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce Event Coordinator Sue Atkinson. Applicants can call (928) 635-1418.
"The parade theme for this year is, 'There's a little cowboy in all of us,'" Atkinson said. "It's a western-themed parade."
Grand Marshal for this year's parade is Miss Rodeo Arizona Katie Hill. Long time Williams icon Buster Anderson, a PRCA Labor Day Rodeo committee member, will serve as honorary grand marshal. Atkinson said she expects a strong turnout for the annual Labor Day march.
"Right now we have almost all equestrian entries," she said.