WILLIAMS, Ariz. — It’s not just a job, it’s a way of life.
That's how many participants and organizers describe the annual Cowpuncher’s Reunion Rodeo. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the rodeo, put on by the Arizona Cowpuncher's Rodeo Association (ACRA).
For the last 40 years, rodeo events have been based around the everyday life of working cowboys and their families. This year's events kick off Friday afternoon and continue through the weekend. Performances start with a wild cow race followed by cowboy bronc riding, where participants ride broncs with a saddle. Also on the line up of events is wild cow roping, ribbon roping, team roping and calf roping. Gates open daily at 1 p.m. at the Williams Rodeo Grounds. A gymkhana will be held Thursday morning at 10 a.m.
The majority of participants are from Arizona, but past participants have included cowboys and cowgirls from Utah, New Mexico, Nevada and Texas.
Besides the rodeo itself, there will be vendors, food and entertainment. The Brianna Payne Band will perform at the barn dance every night from 9 p.m. — 1 a.m. at the rodeo grounds. The cost of the dance is $5 for members and $10 for non-members. A bar providing alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks will be available at the dance.
“There is lots to do once you get there,” said Carrie Gross.
Rodeo tickets cost $5 and can be purchased at the gate. Spectators can park at the parking lot across from the rodeo arena.
“It’s an opportunity for the ranching community and friends and family to get together. To tell stories and spend time with each other because we don’t have those opportunities. That’s our main purpose for the rodeo — for everyone to get together,” Gross said.