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Wed, Oct. 16

PRCA rodeo — barrels of fun

The crowds were great, the weather was cooperative and the cattle were restless during the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association’s Labor Day Rodeo.

“We really had a good rodeo,” said Bob Dean, chairman of the Williams Rodeo Committee. “Everybody had a good time.”

The number of people who attended the rodeo increased significantly over last year.

“We had a good crowd all three days,” said Dean. “It was about double — if not, it was awful close.”

There were also a number of well-known cowboys and cowgirls showing their faces and skills during the rodeo.

“The all-around cowboy was Brent Lewis,” Dean said. “Jake Barnes was here. He’s a seven-time world champion team roper.

“Mark McKinlay, the Turquoise Circuit three-time champion for bareback riding, was also in town.”

During the annual Women’s Professional Rodeo Association Pro Divisional Tour barrel racing competition on Friday, one well-known face presented itself.

“We had the Rookie of the Year in barrel racing — Mandy Sproul, from Pierce Arizona, compete,” Dean said.

The Labor Day rodeo is a tradition that turned 60 this year. It always includes saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, team roping, bareback riding, calf roping, barrel racing and, of course, bull riding.

“We had 247 competitors this year,” Dean said. “That number goes up every year.

“We gave out $19,000-plus in payoffs this year — it gets bigger and bigger every year.”

For the second year in a row, all of the grandstand seating was covered.

“They really did help,” Dean said. “It showered on Monday and nobody left.”

Returning for the second year, Las Vaqueras de Tucson Drill Team performed intricate maneuvers on horseback.

To feed the people in the stands and the competitors, the Williams Area Habitat for Humanity and the Williams Kiwanis Club joined forces to provide food.

“I think we might have made some money,” said Jim Lewis, president of Habitat. “We couldn’t have done it without Kiwanis. It would be good to team up with them again in the future.”

The amount of money the groups raised is still being determined, Lewis said, because a number of items are being returned.

A big part of the rodeo is the people who work behind the scenes. Carol Glassburn, chair of the Williams-Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, said it took 75 volunteers to pull off the rodeo.

“I had people coming up to volunteer that weren’t even on the list,” she said. “The town really got together with volunteers and made this all work.”

Glassburn said the City of Williams crews also deserve a huge thanks.

“It was the best rodeo we’ve ever had,” she said. “The crowd was enthusiastic, the announcer was great and the volunteers were wonderful.”

The rodeo was not without its quandaries, Dean said.

“We do have a real problem,” he said. “Somebody stole a barrel racing barrel and two banners off the fence.

“If we find out who did it — they will be prosecuted.”

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