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Annual Cowpunchers Rodeo bringing daily performances to Williams June 16-18

A bronc rider tries to hang-on during the 2016 Cowpunchers Reunion rodeo in Williams.
Photo by Ryan Williams.

A bronc rider tries to hang-on during the 2016 Cowpunchers Reunion rodeo in Williams.

The 39th annual Cowpunchers Reunion Rodeo returns to Williams June 16-18 at the Williams Rodeo Grounds, 800 Rodeo Road.

Rodeo performances start at 1 p.m. each day with gates opening at 11 a.m. Admission is $5, and those aged 10 and younger are free.

About 300 people are expected to compete in the rodeo events. While the majority of the competitors are from Arizona, some will also come from Nevada, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.

Carrie Gross, executive secretary of the Arizona Cowpunchers, said this rodeo isn’t like other rodeos.

Gross said the event is structured for families. The event includes ribbon roping for young girls and women, with other activities for boys.

Many ranchers live in remote locations and aren’t able to get together with other ranchers very often, Gross said. She said the association was formed and a rodeo held to have a reunion for the group, who have become like family.

Some of the highlights of the rodeo performances include ribbon roping, team roping, steer riding and wild horse racing, in which competitors saddle and ride a horse that has never been ridden before.

Gross said the bronc riding is different in that a cowboy saddle is used. She said the calf roping is also different than Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) because they don’t use a neck rope or horn knot.

Another unique event is wild cow milking, in which one team member ropes the cow, another one holds the cow steady and a third milks the cow.

Events will have cash prizes and competitors can win buckles and brush collars.

On June 16 and 17, a barn dance will take place from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. featuring a live band. Everyone is welcome to attend.

The Calcutta Auction will take place June 17 and benefits the Cowpuncher’s Crisis and Scholarship Fund. The Crisis Fund is an emergency fund for any cowboys who are injured at a ranch and need help with medical bills and other expenses. The scholarship fund is for new college students.

On Sunday at 9:30 a.m., a cowboy church service will take place in the grandstands. Everyone is welcome to attend. Vendors will be set up from about 10 a.m. until after the rodeo performance and will be selling food, jewelry, T-shirts, leather and more.

More information is available from Gross at (602) 510-4940.

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