|Yavapai County Board of Supervisors chairman, Chip Davis next to Prescott Mayor Rowle Simmons as they sign the Intergovernmental Agreement. |
Behind them, from left to right: Steve Blair, Bob Roecker, Tom Thurman, Mary Ann Suttles, Carol Springer, Bob Bell, Jim Lamerson and Robert Luzius.
|Johnny Reyes, President of the Rodeo Association, offered his appreciation and thanks for the agreement.|
There were grins and handshakes all around as an historic Intergovermental Agreement was signed Tuesday, June 19, 2007 between the City of Prescott and Yavapai County. This agreement ensures that the World's Oldest Rodeo will remain in Prescott for perpetuity, said Mayor Rowle Simmons during a rare joint City Council and Board of Supervisors meeting. The motions were approved unanimously by both the governing boards.
According to the World's Oldest Rodeo site, it was July 4, 1888 when the first formalized "cowboy tournament" was organized in Prescott, Arizona, by local merchants and busnessmen, offering cash prizes. That year, a cowboy named Juan Leivas walked off with the first rodeo professional title, as documented in the Arizona Journal-Miner.
Rodeos were highly anticipated in Prescott because it gave the cowboys and ranchers a chance to demonstrate their skills to the townspeople. The first rodeos were primitive events, held on an empty tract of land, roped off to keep the broncs from running away after unseating the riders.
From those simple beginnings, it has exploded into a world-recognized event, with tickets selling out rapidly. Keeping the rodeo in Prescott is an important achievement for historical reasons as well as tourism.
According to Mayor Simmons, "This has been a long time in the making. It is very proper and appropriate for the city of Prescott to have this and the main reason we have been interested for a long time is that we want to be assured that the Rodeo stays in Prescott. And this is a central location and everything else, and we were just very fortunate that Yavapai County Board of Supervisors felt the same way and we were all able to come together and work this out."
The deal is complicated, to be sure. It includes landswaps, credits, maintenance and leases. (You can see what was exchanged in this Property and Credits Exchanged document.)
One thing that many of the participants mentioned was the complete cooperation on the part of both entities.
As Councilwoman Mary Ann Suttles said, "You know, we did something. This was something that was worked and worked and worked upon and it finally came to fruition... It's such a win-win for everybody. It's a win for the county because they can start their capital improvements. It's a win for Prescott, they've got that rodeo and they're going to be here. And it was such a cooperation for both entities that they came out and nobody was backstabbing or saying what the other had done, and the best came out for our citizenry. Not only in the county and the city and in Chino and all that comes to the Prescott rodeo. So, we did something good."