PRESCOTT- The World’s Oldest Rodeo is turning one-hundred and thirty years old in 2017 as the Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo will celebrate the legends both past and present such as Prescott-native and Rodeo Hall of Fame member J.C. Trujillo, who now serves as the General Manager on the grounds he grew up on.
“Being born and raised here and being my original hometown, and my family’s been here since 1919, Prescott means a lot to me as a hometown rodeo,” said Trujillo in a phone interview who mentioned starting with rodeo when he was six years old in Prescott. “Out of the one-hundred and thirty years, I have been lucky enough to win the bareback riding here at the Prescott Frontier Days more than anybody ever has-five times.
“There is a lot of different things that all play into your hometown rodeo and this the Prescott Frontier Days, that’s my hometown rodeo,” Trujillo continued.
While the legends like Trujillo will be honored, the cowboys competing in this year’s rodeo will look to make their mark at one of the most iconic rodeos in the country.
“We always draw the best top names in the sport of rodeo,” Prescott Frontier Days Media Representative Tricia Lewis said in a phone interview. “Prescott is a prestigious rodeo, it’s one of the top forty rodeos in the country, and with that it has a lot of nostalgia and tradition.”
Trujillo mentioned nearly six hundred competitors will be vying for the $260,000 prize.
“I know these guys are all wanting to win first when they get here,” Trujillo said. “That’s just the spirit and the attitude of a pro rodeo cowboy.”
Cowboys will be showing off impressive bouts of athleticism throughout the seven-day event with wild horse races, steer wrestling, bareback riding, tie-down roping and saddle bronc riding just to name a few.
“The rodeo cowboy today is more of just a professional athlete, and they are sure cowboys, but they are even more faced then ever,” Trujillo said. “These kids are starting to ride early in high school, junior high rodeos. You develop these talents in these young athletes and a big percent of them become pros.”
It's not just professional rodeo cowboys who flock to Prescott when the rodeo is in town, but also thousands of tourists visit the area to enjoy the shows. As such, rodeo doesn’t just transform the nature at the grounds but throughout the city. During the week, a parades is held, dances take place and the community welcomes visitors with open arms as one can’t go too far without seeing a “welcome rodeo fans” banner across many businesses.
“I always tell everybody this is Prescott’s most anticipated event of the year,” Lewis said. “When it is time for rodeo, people know it. It’s a big part of our community, it’s a big part of tradition and culture.”
A reasons the sport draws so many to Prescott is the ties to the wild west.
“This is part of the old west, the sport of rodeo is,” Trujillo said. “The sport of rodeo is the only sport, professional sport, that is derived from an industry. That’s the cattle industry and racnhing industry.
The Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo takes place from June 28th to July 4th with tickets ranging from $12 to $25 per performance. Tickets can be purchased on the official rodeo website but Trujillo urges those interested to buy tickets quickly as the performances are selling out.