What rodeo really holds the claim as the “World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo?”

Dee Anne Jackson

Gilbert, Arizona

The West’s first rodeo was an unrecorded event during the 1700s at some Mexican rancho in California or Texas.

Several towns claim to be the host of the oldest rodeo. Payson, Arizona, bills itself as the “World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo,” 1884, while Prescott has the “World’s Oldest [Professional] Rodeo,” 1888.

The U.S. Patent Office approved Prescott’s use of the title since the city was the first to charge admission and award trophies to the winners. Ironically, one of those winners was “Arizona” Charley Meadows, who was also a big winner at the Payson event four years earlier.

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