The Arizona Cowpuncher’s Reunion Association is a membership that consists of working cowboys, their families, and close associates involved in the livestock industry.
It all began in the 1970s with a group of cowboys from northern and central Arizona that introduced the idea of a “Working Cowboy’s Rodeo”, similar to the rodeos that some of them had participated in during the 1920s–1940s. The first “Old-time Cowboy’s Reunion Rodeo” was held in Flagstaff, AZ, in October, 1978, at the Avery’s Kowboy Kountry Klub Arena. The events included mustang roping, big loop contest, and tie-down team roping. At that time broncs were mugged, saddled, and then ridden in the arena. The following year, the date was changed to August so more cowboys could attend before their fall works started. The Reunion Rodeo remained an annual event at Avery’s until it burned down during the winter of 1980-81.
In order to maintain the true meaning behind this rodeo, some of the cowboys involved from the beginning formed the “Arizona Cowpuncher’s Reunion Association” in 1982-83. Officers and committees were formed, and those who joined the Association paid annual dues and received a membership number. Applications for membership were approved for those working on ranches, or retired from ranch work but still maintaining a close relationship with the ranching lifestyle. The location of the rodeo was moved to Williams, AZ, where it remained until 1992. From 1993 to 1996 it was held in Flagstaff, AZ, returning to Williams in 1997 where it is still held today.
The idea of the Cowpuncher’s Rodeo was to maintain the camaraderie of the working cowboy, his family, and close associates involved in the livestock industry. The rodeo events were unique and based on the daily activities of those working on cattle and horse ranches. No bull riding was held, and bronc riders used their everyday stock saddles. Events were designed so that all ages could compete and be involved in the rodeo. Events included were, and still are, the Wild Horse Race, Wild Cow Milking, Cowboy Bronc Riding, Steer Riding, Dally Calf Roping, Team Tying, Ribbon Roping, and many more team roping events for the entire family.
The Association and the annual rodeo are still much the same today. While the officers and board members change over time, events and rules change slightly, but the original purpose of the event remains the same. It’s truly a reunion of ranching families, working ranch cowboys, and others involved in the livestock industry.
The Arizona Cowpuncher’s Annual Reunion Rodeo is unique among rodeos. You’ll witness events in which the entire family can compete and all ages are welcome! To provide something for everyone, events include categories of 12 & under, all-girl, and over-60s. Be sure to catch the Reunion Rodeo in Williams, AZ on June 17th-19th, 2022.
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