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Memory Catcher

The Night of Cowboy Poetry and Magic

On July 2, 2018, I had the privilege of bearing witness to an unforgettable moment in rodeo history. I aid the rodeo marketing efforts so I had back of house access. After a Monday evening’s exhilarating rodeo event, we all congregated at the campsite to unwind with a beverage. Joining us were two living legends of the Prescott rodeo: JC Trujillo, a Bronc Riding Hall of Famer, and Arleigh Bonnaha, a glorified Prescott rodeo clown from the 1980s.Around a crackling campfire, something extraordinary unfolded. These two rodeo legends spontaneously engaged in what can only be described as lyrical art, an ode to the rodeo life known as cowboy poetry. It was a performance akin to a rap battle, the likes of which I had never expected to see from these seasoned cowboys. As the verses flowed, I couldn’t help but pull out my phone to capture the moment.
Amidst the poetic fervor, JC Trujillo paused, catching my eye. With a sly smile, he uttered something profound: “This is not meant for the world to see. This is a moment for us, not for social media.” He winked and resumed his lyrical masterpiece.
In the weeks that followed, I couldn’t shake the significance of that experience. The realization settled in that the convergence of these two historic figures from the Prescott Frontier Days – World’s Oldest Rodeo was a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. Their hidden talents, shared between two old friends will be in a moment in my history with the rodeo forever.
– Donna Werking

More Memories:

Volunteering Legacy at the Rodeo

I am fortunate to be able to claim we have 4 generations volunteering at the rodeo. My son Steve has been on the board of directors for 3 years. His volunteer hours using his electrical skills would be hard to put a number to because he often flys under the radar. We...

Tending Bar for Decades Now

I started tending bar in 1981 for Prescott Downs Horse Races which also included tending bar for all rodeo performances. I was there when Arleigh Bonnaha was injured, sad day for sure he was great. I also had my first encounter with JC Trujillo. I also remember when...

My Journey as a Rodeo Volunteer

I have been with the Rodeo for a number of years to give back. WE are one big happy family of volunteers. As a front of the house ticket taker, we have met folks from all over the world, from infants to the older and wiser person, and true cowboys and women. WE can...

Cowboy Roots Run Deep at the World’s Oldest Rodeo

I grew up in southern Arizona on the Santa Lucia and the Sopori ranches in the 50's & early 60's. "Jefe" of the Santa Lucia was Mr. Richard Merchant. Mr. Merchant won the calf-roping championship at Madison Square Garden in 1923, in Calgary in 1927, 1928, and 1930...

A Rainy Day Still Can’t Ruin The Show

On June 29, 2022 we attended the rodeo on a very rainy day. The riders/performers all took it in stride and still gave us a wonderful show, in spite of the downpour and puddles. What made it all so magical was the rainbow and the beautiful sky! - Linda Thompson  

A Maryland Crew’s First Cowboy Experience

We had our daughter and family in town from Maryland. They all wanted to go see the rodeo as they had never seen one. We took them to the ‘Wolds Oldest Rodeo’ here in Prescott. They had a blast and even dressed up for the event. -Stephen Chase  

Memories from My Time as Rodeo Chairman (1967-1971)

I have shared before that my being the Rodeo Chairman from 1967 to 1971 has indelible memories of those times. During the Celebration of Junior Bonner in 2022 I gave many interviews regarding the struggles and ultimate success we had during my time as Chairman. I am...