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Lost Dutchman Days Rodeo Feb. 22-24 in Apache Junction
A barrel racing competitor at the 2012 Lost Dutchman Days Rodeo. (Photo by Richard H. Dyer, Independent Newsmedia Inc. USA)

The Lost Dutchman Days Rodeo, held at the Apache Junction Rodeo Grounds at Lost Dutchman Boulevard and Tomahawk Road, is a full eight-event rodeo, with professional cowboys and cowgirls competing for prize money beginning at 1:30 p.m. each day. In 2012 entrants received $30,000 in prize money. It is an open rodeo.

The classic events include bareback, calf roping, saddlebronc, steer wrestling, ladies breakaway roping, barrel racing, team roping and the crowd favorite of bull riding. See the website here.

The rodeo annually gets 400-plus entries, enough so that all the team roping will be held at 9 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 21. Slack, for those contestants not in the performances, is 9 a.m. Sunday. There is no charge for admission for the Thursday roping or Sunday slack. Stock will be provided by W/A Rodeo Co. and Buster Webb.

Timber Tuckness the Rodeo Clown has been selected to perform for his sixth year in a row.

Rodeo is a competition among men and women using the same skills as the classic American cowboy. It got its roots from ranch hands that made wagers with the hands from neighboring ranches as to who best could rope and ride. From that, the horses got more rank, riding steers grew to bull riding and so on, and the American-born sport of rodeo still entertains many as the same scenario holds, “Who can best ride and rope?”

The Lost Dutchman Days Rodeo preserves that heritage, as it is an “open to the world” rodeo – simply put: Enter up and pay your fees, the committee adds to it, and may the best cowboy and cowgirl win.

The rodeo performances for 2013, the 49th year, are at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 22-24. The rodeo and Event Center are at 1590 E. Lost Dutchman Blvd. near Tomahawk Road at the Apache Junction Rodeo Grounds.

There is a $2 admission charge to enter the AJ Rodeo Grounds and Event Center, which includes a parking donation to the AJ Little League organization for its support. Amenities for spectators’ comfort and enjoyment during their visit to Lost Dutchman Days and the Event Center include covered, metal bleachers seating 2,000 to 2,500 people; and a 1,200-square-feet concession and restroom facility.

Rodeo advance ticket sales — $10 adult, $6 child, both costing $2 more at the gate — are available at the AJ Chamber of Commerce, 567 W. Apache Trail, 480-982-3141; Apache Junction/Gold Canyon Independent newspaper, 2066 W. Apache Trail No. 110, 480-982-7799; or Crazy Horse Saddle Shop, 1484 W. Apache Trail, 480-671-0381.

The rodeo features hundreds of contestants, all of whom put up an entry fee to win the coveted Lost Dutchman Days Open Rodeo prize money and belt buckles.

Entry fees range from $65 a person for breakaway and barrel racing, $75 for bareback and saddle-bronc competitions, $85 for bull riding and $150 for team roping. There’s a $15 stock charge and a $10 administration fee per contestant.

The carnival tickets for Lost Dutchman Days are for sale 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at the Apache Junction Chamber of Commerce, 567 W. Apache Trail. They are $20 in advance and $30 at the carnival. Cash only. Each ticket is good for one day only.

The dates and times of the Brown & Brown Amusements carnival are – 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22; 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23; and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24.

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