Arizona Charlie's adventures began when, as a teenager, he rode from Visalia, California, to the Payson area with his family to homestead their Diamond Valley Ranch. Their six loaded wagons and hundreds of horses and cattle must have made quite an entrance into Rim Country in the spring of 1877.
The saga continued with Indian raids that killed Charlie's father and brother and later, the decline of the cattle market. After helping start Payson's rodeo in 1884, Charlie let his riding and roping skills take him into the Wild West Show business. Travel to Australia, the Orient, Europe, and Alaska brought him into contact with Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, Rudyard Kipling, Will Rogers, and Jack London.
The Chilson family has been part of Payson's history longer than there has been a Payson. Emer and Margaret Chilson came to Payson from the Globe-Miami area. The couple had arrived in <st1:state w:st="on">Arizona in July 1878 from <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Downey, <st1:state w:st="on">California.
Their son John, along with Arizona Charlie Meadows was co-organizer of the first Payson Rodeo that took place in 1884. Thus etching his name in western cowboy history, as today the rodeo is now a sanctioned PRCA event and is known as the World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo.
Asbury Schell on Cherokee Jake - Considered one of the stoutest horses ever on the end of a rope.
Courtesy of Git A Rope Publishing
Lee Barkdoll ( 1902 – 1938) was born in Bisbee, Arizona, in 1902, to Guy Barkdoll and Irene Chilson. He moved to the Payson area when he was 14 years old. For a number of years, ending in 1935, he was foreman of the Bar T Bar Ranch, located on Deer Creek. During this time, he followed the rodeos and was champion at many. Lee competed in calf roping, wild cow milking, and team roping all over the state of Arizona especially in his home town of Payson at the August Doin’s.
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Floyd Pyle was born in Star Valley in 1891. When he graduated from the eighth grade, he was drawing top cowboy wages from Hi Fuller’s U Bar Outfit headquarteredd at Cold Springs near Payson. He later worked for Hook Larson, of Pleasant Valley War Fame, on the 13 Ranch. By the age of 22 he owned the Myrtle Ranch on Ellison Creek and was a full partner with his sister on the P Bar L in Star Valley. Floyd braided his own rawhide reatas and his roping skill, honed on the Ladino “outlaw” cattle under the Mogollon Rim, became legendary.
As a government hunter of mountain lions, Floyd’s yearly kills often exceeded fifty. He caught the first mountain lion alive for the San Diego Zoo and in the 1920s he caught both lion and bear alive for Zane Grey when the famous author went into the movie business. During the filming of one scene, Floyd roped a lion in mid air as he leaped from a high boulder. Floyd crossed the great divide in 1961 leaving the legacy of a Mountain Cowboy.