Posse Grounds Park has bucked the trend that rodeos need bulls.
The first Sedona Foot Rodeo ran on Friday, Aug. 18, and a good crowd showed up to enjoy the entertainment.
The highlight for many were the fake shoot-outs, provided by the Red Rock Posse, the same group that provided the gun battles for Day of the Cowboy in previous years.
The posse said it had two main goals beyond showing everyone a riproaring time: Gun safety and imparting history from the West. Safety comes first even when shooting blanks. The posse members do not aim directly at one another. Expanding air from the shot can kill, as it kicks up rocks or other debris with surprising force.
The group uses its historical knowledge and humor to create a scene from the Wild West, in full cowboy gear and all. The group comes from all over the country and has varying backgrounds in its members, which adds to the spectacle. Some used to work for an area Jeep tour company and did shows for it, as well.
Foreigners provided some of the best memories for the posse. In many countries — particularly Australia, Egypt and England, the posse said — firearms have been banned. The mere sight of a real gun on a cowboy isn’t just a treat from the past for them, it’s something impossible to see by their countries’ laws.
One time a man had taken a shine to one of the posse member’s guns. The gunslinger turned the gun around to hand it over in exchange for the man’s wife. When his eyes lit up, a few knocks from his wife kept the idea from becoming reality.
The rodeo featured several other events, as well. As bucking broncos and bulls were not present, mechanical bulls provided the public with the challenge to try their hand at riding. A roping game was also there, along with pony rides — real ponies, that is — a clown, “branding” and more.
Councilman Scott Jablow was one of several members of the City Council and staff to show up. As the rodeo was getting rolling, he said it was looking like a good replacement for the discontinued Day of the Cowboy in Uptown. The only difference is access for Uptown merchants, which Jablow said will be pushed more in future Uptown activities, such as the Safe and Fun Trick-orTreat on Halloween.
Jablow said the event at Posse Grounds was better for the kids. They had much more room to run than on crowded sidewalks, easing safety concerns.
Ruthie Conway was one of those visitors from outof-town who came specifically for the show. She came from San Francisco to enjoy the day with her family, including a child bouncing away on a float.
“Sedona does a lot for the community,” she said, noting the many other events she had come out to attend. “I can’t think of anything my kids would like better than a fake gun fight.”