Sonoita is a quiet, little town that is full of big traditions. And after a tough fire season, many in town were ready for the annual Labor Day Weekend tradition that always kicks the dust up: The Santa Cruz County Fair and Rodeo, now running 102 years strong.
The slogan this year is only fitting.
"Out of the fire, and kicking ash," Tom Hardesty said, with a smile on his face.
— Max Darrow (@MaxDarrowTV) September 4, 2017
He's one of the people in charge of putting the event together. He says that this year's rodeo has a very special feel to it, resonating from the community.
"It's [the fires] brought more people together, probably," Hardesty said. "So that's why it's important, now everybody really appreciates it."
Hardesty expects more than 10,000 people to come through the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds for the annual event, a big feat for a small town, he said.
"For a place that's only 952 people, you bet," he said. "That's a big deal. We've got ten times our population here in four days."
This year, people can see "wild horse racing," a relatively new event. But for the most part, they're sticking to the usual staples of rodeo tradition.
"I think one of the things that makes it so special is that people know what to expect," Hardesty said. "It's a tradition, and that's what these small communities are about, they're about tradition."
Over $40,000 in cash and buckles will be awarded to the top contestants of the Southwest.
The "Greatest On Dirt Show" will run from September 2-4.
For more information, visit the Sonoita Fairgrounds website.