Parade and rodeo lovers rejoice! San Pedro Valley residents are sure to enjoy Saturday’s 32nd Benson Butterfield Overland Stage Days Parade and Rodeo.

The parade, held by the Benson Junior Women’s Club, serves as the prelude at 9 a.m. Plenty of heel-kicking action follows at the Arena Bar and Rodeo Grounds at 3 p.m. on Saturday and at noon on Sunday.

Plenty of slots remain for the parade which will stage at the overflow parking area adjacent to the Jerry P. Lee Athletics Complex at Benson Unified School District.

“Parade route is the same as ever – north on Patagonia, west on Sixth Street, east on Fifth to Gila St., south to Seventh then back to Patagonia,” noted Parade Co-Chair Trudi Harlan.

2017 Benson Butterfield Rodeo Queen Preslee West is the Parade Grand Marshal, a fitting selection to coincide with the “Rodeo Heroes” theme.

Five months into her reign which started at the 2017 Butterfield Days, West, a BHS graduate, was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Rounds of chemotherapy ensued which rendered the queen disabled throughout much of the year. And now with the disease in remission, according to the Benson Butterfield Rodeo Committee news release, West will preside over the rodeo year in 2018.

“It was decision time for us on the Benson Butterfield Rodeo Committee,” explained Rodeo Committee President Heather Floyd. “Ultimately what we wanted was great representation for our community and to show who we are as a committee leading with our heart. We extended the opportunity to Preslee to represent us an additional year... Much to our joy Preslee accepted the offer to represent our rodeo and community across the state. Her current Princess, Allison Sartin, has started school out of state so a second year of service wasn’t in the cards and the search for a princess started. We didn’t need to look far as Preslee lead us to Hallie Miller of Sonoita.”

“Join us at the Benson Butterfield Rodeo to see Preslee in action and on Sunday we will see Allison Sartin pass her title of Benson Butterfield Rodeo Princess on to Hallie Miller,” said Floyd. “And who knows you just might see Preslee West doing a hotlap as a bald rodeo queen representing as the fierce #WarriorQueen we have come to know and love as our Benson Butterfield Rodeo Queen 2017 and 2018.”

The rodeo begins Saturday at 3 p.m. with the kids events with the pros taking over the arena at 5 p.m. On Sunday the kids’ rodeo underway at noon with the pros starting at 1 p.m.

The parade is fundraiser for the Benson Jr. Women’s Club which sponsors scholarships for high school and college students, provides assistance to needy families at Christmas time, and donates to other community groups throughout the San Pedro Valley, said Harlan.

Parade pplications are available at Benson Hospital Billing Department or Quarter horse Motel, or by emailing bensonjrs@gmail.com. Entry fee is $30.

Events throughout the weekend are hosted by the City of Benson and are organized by Benson Juniors and the Butterfield Rodeo Committee.  Major Sponsors are Arizona’s G&T Cooperatives, SSVEC, Apache Nitrogen Products and Benson Hospital.

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