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Dynamite Arena offers something for ropers of all ages and skill levels


Jessica Watts

CAVE CREEK – Nestled among houses in Cave Creek, Dynamite Arena has been attracting snowbirds from all over the world for over 40 years. Since 1972, team ropers have been coming to Dynamite to rope, and it is where many of today’s National Finals Rodeo qualifiers from Arizona got their start. Jim Riley started the first twice-weekly jackpots, and four decades later, the tradition is still going.

“This arena kind of sat out here in the middle of the desert, and this is where it was all born,” said Daren Peterson, Co-Owner of Dynamite Arena. “This is what drove team ropers to the state of Arizona in the wintertime, the snowbird season as we call it. But for five months, this a pretty popular spot to be right here in the southwest.”

Dynamite has added a number of specialty ropings through the years, including the Jake Rice Memorial and St. Patrick’s Day Rope for the Green and Gold, Western Horseman Classic, and the annual Title Fights roping. Dynamite along with these ropings have been drawing ropers of all ages in for decades.

“You might come here on a given day at an open roping and find half the people who have been to the National Finals Rodeo here,” said Ron Walker, a regular roper at Dynamite. “Or you can come on a Wednesday to an over 40 day or on a Friday when they have an over 60, to see people your own age. It’s just a great place to rope and it’s just gotten better.”

In 2014, Dynamite updated the roping arena; this included a BEX Zone heeler area, larger roping boxes, and new lead-up chutes. But this is not the first major change Dynamite has gone through.

“This is probably the third arena,” said Brent White, who has been coming to Dynamite since it started. “The original arena that Jim built was constructed out of railroad ties and v-mesh wire. They re-did and widened that arena and made it pipe and upgraded it and they actually widened it a third time to my memory and they’ve added warm up arenas. They’ve always had a good concession stand there, it’s just been a friendly good place to go and a lot of fun.”

During Dynamite’s closing weekend, they had over 360 teams competing. In 2016, Dynamite offered 70 events and awarded numerous buckles, saddles, and other great prizes. For the 21,000 teams competing, there will be anywhere from 400 to 500 head of their own Corriente cattle each roping season. But the history of Dynamite is not only rich in the roping arena but with memories as well.

“My favorite memories are really in my dad’s later years,” said White. “He was unable to still compete but we would come every Wednesday where he could visit with lifelong friends and rope. Those are my fondest memories of Dynamite, is being able to take my dad with me. I still pull into this arena today and look over in the passenger seat and wish he was sitting there.”

The 45th roping season will start in November and will continue through March of 2017. Whether you are a world champion team roper or just looking for somewhere to practice, there is something for everyone at Dynamite Arena.

For more information on Dynamite Arena, call (602) 721-5027 or go online to