FEB 15-23, 2020 TUCSON RODEO!

February 19th, 2020

A little history……

Tucson Rodeo history

TUCSON’S LA FIESTA DE LOS VAQUEROS BEGAN WITH A BANG

Headline in the Arizona Daily Star in 1925 reads:

“Cowboys are asked not to shoot up the town”

Tucson in 1925 was a frontier town:

The first Tucson Rodeo was held in the middle of Prohibition. With so many visitors expected, decisions were made to clean up the town. Arizona State Prohibition Director Frank Pool led a force of federal officials to town two weeks prior to the rodeo. The Arizona Daily Star reported that 25 stills were captured and an estimated 3000 gallons of moonshine destroyed.

Taxi fare from downtown to the rodeo grounds was set at 25 cents for a party of four.
Prizes at the 1925 Rodeo Parade included a 750-lb. block of ice, 100 lbs. of potatoes and a “Big Cactus” ham.

Leighton Kramer conceived the idea of La Fiesta de los Vaqueros to draw visitors to Tucson during the mid-winter season. Kramer was a winter visitor himself, and president of the Arizona Polo Association.

In 1925, Kramer and the Arizona Polo Association created La Fiesta de los Vaqueros and the Tucson Mid-Winter Rodeo and Parade. The event would give visitors a taste of cowboy range work and glamorize Tucson’s Wild West notoriety.

1932:

As a result of rapid growth, a larger La Fiesta de los Vaqueros moved to the abandoned municipal airport field at South 6th Avenue and Irvington Road. The 1932 Tucson Rodeo opened the grounds, with seating for 3,000 and parking for 59 cars. The arena at the Tucson Rodeo Grounds now seats 11,000 spectators.

The Tucson Rodeo Committee expanded the Tucson Rodeo to five performance days in 1993 and included an annual Women’s Championship Rodeo in the 2000-2003 events. In 2004 through 2006, the event added a PRCA sanctioned Bull Riding competition. The Committee added a sixth rodeo performance to replace the Bull Riding event beginning in 2007.

The Tucson Rodeo has featured many types of western entertainers. Old time trick riders Buff Brady and Dick Griffith amazed the crowds in the early days. Acclaimed trick roper Montie Montana appeared in a number of performances from 1936 to 1974. Wilcox, Arizona native Rex Allen was featured in 1956 and 1957. In 1965, Leon Adams exhibited “Roman trick riding from the days of Ben Hur on performing Brahma bulls.”

Due to a great climate and full grandstands, Hollywood found the Tucson Rodeo an ideal winter location when a scene called for rodeo action. Robert Mitchum tested broncs in Tucson in the 1952 classic “The Lusty Men”. In 1954, the Tucson Rodeo served as a backdrop for the movie “Arena”. The 1994 rodeo was featured in scenes for “8 Seconds”, the motion picture depicting the life of late bull rider Lane Frost. You can see action from the 1996 rodeo in the Showtime movie “Ruby Jean and Joe” starring Tom Selleck. The rodeo was broadcast coast-to-coast in 1962 on ABC’s Wide World of Sports.
The Tucson Rodeo is one of the top 25 professional rodeo events in North America, with prize monies exceeding $320,000. The ProRodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Colo. inducted the Tucson Rodeo Committee in August of 2008 for their notable achievements and contributions to professional rodeo. The Committee was also inducted into the Pima County Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.

Leighton Kramer’s vision of creating an event to attract more tourists to Tucson has certainly been realized. But the residents of Tucson adopted La Fiesta de los Vaqueros as an honored tradition from the very beginning. Area schools still close on Thursday and Friday of Rodeo Week, local citizens are thrown in the hoosegow (in fun of course) for not observing western dress, businesses advertise rodeo specials and over 200 organizations participate in the Rodeo Parade, now viewed by over 200,000 spectators.

February 1967, the Tucson Daily Citizen reported:

“…41 House members have joined in introducing a bill which would make the bolo tie ‘the official state neckwear’… replacing the neckties worn by eastern dudes”.

1949
1973
2007

THURSDAY, FEB. 20

TUCSON RODEO PARADE 9 A.M.

Over 200 non-motorized floats are on display along the one and one-half mile parade route beginning at Park Ave. and Ajo Way, proceeding south on Park to Irvington Rd. Tickets for Grandstand seating at Irvington and South 6th Ave, $10 adults, $5 kids under 13. Call (520) 294-1280 for grandstand tickets.

TUCSON RODEO, THIRD PERFORMANCE

11 a.m. – gates open

NOON – Coors Barn opens – enjoy live feed of the Tucson Rodeo*

12:30 p.m. RAM Mutton Bustin’ and Justin Junior Rodeo
2 – 4:30 p.m. ProRodeo Competition
4 – 8 p.m. Coors Barn Dance – $5 online or at the door; 21 years and older only.

*Access with purchase of a rodeo ticket plus $5 per person; includes admission to after-rodeo Coors Barn Dance.

FRIDAY, FEB. 21

TUCSON RODEO, FOURTH PERFORMANCE

11 a.m. – gates open

NOON – Coors Barn opens – enjoy live feed of the Tucson Rodeo*

12:30 p.m. RAM Mutton Bustin’ and Justin Junior Rodeo
2 – 4:30 p.m. ProRodeo Competition
4 – 8 p.m. Coors Barn Dance – $5 online or at the door; 21 years and older only.

*Access with purchase of a rodeo ticket plus $5 per person; includes admission to after-rodeo Coors Barn Dance.

SATURDAY, FEB. 22

TUCSON RODEO, FIFTH PERFORMANCE

11 a.m. – gates open

NOON – Coors Barn opens – enjoy live feed of the Tucson Rodeo*

12:30 p.m. RAM Mutton Bustin’ and Justin Junior Rodeo
2 – 4:30 p.m. ProRodeo Competition
4 – 8 p.m. Coors Barn Dance – $5 online or at the door; 21 years and older only.

*Access with purchase of a rodeo ticket plus $5 per person; includes admission to after-rodeo Coors Barn Dance.

SUNDAY, FEB. 23

TUCSON RODEO FINALS

11 a.m. – gates open

NOON – Coors Barn opens – enjoy live feed of the Tucson Rodeo*

12:30 p.m. RAM Mutton Bustin’ and Justin Junior Rodeo
2 – 4:30 p.m. ProRodeo Competition
4 – 8 p.m. Coors Barn Dance – $5 online or at the door; 21 years and older only.

*Access with purchase of a rodeo ticket plus $5 per person; includes admission to after-rodeo Coors Barn Dance.

All events are at the Tucson Rodeo Grounds, 4823 S. 6th Ave., unless otherwise noted.