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88th Annual La Fiesta de los Vaqueros – The Tucson Rodeo & Parade
through February 24
Tucson Rodeo Grounds
What: 88th Annual La Fiesta de los Vaqueros® -- The Tucson Rodeo & Parade
When: February 16-24, 2013
Where: Tucson Rodeo Grounds, 4823 S. Sixth Ave., Tucson, Ariz.
Outdoor arena with seating for 11,000
La Fiesta de los Vaqueros and the Tucson Rodeo is Southern Arizona’s oldest and most celebrated heritage event, and as one of the top 25 rodeos on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) calendar, it’s a major stop for the sports’ best cowboys and cowgirls. The Tucson Rodeo features six rodeo performances: February 16 and 17, and February 21-24. Festivities begin at 12:30 p.m. each day. Tickets are $12-$26, and available in advance at www.TucsonRodeo.com, or by calling (800) 964-5662.
Each performance begins at 12:30 p.m. with little buckaroos competing in Dodge Mutton Bustin’ and the Justin Junior Rodeo. Pro rodeo events include bareback riding, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, team roping, women’s barrel racing and bull riding, kicks off at 2 p.m. The Tucson Rodeo enlists over 650 cowboys and cowgirls competing for a share of the $460,000 purse.
A treasured tradition of rodeo week, the Tucson Rodeo Parade is billed as the longest non-motorized parade in the world. An estimated 200,000 spectators line the parade route to see over 150 western-theme floats and buggies, Mexican folk dancers and marching musical groups. The parade is Thursday, February 21 at 9 a.m.; grandstand seating is $7 for adults and $5 for children under 13. See www.TucsonRodeoParade.com for more information.
La Fiesta de los Vaqueros is staged by the nonprofit Tucson Rodeo and Tucson Rodeo Parade Committees. A portion of the rodeo proceeds benefits community groups including a University of Arizona scholarship fund and local Lion’s and Rotary Clubs.
For more information, call (520) 741-2233, (800) 964-5662, or visit www.TucsonRodeo.com.
La Fiesta de los Vaqueros History
In February 1925, Leighton Kramer, president of the Arizona Polo Association, paraded area cowboys, visiting trick riders, folk dancers and marching bands through downtown Tucson en route to a midtown polo field. There a long-planned, community-sponsored rodeo and Wild West show debuted to a full house.
The rodeo featured four events—steer wrestling, steer tying, calf roping, and saddle bronc riding. The purse was $6,650. Special events included a wild horse race, lady bronc rider Tad Lucas, and Jack Brown who bulldogged (wrestled) a steer from a Packard automobile.
La Fiesta de los Vaqueros was devised to attract winter visitors to the many guest ranches and scenic haciendas that dotted the desert region. Celebrating the heritage and contributions of the cowboy and Mexican vaquero proved to be a theme as popular today and it was almost nine decades ago.
While many of Tucson’s winter visitors have since relocated to this metro area of over one million residents, the community continues to tout La Fiesta de los Vaqueros as a favorite tradition; one that continues to attract visitors from all over the world. Schools close on Thursday and Friday of rodeo week so local families can enjoy the festive parade and rodeo; visitors come to experience the area’s Old West traditions, including this championship rodeo staged outdoors under desert skies.
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