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The first La Fiesta de los Vaqueros (Celebration of the Cowboys) in 1925 touted three days of events and competition. Today, the event has grown to a nine-day celebration centered on the Tucson Rodeo, one of the top 25 professional rodeos in North America.
Current and former Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) world champions are featured in each Tucson Rodeo. “The entry list for Tucson could be the ‘Who’s Who’ of pro rodeo,” boasts Gary Williams, general manager of the Tucson Rodeo. “In addition to the caliber of competition and the prize money, cowboys look forward to Tucson because the fans are great and the sky is blue. This is the first major outdoor rodeo of the year, so they’re ready for sunshine, fresh air and 11,000 fans each day cheering them on,” adds Williams.
The Tucson Rodeo Parade is billed as the world’s longest non-motorized parade. This two-hour spectacle features western-themed floats and buggies, historic horse-drawn coaches, festive Mexican folk dancers, marching bands and outfitted riders. An estimated 200,000 spectators view the parade each year.
The Tucson Rodeo enlists over 650 contestants from the United States and Canada competing for more than $460,000 in prize money. The Tucson Rodeo, the first major outdoor event on the PRCA schedule, gives visitors an opportunity to see real-life cowboys and cowgirls display their ability in the only sport in the world developed from work skills.
Rodeo events include bull riding, bareback and saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, tie-down roping, team roping and women’s barrel racing. Also featured each day are kids’ events — Dodge Mutton Bustin’, when four-to six-year-olds test their riding skills on sheep, and the Justin Junior Rodeo for young cowpokes ages 7-12.
The Tucson Rodeo Committee and Tucson Rodeo Parade Committee, both volunteer-based, nonprofit community groups, stage La Fiesta de los Vaqueros.
Proceeds from the Tucson Rodeo benefit a University of Arizona scholarship fund for student rodeo athletes, the Downtown Lion’s Club, Rotary Clubs and 4-H Groups.
See more at tucsonrodeo.com