Tucson Rodeo General Manager, Gary Williams, has announced his retirement. Williams is the first and only general manager in the Rodeo’s 95-year history, serving in this position for the last 26 years. Gary has been affiliated with the Tucson Rodeo Committee since 1987, serving as Marketing Chair, Rodeo Committee Vice Chair and Rodeo Committee Chair. In 1995 he was employed as the Tucson Rodeo’s first General Manager. “Over the past 26 years, there was always one constant. It was always one heck of a ride!” said Williams in his retirement letter to the Rodeo Committee.
During his time at the Tucson Rodeo, Williams was actively involved in numerous professional rodeo associations. He served on the Board of Directors for the PRCA National Finals Rodeo Committee, the largest international event in professional rodeo. Williams also served on the Pro Rodeo Committee Executive Council in the At-Large position, representing over 600 professional rodeos in the United States and Canada. Williams served as a member of the Board of Directors and as President of the Turquoise Rodeo Circuit, which includes all professional rodeos in Arizona and New Mexico.
Other professional rodeo positions held include:
• Wrangler Jeans National Rodeo Advisory Council
• Board of Directors, Justin Boots Cowboy Crisis Fund
• Chair, Pro Rodeo Strategic Planning Council
• Chair, Board of Directors, Association of Rodeo Committees
• Member, Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame Selection Committee
• Pro Rodeo Grievance Panel
Gary’s work with these associations has garnered national and international attention for the Tucson Rodeo. “Gary’s dedication, passion, and guidance, along with all our memberships’ commitment, is the reason we have achieved as well as maintained our position as a top-tier PRCA Rodeo,” said Tucson Rodeo Committee Chairman, Mark Baird.
Williams is long engrained in the rodeo community, beginning his career as a professional bull rider in 1967 and continuing until his retirement in 1983. He also performed as a rodeo clown for five years. A native Tucsonan and graduate of the University of Arizona, Williams was inducted into the Pima County Sports Hall of Fame in 2006. He also served as Human Resource and Operations Director at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum for 16 years.
Through the pandemic, Williams provided steadfast leadership and helped the Committee navigate through this unprecedented time, culminating in the difficult decision to postpone the 2021 Tucson Rodeo. Williams’ will officially retire January 18, 2021 and the Tucson Rodeo Committee will begin the process of searching for a new general manager as they begin planning for the 96th annual Tucson Rodeo which will take place February 19-27, 2022. “You have left some big boots to fill my friend. We all wish you well and cannot thank you enough for your devotion to the La Fiesta de los Vaqueros,” said Mark Baird with sincere thanks.