The terms "Tucson Rodeo" and "La Fiesta de los Vaqueros" are protected by federal trademark and copyright law and may not be used for commercial purposes without the written permission of the Tucson Rodeo Committee, Inc. Use for editorial purposes excepted.
Welcome to La Fiesta de los Vaqueros®
Photo: Louise Serpa
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.
The 2018 Tucson Rodeo is February 17-25 at the Tucson Rodeo Grounds, 4823 S. 6th Ave. See directions.
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.
TheTucson Rodeo Committeeis a nonprofit organization goverened by 35 volunteerboard members. The Committee's mission is to produce a quality, professional rodeo event, La Fiesta de los Vaqueros, and perpetuate the tradition and cultural heritage of our community.
The Tucson Rodeo Committee began as a working committee under the Metropolitan Tucson Chamber of Commerce. In April 1987, the Committee formed a separate nonprofit corporation in order to meet the growing demands of staging this major event.
The Committee works year-round preparing for the annual La Fiesta de los Vaqueros by helping the City of Tucson maintain the Tucson Rodeo Grounds, preparing marketing and operational plans, and promoting the Tucson Rodeo and the sport of rodeo. The Tucson Rodeo is a popular event for Arizonans and vistors from the U.S., Mexico, Canada and Europe.
The Committee elects a new chair every three years. Jose Calderon is the presiding chairman, a voluntary position. Calderon began as a volunteer in 2007 and was elected to the board of directors in 2008. Calderon was elected chairman in June 2016 and will serve as chair through May 2019. Only 21 individuals have had the distinction of chairing the Committee since 1925.
Jose Calderon, Chairman
Gary Williams, Gen Mgr
There are two levels of membership in the Tucson Rodeo Committee, Inc.: Voting and Honorary. Honorary Membership includes Life Member or Los Viejos, Las Viejas status. Life members are elected to membership by a majority vote. Currently there are three active Life Members: Jim Ronstadt, Robert Trujillo and Bennie Beutler.
In 1995 the Tucson Rodeo Committee named Gary Williams its first General Manager. Williams is a former professional bull rider and clown, University of Arizona graduate, and former executive at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. Before his role as General Manager, Williams was an active member of the Tucson Rodeo Committee from 1987 to 1995 and served as its chairman from 1994-1995.
The Tucson Rodeo Committee supports its mission in part by offering free education programs to local elementary schools through a project known as REACh. REACh teaches not only about western heritage, but offers a positive and unique substance abuse and gang prevention messages. The Tucson Rodeo was among the first PRCA committees in the nation to sponsor the REACh program in 1994.
In 2005, the Committee partnered with the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to establish an endowed scholarship fund through the University of Arizona Foundation. The Tucson Rodeo Committee funds the program with a portion of the proceeds from the annual Tucson Rodeo. The Committee has provided student scholarships throughout its history and sponsors the annual University of Arizona Intercollegiate Rodeo. The UA rodeo club is the oldest collegiate rodeo club in the United States.
In July 2008, the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs inducted the Tucson Rodeo Committee for its notable achievements and contributions to professional rodeo. The Tucson Rodeo Committee and its General Manager Gary Williams were inducted into the Pima County (Ariz.) Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.
PUBLIC SAFETY PROCEDURES Know what you can and cannot bring to the Rodeo. See KNOW BEFORE YOU GO.
Sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Stock furnished by Beutler & Son Rodeo Co. Photos courtesy of Louise Serpa, Dan Hubbell, Mia Larocque and Jennifer Vimmerstedt. The terms Tucson Rodeo® and La Fiesta de los Vaqueros® are protected by federal trademark and copyright law.