La Fiesta de los Vaqueros

(Celebration of Cowboys)



Photo by: Louise Serpa


The Tucson Rodeo, also known as "La Fiesta de los Vaqueros" first started in 1925. It began as a three day event and competition. The first Tucson Rodeo was held during the time of the Prohibition. Leighton Kramer, president of the Arizona Polo Association came up with the idea to have a rodeo. This  "fiesta" started as an idea to attract visitors and tourists to Tucson during the mid-winter season. The large amount of visitors that came to Tucson for the rodeo is what triggered the town to clean up it's act. Along with the rodeo, they also held a large parade. The first parade consisted of 300 people. The event was created to give visitors a  taste of the world of cowboys and glamorize the Wild West. Local ranches were represented on horseback, mounted polo players wore their white helmets and bright silk shirts, and the 10th Cavalry and 25th Infantry bands provided great music. The leaders of the city and the University of Arizona declared this day, February 21, 1925, a city-wide holiday. The first Tucson rodeo was held at Kramer Field. The rodeo included four events, steer wrestling, steer tying, calf roping, and cattle bronc riding. The prize for winners was $6,650. As a result of rapid growth,  La Fiesta de los Vaqueros moved to the abandoned municipal airport field. The 1932 Tucson Rodeo opened the grounds, with seating for 3,000 and parking for 59 cars. The festival grew to five days in 1993 and then involved a Women's Championship Rodeo in 2000. In 2004, the event added a PRCA sanctioned Bull Riding Competition. The Tucson Rodeo has featured a numerous amount of Western entertainers. The Tucson Rodeo know seats 11,000 people. The Tucson rodeo, being of idea climate and full grandstands, has set the scene for many well-known Western films including, "The Lusty Men" (1952), "Arena" (1954), and 8 seconds (1994). It also been featured on Showtime and ABC's Wide World of Sports. The prize money at the rodeo now exceeds $320,000 and is among the top 25 rodeos in North America. The Tucson Rodeo Committee was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 2008 for their large and notable contributions to the world of rodeo. They were also inducted into the Pima County Hall of Fame in 2006.


Photo by: Louise Serpa


Today, the event has expanded over nine days. The event now features cowboys from the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association that have been world champions. The best of the best in pro rodeo appear at this prestigious event every year. It is the first outdoor rodeo of the season so competitors are excited and ready to give their best. The Tucson Rodeo is the world's longest non-motorized parade. It is two hours long and attracts 200,000 guests per year. The rodeo enlists over 650 contestants coming from the United States and Canada to compete for more than $460,000 in prize money. The events featured at the Tucson Rodeo include, bull riding, bareback and saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, tie-down roping, team roping and women’s barrel racing. Kids events are also a fun time for 4-6 year olds to test their rodeo skills. The Tucson Rodeo Committee and Tucson Rodeo Parade Committee, both volunteer-based, nonprofit community groups, put on 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 ClubRotary Clubs and 4-H Groups.

The Tucson Rodeo is extremely generous to their guests. With the purchase of one ticket, comes with free lunch, parking, and 3 free drinks. Kids come and enjoy hanging at the rodeo with friends and family! The Tucson Rodeo is a place for families to enjoy a good time of old school rituals. The Tucson Rodeo also allows outside sponsorship for upcoming companies. There are several different rates for the type of sponsorship a person is looking for.



Each February since 1925, local Tucsonans and local groups prepare for the annual  "Celebration of the Cowboys." The Tucson Rodeo Parade almost always begins at Park Ave. and Ajo Way and ends at The Tucson Rodeo Grounds. While this parade has been happening for many years, many of the locals were not too happy when it first started. They believed it to be too pretentious and some even thought that there shouldn't be a Tucson Rodeo let alone a parade to go along with it. The town back then was very peaceful and quiet with only dirt roads, hardly any street signs, and the town already was surrounded by ranches. Therefore, people thought there was no need to create a huge rodeo. While so many people were against the rodeo and parade in general, both were huge successes. The Tucson Rodeo has been alive since 1925, and there is expected another one on February 20th, 2020! It is known to be the largest non-motorized parade in the country. Kids, cowboys, cowgirls, and horses walk the streets of Tucson in honor of the rodeo! Although in the beginning locals weren't happy about it, nowHundreds of people show up to walk in the parade, while people come outside their homes to watch. It brings the community together.

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  • Over 1,000 horses participate in the Tucson Rodeo
  • Over 2,000 cowboys hats are sold every year 
  • Tucson is the only metro area that closes it's schools during the week of the rodeo so that local can participate and enjoy the parade and the rodeo
  • Tucson is the only outdoor rodeo from mid-September through early May among the top 25 PRCA rodeos.
  • Bull riding and barrel racing are the favorite events


Chicks n Chaps is an organization that raises money for breast cancer programs, research, and patients in local communities. At the same time, teaching women about the fun sport of rodeo in a 'girls day' atmosphere. in the morning, they practice how to lasso with cowgirls and cowboys. Even the UA Rodeo Team comes to support! This event includes a brunch and auction featuring items donated by the local business. All participants who come will receive a goodie bag and a Chicks n Chaps t-shirt to take home and support breast cancer awareness! 

Chicks n’ Chaps


The Rodeo Education and Children (REACh) is an educational program that celebrated the historic sport of rodeo and the spirit of the American West. This program is offered to all local schools nearby, and almost all schools attend because its a fun field trip experience for the kids. REACh includes k-6 grade only, educating them about the importance of learning the traditional western habits. since 1991, three million students in 31 states have participated in this wonderful learning experience. 

REACh Program


Saturday, Feb. 15th:

       -11.00am- Gates open 

       -Noon- Coors Barn opens

       -12:30pm- RAM Mutton Bustin' and Justin Junior Rodeo

       -2:00- 4:30pm- ProRodeo Competition 

       - 4-8pm- Coors Barn Dance- $5 online or a the door 


4823 S 6th Ave, Tucson, AZ 85714

Thursday 8AM–5PM
Friday 8AM–5PM
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed
Monday 8AM–5PM
Tuesday 8AM–5PM
Wednesday 8AM–5PM