This page is from the book, “Entertaining Tucson Across the Decades,” in volume one of a three volume set available on Amazon.com.
The Tucson Rodeo Parade is the longest non- motorized parade in the nation. This Tucson tradition, started in 1925, brings the vibrant history and colors of the Southwest to life each February in conjunction with La Fiesta de los Vaqueros, the Tucson Rodeo.
Over 150,000 spectators line Tucson streets each year in anticipation of this historic event. The Rodeo Parade is broadcast live on KOLD-TV channel 13 and Public Access TV.
The starting point of the Annual Tucson Rodeo Parade is Ajo and Park Avenues – restoring the traditional 2.5- mile parade route. The Parade begins at 9:00AM and proceeds south on Park Avenue to Irvington Road, then west past the grandstand viewing area to South Sixth Avenue and north to the Rodeo Grounds.
The parade is FREE to spectators along most of its route. Included in the procession are local and national dignitaries, Native American royalty and performers, historical wagons and colorful floats, marching bands and mariachis, royalty from five rodeos and working cowboys. The League of Mexican-American Women and Mormon Battalion are entries that have been in the parade greater than 30 consecutive years.
For more information visit EMOL’s section on the Tucson Rodeo and parade.
History of the Tucson Rodeo Parade
The Rodeo parade was conceived in 1924, when Frederick Leighton Kramer, , President of the Arizona Polo Association, and later recognized as the Founder of the Tucson Rodeo and Rodeo Parade, gathered a group of local business men to discuss the possibility of having a Rodeo. This was the inspiration and moving force that made it possible for the Tucson Rodeo and Tucson Rodeo Parade to take place on February 21, 1925.
The first rodeo and parade brought out the best in Tucson nightlife. Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Golden Bed” was playing at the Rialto Theater and at the Opera House, Thomas Meigan starred in “Tongues of Flame.” The rodeo dance at the Santa Rita Hotel the night before was well attended by tourists, cowboys, cowgirls and local society members. Sleeping accommodations were scarce, and pleas went out to hotels and private homes to spare a bedroom. Taxi rides from downtown to the rodeo grounds were set at $.25 for a party of four.
Source: Entertainment Magazine On Line (EMOL.org/tucsonrodeo) and Tucson Rodeo Parade Committee.