Tales from the Morgue: The first Fiesta de los Vaqueros

2010-02-25T12:00:00Z 2014-02-14T13:00:25Z Tales from the Morgue: The first Fiesta de los VaquerosJohanna Eubank, Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 25, 2010 12:00 pm  • 

The very first Fiesta de los Vaqueros began Feb. 21, 1925, the brain child of Leighton Kramer and the Arizona Polo association.

The rodeo took place at the Santa Catalina field. As noted in the Arizona Daily Star Feb. 21, 1925:

The field, now complete with its grandstands, graded surface, and well fenced corrals, was but a month ago, an uncleared strip of desert country near the country home of Leighton Kramer, president of the Polo association.

Kramer and other Tucson businessmen began planning the rodeo more than a year before it came to pass. Kramer's donation of the land for the rodeo, also to be used for polo, helped make the idea come to fruition. From the above-mentioned article:

With the undertaking underwritten by a large number of responsible citizens of the community, the rodeo plan, once started, moved forward rapidly, and the contracts of some of the best talent in the game came about in answer to the offer of $4300 in prize money, with a $250 saddle added for the riding events.

The committee planned to make the rodeo an annual event. It seemed well on its way the first year. So many visitors came to see the parade and rodeo that the city had to advertise for vacant beds, asking residents to open their spare rooms and sleeping porches to accommodate guests.

Next: Preparations for the parade, and boy, have prizes changed since 1925.

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About this blog

"Tales from the Morgue" is a way for the Star to share stories from the treasure trove of information held in its old files.

Johanna Eubank, aka the Morgue Lady, was a research assistant in the Star Library — also known as News and Research Services — for 18 years before becoming an online content producer. She has had her share of sneezing fits after digging into dusty old files, so she's sure to find a few old stories to re-examine.

If you have suggestions, comments or questions about this blog, e-mail jeubank@tucson.com

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