The 32nd annual Fiesta Days Rodeo will take place April 7-11 in Cave Creek. The festivities, which kick-off with a golf tournament at Rancho Manana on April 7, include live music, a parade, three sessions of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, the women’s rodeo as well as a rodeo competition for children.
Fiesta Days celebrate 32 years in Cave
Marc Buckhout ~ Managing Editor ~ 4/1/2010
For 32 years the Fiesta Days Rodeo has been a celebration of the Western heritage of Cave Creek.
Each year Chris Wilson, the president of the Desert Foothills Community Association, which is organizing the rodeo and parade, said the goal is to build on what has been done before.
“We want to continually add to it,” he said. “The more we can do, the better environment we can create, means more people will look forward to coming out here following year.”
The week of April 7-11 the latest edition of the event will kick-off with a golf tournament at Rancho Manana Golf Tournament. The five-day event won’t wind to a close until the third and final rodeo session of the weekend gets under way at 2 p.m. on Sunday at Cave Creek’s Memorial Arena.
Wilson, the son of the late Wayne Wilson, who was instrumental in the event’s success throughout much of its run, said he is excited to bring in the band Durango to perform from 11 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. on April 10. The group plays a mix of country and southern rock.
The live entertainment will bridge the gap between the end of the parade, which gets under way at 9 a.m. The parade route begins just west of Town Hall and travels north along Cave Creek Road. More than 100 entries are expected for this year’s parade, which is expected to last two hours. Among the parade entries is the horse Colorado, which was rescued by helicopter earlier this month off of the Gila River.
Several merchants along the parade route are providing seating for the event.
Memorial Arena, 37201 N. 28th St., will be the site of events April 8-11. The first event is the Miss Arizona Rodeo Pageant, which will take place on April 8.
The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association will have three rodeos during the weekend with events at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. on April 10 and at 2 p.m. on April 11.
Wilson said the festivities at intermission of the competitions also will be different than in years past. This year Pro Tour FMX representatives will do a variety of X Games motorcycle stunts.
“We just think it’s a good chance to draw a wider audience,” he said.
Wilson said that he’s hoping more entertainment and better weather will help provide for better crowds this season.
“Last year we only drew about 2,000 per show,” he said. “We had been pretty steady around 2,500 for a couple year, but we’re hoping this year we’ll approach our capacity which is 3,000.”
Phoenix resident Jayme Tomczyk has been competing in the Cave Creek event since 2002 and said he looks forward to it every year.
“About every year I’ve been there they pack the place out,” he said. “Since I’m from the Valley I usually have a bunch of family and friends come out in Cave Creek. They have good shoot gates, the arena dirt is softer than a lot of places and the stands are just set up really well. It’s always a great show for the fans.”
Tomczyk said there are some misconceptions about bull riding.
“A lot of people seem to believe it’s the riders strength pitted against the strength of a 2,000 pound animal,” he said. “Obviously it would never work if that’s what it was about. You’re really the bull’s dancing partner. You have to react to what he does and is all you’re trying to do is avoid getting your feet stepped on.”
After 17 years as a bull rider Tomczyk said some things about his profession have changed and some have remained the same.
“The first time I got on a bull it was an incredible adrenaline rush,” he said. “About a year in that goes away, you don’t get the butterflies anymore. For me it’s like another day mowing the lawn. What has never changed is the thrill you get when you complete a really good ride. That rush you get when the crowd reacts is still a great feeling.”
In addition to the three men’s competition, which cost $10 for admissions for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12, there is also a Women’s Rodeo beginning at 10:30 a.m. on April 9. That event is free.
Later in the evening children get to wet their appetite for rodeo when ages 4-7, weighing less than 75 pounds, will be given the chance to compete in Mutton Bustin.
For a $5 entry fee contestants will get the chance to ride a sheep. The longest rides in each age group (4, 5, 6, 7) will advance to the finals on Sunday. Winners on Sunday will receive an official Rodeo Belt Buckle.
Walker said the event is widely popular.
“It’s really something to see,” he said. “The kids love it and the parents and the rest of the adults just love watching. I think it was close to 140 kids that we had compete last year.”
After the rodeo competitions wind down Friday and Saturday Harold’s Cave Creek Corral is the site for the Rodeo Dances at Harold’s Cave Creek Corral featuring Mogollon and Young Country.
No matter what event it is that draws people Wilson said Cave Creek knows how to make it a memorable experience.
“I think the strength of our venue is its closeness to Cave Creek and all the surrounding amenities including the hotels and everything else,” he said. “Then you’ve got the mountain views which can only be described as spectacular. You can see the mountains to the north, east and south and then you see the view of the city lights at night. It’s really a great place to be this time of year.”
For information about the Fiesta Days Rodeo go to cavecreekrodeo.com or call 480-488-4043.