Big weekend for the Tucson Rodeo

Big weekend for the Tucson Rodeo

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Rodeo brings tens of thousands of fans to Tucson every year for the annual La Fiesta de los Vaqueros.

25,000 fans are expected for the final weekend this year, which is just a bit over capacity but with the nice weather and increased purses, the estimate is likely not far off.

"A guy who comes to this rodeo can make $10,000," said Justin Rumford, a former rodeo clown who is tending to the buckin' horses this weekend.

Rumford stresses how the horses are bred generation to generation to do what they do, to buck.

"Many of the horses here are fourth generation," he said. "It's what they're bred to do."

He says the horses are well maintained, with regular vet visits, a nutritionist, plenty of exercise and good food.

"All the hay here has been shipped in from Oklahoma," he said. "So when these animals travel, they don't have to have a different kind of hay they're not used to."

He says that way the horses don't get overfed or get an upset stomach which can lead to a bad performance.

And when it comes to the bucking competition, the horse matters as much as the cowboy.

"It's a scale of 1 to 50 for the cowboy," he said. "And 1 to 50 on the horse."

So the better the horse, the better the chance a cowboy has of winning.

There are 600 cowboys participating in the events in Tucson including the popular bull riding.

Many of the cowboys fly into Tucson, participate and then fly to another event since there are multiple rodeos going on at the same time.

If they place well the first day out, they may come back or not leave at all. Depends on how they perform together.

"It's a dance. It's man versus beast but you gotta be in sync," Rumford said "You're judged on how you look, presentation, so the better the horse, combined with your talents, you can make a lot of money."

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