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For the Record: La Fiesta de los Vaqueros

Since 1944, cowboys have had a lot to celebrate at La Fiesta de los Vaqueros in Tucson, Ariz. This iconic, Southwestern rodeo has featured some of ProRodeo’s biggest names as they compete for one of the biggest payouts of the year.

In 2017, the Tucson rodeo set an arena record for total payout as the 23rd largest PRCA rodeo of the year with $331,218.

With such a large payout, it’s not uncommon for cowboys to leave Tucson with more than $10,000, but only the best make the arena record book. 

Cowboys have from Feb. 17-25 to leave their mark at La Fiesta de los Vaqueros if they can top the following arena records.

Cody DeMers set the arena record for most money won in all-around with $14,025 in 2007. 

Bareback riding’s competition was fierce in 2006, as two records were set. Ryan Gray had a 92-point ride and Jessy Davis made 178 points on two head. 

Five steer wrestlers share the Tucson arena record of 3.8 seconds – Lynn Nieveen, Brian Bauerle and Cash Myers (2002), Travis Carnine (2011), and Curtis Cassidy (2017). The three-run average record of 13.6 seconds was set by Josh Peek in 2011 and matched by Casey McMillen in 2013. 

Two pairs of team ropers set the Tucson arena record of 4.9 seconds in 2008, Matt Sherwood and Randon Adams, and Derrick Begay and Victor Aros. Their record time of 4.9 seconds was matched by Spencer Mitchell and Broc Cresta in 2011. The three-run average record of 17.1 seconds was set by Travis Tryan and Matt Zancanella in 2003. 

Saddle bronc rider Zeke Thurston set the arena record in 2015 with his 90-point ride. The two-head average record of 176 points was set by Billy Etbauer in 2004. 

Tucson’s longest-standing arena records belong to two tie-down ropers. Jim C. Smith made a 7.7-second run in 1993 and Rusty Sewalt clocked in at 26.6 seconds on three runs that same year. 

Barrel racer Barbara Merrill holds the Tucson record with her 16.97-second run in 2004. The three-run average record of 51.66 seconds was set by Charmayne James in 1997. 

Bull rider Dustin Elliott (pictured above and at left) set the Tucson arena record of 93 points in 2006, which helped him also set the two-head average record of 181 points. 
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