The Quail Creek Photography Club sets its sights on the Tucson Rodeo

Robert Thoresen

The Tucson Rodeo Parade originated in February 1925. At that time it preceded the Tucson Rodeo and was a one-day event, both of which were conceived with the thought that they could benefit Tucson’s economy by attracting tourists. The plan worked! Now, more than ninety years later, both are going strong. The original parade traversed downtown Tucson. The parade currently moves from the rodeo grounds and along Irvington Road.

Not long after the first parade and rodeo, a group formed to present both the Parade and Rodeo and began acquiring horse-drawn vehicles. Since 1925 the Parade Committee has acquired over 125 vehicles, most of which were donated. Volunteers do all tours and restoration work as well as maintenance.

The museum (4823 S. 6th Avenue) is continually interested in donations that permit it to expand the facility. Anything historic is sought which is reflected in the eclectic nature of the exhibits from a 1890 model railroad layout, the multitude of carriages and wagons to the front registration desk of the long gone El Con Resort Hotel.

Museum Guide George Delong provided a very thorough tour of the facility with its various exhibits in four display buildings. With the exception of Duncan Renaldo’s (TV’s Cisco Kid), truck-pulled horse trailer for his mighty stead Diablo, all displayed vehicles are horse drawn. To coincide with today’s current political debate it is noted that Duncan claimed his cinema fame while an illegal immigrant; original place of birth was Romania (jumped ship as a seaman).

In the main Adobe Building, among an assortment of vehicles, there are several Fringe Top Surreys which were actually rented for use in the filming of the movie version of Oklahoma, filmed here in southern Arizona. (Elgin and Sonoita).

At the old airport hangar one will find a wide variety of our horse-drawn commercial vehicles to include Tucson’s first chemical fire wagon, the city’s first garbage truck, freight wagons, sleds and sleighs (donated mostly from frosty Michigan), and circus related vehicles. A farm/ranch machinery and tools exhibit is also featured.

The Christopher Barn holds many vehicles which are used in the annual Tucson Rodeo Parade. Mud-wagon stagecoaches, a school bus, English Park Drag coaches and a Tucson police paddy wagon. There are also four wagons made in Tucson by the Frederick Ronstadt Wagon Works (that would be Linda Ronstadt’s grandfather).

The Buggy Barn includes wagons and carriages with rich historical significance. Most significant among these is the famous Maximilian and Carlotta coronation carriage made in France.

After three hours and getting buggy, club members took off at noon to conclude the photo shoot with lunch at the Barrio Brewery (South Tucson 800 East 16th Street at Toole Street). Trip Advisor rates the Barrio Brewery No. 3 of 30 pubs and bars in Tucson and No. 84 of all 1562 restaurants in Tucson. A large variety of handheld sandwiches comprise the menu. Readnwrit, who visited last August, reported, “The food was delicious! We took an Uber out to this place as we weren’t sure we could find it ourselves. There is another place called the Barrio downtown, but this place brews its own beer. I had their lightest one and it was tasty! The foods I tried were scrumptious! The appetizers: potato skins, wings and the quesadilla I had were fabulous.” This writer has no dispute with the quoted response.

The PCQC was formed in 2009 and makes regularly scheduled field trips throughout the year. All Quail Creek residents are invited to the monthly meetings the second Wednesday of the month at the Kino Conference Center. For current events and further details go to the club’s website at