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Economic kick—Rodeo and Tucson’s economy

Posted at 7:25 PM, Feb 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-17 21:25:25-05

TUCSON Ariz. - Tucson’s annual Fiesta Del Los Vaqueros is more than a celebration of western traditions. It’s a big boost to the economy.

A lot goes into this event. A lot of people, a lot of animals and a lot of money. They combine to put an extra kick into the economy.

The rodeo is a celebration of the ranching and cowboy culture that helped settle the west. It’s a culture where you get your hands dirty—-and your jeans too.

And when that happens it kicks up the business for places like the Maytag Lava Jet Laundry. Francisco Rodriguez figures rodeo raises his business about 25 percent. He says rodeo laundry can be challenging laundry.

“You could say it’s been more muddier you know as the things that go with the rodeo but it’s just a challenge for us. The dirtier it comes in the cleaner it goes out, just makes us feel better about the job.”

And a lot of money flows out of those jeans. Rodeo General Manager Gary Williams says a few years ago a study estimated the rodeo’s financial impact at 15 million dollars and he thinks it’s probably higher now.

“The money gets spent at gas stations and restaurants and feed stores, again we have a large 29 percent of our attendees identify themselves as from out of state and about half of those say they come here just for the rodeo.”

There’s a lot of spending on food too and not just for hungry cowboys and spectators. Around here eating like a horse is not just a figure of speech.

Hotels are certainly a big part of the impact, but also the RVs and trailers that are a standard part of the lifestyle here. They can need repair, and that’s a boost to that part of the economy.