Gila Valley Pioneer Days schedule

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald

This year’s theme is “Honoring all Pioneers”

Contributed Article

Announcing the schedule for the annual Gila Valley Pioneer Day Celebration held Friday and Saturday, July 19-20.  The theme for this year’s event is “Honoring all Pioneers.”

There are lots of events on both Friday and Saturday. 

The Variety Show begins at 7 p.m., Friday evening, at the David M. Player Center for the Arts.  Bring family and friends for a variety of entertainment including music, dancing, comedy, and more.  Tickets are for general admission and are $3 (cash only) at the door.  Expect about a 90-minute show.

Fans of the Rodeo will be pleased to know that Pima is hosting a good old-fashioned family rodeo.  Anyone with a horse can participate in the Grand Entry.  There’ll be stick horse races, cowhide races, greased pigs and money steers, cowboy musical chairs and ribbon, and team roping.  Entries will be taken between 6 – 6:45 p.m. on the day of the rodeo.  All of this is at the Vard Lines Arena in Pima, at the intersection of 1200 South/Cottonwood Wash Road and 800 West, just southwest of the Pima Cemetery.  For more information contact Troy Judd at 520-507-7000.

Jon Johnson Video/Gila Herald: Pioneer Days Rodeo 2017 highlight video

A Family Dance will start at 8:30 p.m., Friday. Bring the family and enjoy an evening of dancing at the Pima Stake Center parking lot. Dress is casual. We’ll be dancing until 10:30 p.m., so don’t forget to bring your lawn chairs and plenty of water to drink.

On Saturday, we have a whole day of activities planned, starting with the Pioneer Days 5K and Fun Run. The Fun Run will start at 6 a.m. at the Thatcher High School parking lot, with the 5K beginning immediately after. There will be a $12 entry fee to cover the cost of the shirt and registration. Awards and prizes will be given out to the top finishers. Bring your family and be a part of a fun Gila Valley Pioneer Day tradition. For any questions, call Rhett Dodge at 928-965-1143. To register, go to

After the runs, there will be a Co-Ed Volleyball Tournament from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. in local school gymnasiums. Registration is due by 5 p.m. on July 16. The cost is $50.00 per team. The games are six-on-six, but there must be two men and two women on the court at all times. You can have up to eight players on the roster. There will be “A” and “B” divisions. Whoever registers the team (with an email address) will be designated as the team captain. Team captains will be responsible to disseminate game times and places.

Games will be timed, and the scoring will be rally scoring. Each team will have several round-robin games, and then at the end, there will be a single-elimination tournament. To register, go to

Saturday afternoon will have a 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament. This will run from 1 – 5 p.m. at local school gymnasiums. Registration is due by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 16. Registration costs include 12 & under: $20/team, 16 & under: $25/team, open $30/team. You can have up to five players on your team. There will be three divisions: 12 & under16 & under and open. You must have a captain register (it doesn’t have to be a player—it will be whoever pays online and gives their email address). Team captains will be responsible to disseminate game times and places.

Contributed Photo: The deadline to register for the Pioneer Days sports events is Tuesday, July 16.

All games will be timed and scoring will be: two points for a 3-pointer, one point for every other shot (unless the court doesn’t have a 3-point line, then every shot will be 2 points). Every team will be guaranteed several round-robin games and then there will be a single-elimination tournament. For more information and to register, go to

Saturday evening starts off with the traditional parade.  The parade will be staging along Third Avenue by the Thatcher High School parking lot. Everyone will line up facing north between the Seminary building and the Thatcher High School buildings. Floats can enter off First Avenue onto Eagle Drive, which turns on to Third Avenue. Bring your lawn chair and watch the fun as the parade travels west on Church Street in Thatcher, turns and heads south on Stadium Avenue, then past the splash pad and disperses at the Thatcher ballfields in that area.

Stop by the Eastern Arizona College Football Fields where we’re set up to provide a delicious BBQ dinner with all the fixings for $5 a plate, $1 for drinks (cash only, please). Other food vendors will be available to tempt you with their offerings. We’ll also have games for everyone while we’re eating and waiting for the finale of the evening – a large fireworks show.

For more information and to sign up for the different events, please visit

Jon Johnson Video/Gila Herald

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