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Contact: Hale Sargent, 415-623-2344
In its public debut, the Anza Trail Coalition of Arizona Color Guard shared top honors at the 88th annual Tucson Rodeo Parade on February 21, 2013.
La Fiesta de los Vaqueros, as the event is known, bills itself as the world's largest non-motorized parade. The celebration is a cultural fixture in Tucson; local schools are closed for the event, and it is broadcast live on local television.
The parade committee awarded its Chairman's Award to the Anza Trail volunteers for exemplifying the spirit and theme of Western heritage. For this, the color guard's first public event, William Islas depicted Lt. Col. Juan Bautista de Anza, leading a contingent of Spanish colonial soldiers and settlers through the streets of Tucson. Islas traces his family lineage to a member of the Anza expedition.
The non-profit Anza Trail Coalition of Arizona developed the color guard to educate the public about the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail.
The color guard portrays men, women, and children in authentic clothing of the expedition. While primarily designed to be a mounted unit, the guard also includes participants on foot.
The Anza Trail Coalition of Arizona provides horses, transportation, and support to the color guard members, many of whom also participate at their own expense in practice drills to maintain their horsemanship skills.
Other trophy winners at this year's Fiesta de los Vaqueros included the Tucson Chinese Cultural Center and the League of Mexican-American Women.
The Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail commemorates the 1775-76 colonizing expedition of nearly 300 men, women, and children who journeyed more than 1600 miles to establish the first European settlement at San Francisco Bay. The expedition comprised families of Native American, European, and African heritage, symbolic of the rich diversity of the modern American West. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/JUBA.