Gila Valley Pioneer Day Celebration Schedule

The annual Gila Valley Pioneer Day Celebration will be 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 7:00 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.  The show is expected to last about 90-minutes.

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 will be stick horse races, cow hide races, greased pigs and money steers, cowboy musical chairs and ribbon and team roping.  Entries will be taken between 6:00 – 6:45 on the day of the Rodeo.  The rodeo will take place 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 please contact Troy Judd: 520-507-7000

A Family Dance is scheduled for 8:30 PM on Friday evening. 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,  a whole day of activities is planned, starting with the Pioneer Days 5K and Fun Run.  The Fun Run will start at 6:00 am at the Thatcher High School parking lot with the 5K beginning immediately after. There is a $12 entry fee to cover the cost of the shirt and registration. To guarantee that you receive a shirt you must register by 6:00 p.m. on July 10th. 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 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. in local school gymnasiums.  Registration is due by 5:00 p.m. on July 16th.  The cost is $50.00 per team.  The games are 6-on-6, but there must be 2 men and 2 women on the court at all times. You can have up to 8 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

A 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament is scheduled for Saturday afternoon.   This will run from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. at local school gymnasiums.  Registration is due by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 16th.  12 & under: $20/team, 16 & under: $25/team, open $30/team.  You can have up to 5 players on your team. There will be 3 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.

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 activities will start off with the traditional parade at 5:30 PM.  The parade will be staging along Third Avenue by the Thatcher High School parking lot at 4:30 PM.  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 ball fields in that area.

Fun, food and friends will be available starting at 5:30 PM at the Eastern Arizona College Football Fields where they’ll be setup to provide a delicious BBQ dinner with all the fixings for $5.00 a plate, $1.00 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