Rotary Roundup returns Old West lifestyle to Pima

Contributed Photo/Courtesy Jenny Howard: Head to the Vard Lines Roping Arena this Saturday, March 4, for the second annual Gila Valley Rotary Club Roundup, featuring a chuck wagon dinner.

By Jon Johnson

PIMA – If you’ve got a hankerin’ for some good ol’ boy chuck wagon food, looking to see Wild West gunfights, barrel racing and roping events or how your chili stands against competition, then the second annual Gila Valley Rotary Club Roundup is just the event you’ve been waiting for.

Organizer Chris Gibbs said the event is a perfect fit for the area.

“One of the things that this Valley was lacking, we felt, was a signature Spring event,” Gibbs said. “Since we celebrate the pioneers and the Old West and all of that, a Spring roundup is a natural.”

Contributed Photo/Courtesy Jenny Howard: The second annual Gila Valley Rotary Club Roundup is a western lover’s delight.

The event will take place all day this Saturday, March 4, at the Vard Lines Roping Arena in Pima at 1200 South 800 West. Festivities will open at 10 a.m., featuring more than seven hours of western entertainment.   

There will be family and children’s games all day, and the festival opens with rocket launches from the Eastern Arizona College Rocketry class at 10:30 a.m., which is also the start of the barrel racing in the gymkhana, which continues until 4:30 p.m. After the barrel racing, there will be roping events from 5 to 8 p.m.

Along with the events, there will also be live entertainment all day, including gunfights. There will also be Western vendors, tethered ballon rides after 1 p.m. and a chili cook-off. The chili cook-off takes place from 8 a.m. to noon and the food must be in unopened containers with receipts and prepared on-site. For more information on the chili cook-off or to enter contact Andrew Knudsen at 480-518-7477.

The signature of the family event is, of course, the chuck wagon dinner competition that starts at 4 p.m. There will be six different chuck wagons cooking up a variety of Old West cowboy food. Tickets for the dinner are just $15 each and are limited to only 300 dinners. Contact Mallene Elicio at NCE Security or any Gila Valley Rotary Club member for tickets.

Proceeds from the event will benefit students in the Gila Valley.

For more information contact Gibbs at 322-0704.