Date of Award


Degree Type

Creative Project

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair(s)

Colleen O'Neill


Colleen O'Neill


Sue Grayzel


James Sanders


In February 1925, Tucson celebrated the first La Fiesta de Los Vaqueros with a three-day rodeo that ended with a huge parade through the city center. Created by Philadelphia-born and new resident of Tucson Frederick Leighton Kramer and other Tucson city boosters, the event became an annual fiesta with the hopes of not only promoting Tucson and a fundraiser for the University of Arizona’s newly established polo team, but also a way to share Kramer’s newfound enthusiasm for Tucson’s beauty and history. However, the history the fiesta presented centered around the Anglo-American pioneers of southern Arizona. This approach ignored the history of people who settled the area prior to its European colonization. Even so, the city boosters did not entirely exclude the history of local people in the festivities, but the limited involvement of Native Americans and ethnic Mexicans functioned more as a tool of cultural commodification than genuine inclusion. “Advertising the West: The History of La Fiesta de Los Vaqueros” details the history of the first La Fiesta de Los Vaqueros and how it was founded on commodifying and exoticizing local Indigenous groups—Tohono O’odham and present-day Pasqua Yaqui—and ethnic Mexicans. By capitalizing on the cultures of these local groups, Tucson city boosters enticed Eastern white Americans to visit the western city during the early twentieth century. This paper explores tourism in the West, racial stereotypes, rumors as forms of advertisements and fear, and how a white-washed history blanketed the history of Tucson’s local Indigenous and Mexicans communities.