Mul-Chu-Tha parade brings out thousands to GRIC’s annual Fair & Rodeo
March 17, 2017
Thomas R. Throssell
Gila River Indian News
Fair & Rodeo kicked-off with a spectacular parade, on the morning of March 11, with thousands of Gila River Indian Community members and guests lining both sides of Bluebird Road waiting to catch a glimpse of the 87 floats and host of performers that made up the parade.
Parade-goers munched on breakfast burritos and bowls of menudo as the parade floats wound their way through the large crowd, led by the Haskell Osife-Antone American Legion Post 51 color guard.
Parade Grand Marshalls were Pat Smith, who helped organize the very first Mul-Chu-Tha in 1962, and Sylvia Jackson-Miguel and Joella Pasqual-Velasco, who were contestants in the very first Miss Gila River pageant. Veteran and Elder of the Year was 90-year-old Leslie Pasqual, who is the last remaining World War II veteran in the Community.
Dignitaries were out in force including Gila River Indian Community Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis, Lt. Gov. Monica Antone, Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Edward Manuel and Vice Chairman Verlon Jose, and Ak-Chin Indian Community’s Chairman Robert Miguel and Vice-Chairman Gabriel Lopez.
Royalty from all over Indian Country came out to represent their tribes with the newly appointed 2017-2018 Miss Gila River Anissa Garcia and Jr. Miss Gila River Haili Gonzales leading the pack. Also at the parade were Miss Indian Arizona Shandiin Parrish, 2017-2018 Miss Tohono O’odham Nation Nichole Manuel, 2016-2017 Miss San Carlos Apache Kaelie Nash, and Miss Fort McDowell Maykala Doka, and many more.
As the parade came to an end, thousands of excited carnival-goers poured into the 55th Annual Mul-Chu-Tha Fair & Rodeo grounds to enjoy a host of activities including an All Indian Rodeo, Battle of the Bands, horseshoe tournament, powwow, and musical headliners Frankie J and Q of 112.
While the fairground was filled with tons of entertainment, vendors were also serving up delicious treats to famished fair-goers. Food vendors filled the bellies of families with curly fries doused in chili, Indian tacos, and burritos, while refreshing them with ice-cold lemonades and citrusy Texas Twisters.
This year’s Mul-Chu-Tha Fair & Rodeo was filled with a variety of tournaments and festivities, which took place over a period of two weeks beginning in early March. Activities included a baseball, tee-ball, and little league tournament, a co-ed slow-pitch softball tournament, elder chair volleyball tournament, wood chopping competition, popover contest, annual footrace half-marathon and walk, thoka tournament, songivu’l tournament, gospel jam, men’s and women’s basketball tournament, and Sac City Throwdown skate competition, and of course a variety of great food and delicious beverages.