The 2019 Lost Dutchman Days continues to be “the fun place to be for all ages.” This 55th annual event has 3 days of Professional Rodeo action, a Carnival that features 30+ rides, and carnival attractions. The parade on Saturday morning is always a favorite and attracts thousands of spectators. Don’t forget the rodeo dance held at the Elks Lodge 2349 on Friday night, February 23rd from 7-11pm.
The 55th Annual Lost Dutchman Days Rodeo & Parade is right around the corner; but how does an event that attracts over 30,000 people from across the world end up in a little town called Apache Junction? We have the privilege of being able to let you in on this story and it’s one you won’t forget!
- A small 3-inch announcement in the November 27, 1964 issue of the Apache Sentinel, the Chamber of Commerce announced to the citizens of Apache Junction that the very first Lost Dutchman Days was coming , and will be held on January 23. That is how it started and the first Lost Dutchman Day was just that, a one day event. C A Rodgers was in charge of the pancake breakfast. Lloyd Larsen was in charge of the art show. Jack Weaver headed up the carnival committee, and Ken Miller was the honcho of the “Horse Picnic”. The Jaycees pitched in and had a barbeque, and Jeanette Lake was in charge of the dance that finished that first Lost Dutchman Day. A lot of people have a mistaken idea that Lost Dutchman Days is the evolved form of Burro Derby, an event that was started back in 1958 by the Apache Junction Lions Club. But today’s Lost Dutchman Days celebration is a combination of many fabulous events including aspects of the annual Sheriff’s Posse Rodeo and Parade. The Rodeo, Parade and a Queen contest were held in February and sometimes March. It wasn’t until 1971 that the three things came together and Lost Dutchman Days, as most people know it today, came together and was actually born. From that one day celebration in 1965, Lost Dutchman Days has grown into a major-premier event with a core three-day schedule of associated events that attract 30,000 spectators. Over the years, many evolvements have taken place, various Arenas utilized for the Rodeo, different streets became the Parade route, and various locations for the Rodeo Dance were always moving. The main stable factor remained, promoting our great City and providing quality entertainment and fun for all ages. With the assistance of so many volunteers, Organizations and our City, Lost Dutchman Days has grown over the years, far surpassing the Founders dreams back in 1964. The 55th Annual Lost Dutchman Days Rodeo & Parade is right around the corner; but how does an event that attracts over 30,000 people from across the world end up in a little town called Apache Junction? We have the privilege of being able to let you in on this story and it’s one you won’t forget! In order to do the story justice, we have to set the scene for you. Imagine, it is November in 1964. At the time, some popular “rodeo” events included timed cowhide drag, boots and saddle partnership race, jackpot roping and team tying, a $5 jackpot barrel race, flag races, potato races and ribbon races (two horses tied together at the saddle horns with a 7- or 8-foot ribbon and run through a course with barrels, taking care not to break the ribbon). These events are nothing like the popular events we know today. Back then it used to just be Lost Dutchman “Day” and it all started when the Apache Sentinel released a small 3-inch announcement in the November 27, 1964 issue, the Chamber of Commerce announced to the citizens of Apache Junction that the very first Lost Dutchman “Day” was coming , and will be held on January 23, 1965. It is absolutely crazy to think that the event we know today evolved from that small, one day event back in 1965.
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