Citizen Staff Writer
By B. POOLE, ERIC SAGARA, and CLAUDINE LOMONACO
A lot of people turn out to watch the annual Tucson Rodeo Parade. But the crowd counts, as Mark Twain said about reports of his death, “have been greatly exaggerated.”
It’s quality, not quantity, that matters, paradegoers agree. And they got an eyeful and earful yesterday on South Park Avenue and East Irvington Road.
Parade Committee publicity chairman Bob Johnson estimated the crowd at about 175,000-180,000.
“We still have numbers coming in, so those numbers aren’t final,” he said.
People were standing about five deep along both sides of the 2.1 mile route – up to 10 deep at intersections and one deep for long stretches of Park and Irvington. Bleachers on Irvington held an estimated 4,500 people.
Figuring about 24 inches across for each person and a crowd depth of five for the entire route would result in a count of about 55,440.
At that crowd density, the parade would have to be 6.6 miles long to accommodate 175,000-180,000 viewers.
To fit that many people into the 2.1-mile parade route, the crowd would’ve had to have been nearly 16 deep.
Johnson expects to have a final count by Tuesday.
Parade watchers offered their own estimates.
Eight-year-old Ryan Heuser guessed around 20,000. Danny Riesgo, 51, said it had to be over 100,000.
Elizabeth Lynch has been coming to the parade since she was a kid and now brings her own kids.
She doesn’t particularly care what the official count was or how many people really showed up.
“If there were only 10 of us or 200,000, I’d still be here. It’s a great tradition.”