Rodeo History

The Arizona & Southwestern Railroad was a 36 mile long route from the Copper Queen Mine in Bisbee, Arizona to a connection with the Santa Fe's Arizona & New Mexico Railraod at Fairbank, Arizona built in 1889. The objective was to transport copper from Bisbee to an El Paso refinery. At the turn of the century, Phelps Dodge replace the smelter at Bisbee with one in Douglas, Arizona.

oldpic.jpgIn 1901, Phelps Dodge formed the El Paso & Southwestern Railroad Company and extended its line from Douglas, Arizona to El Paso, Texas. Completed in 1902, the railroad line consisted of 291 miles of track from El Paso to Benson, Arizona, with 40 miles of branch lines.

Along this route was Rodeo, an important shipping point for livestock. The name  came from the Spanish for "roundup, enclosure."  This could have been referring to the shape of Hwy 80, which dips from I-10 south to Rodeo and then across to Douglas, returning north to I-10. The route resembles the shape of a lasso.

Rodeo Map

Here is a map of places to see in Rodeo!

Rodeo Community Center

The community center is often the hub of community activities and events. Church services are often held here, as are weddings, funerals, and celebrations. 


Fast Facts

Latitude 31.835rodeomap.gif

Longitude 109.031

Elevation 4,127'

Zip Code 88056

Population - Abut 230

What's Going On?

Rodeo has evolved into an art center, attracting artists both in New Mexico and in Arizona. The Chriricahua Art Museum, Robert McKasson Gallery, Annie George Saddlery, and various well-known artists invite visitors to explore and enjoy. 

There are hiking, bird-watching, amenities, and  area celebrations (there is always a 4th of July parade) to bring visitors in. The Rodeo Tavern is famous for steaks and Shrimp Night.


The Chricahua Desert Museum, a few miles north of Rodeo, treats visitors to native plants and wildlife, an extensive gift shop,  and an amazing exhibit of reptiles. There is an Event Center and Lodge nearby, also.  




For a list of attractions, check the Rodeo web site page.

Rodeo Tavern

tavernsm.jpgBuilt in 1915 , the Rodeo Tavern is a Rodeo landmark. The tavern was part of a group of buildings serving travelers between El Paso and Tucson before I-10 was built. When Arizona passed Prohibition laws, Rodeo became a busy destination for alcohol and other amenities.

In 1947, Charles Campbell painted the murals still present in the Tavern to repay a bar tab. When the railroad was closed and the interstate built, the business in Rodeo dropped drastically. The building fell into disuse, but was purchased in 1994 by the present owners, Rob and Debbie.

The Tavern is open from 4-11 PM Wednesday through Saturday and the kitchen from 5-9 PM.  Wednesday night is All You Can Eat Shrimp (Boiled or Fried) and every night is a full menu of steak, burgers, salmon, and the fixings. The kitchen is now open for lunch on Fridays & Saturdays from 11am to 2pm.