Gaucho Association of Tampa
The Gaucho Association traces its roots to the Latin American Fiesta Association. The group was originally formed in the 1950's to serve as escorts to the Queen and Court of the Fiesta. The group was incorporated as The Gauchos of the Latin Fiesta in 1960. The group usually consisted of 12 to 15 members at that time. In 1987, in order to increase the size of our organization and our visibility in the Tampa Bay Area, we decided to go out on our own. The present membership level is just under 100 members and there is no limit on accepting new members, however we do have a upper level of 150 members.
Each year we participate in the Gasparilla Parade, The Krewe of the Knights of Sant 'Yago Illuminated Nite Parade, The Dunedin Mardi Gras Parade, The Rough Riders' St.Patrick's Parade, New Port Richey's Chasco Fest Parade and the Tampa Bay Veteran's Day Parade. We also serve as escorts to the Queen and Court in past and present Latin American Fiesta Association's Annual Coronation Balls.
Each year we sponsor a party which is held in January prior to the Gasparilla Parade.
The group does not have any general membership meetings, however, the membership is invited to all Board Meeting, but have no voting rights.
We do have lots of fun and provide free beer and "Doug & Jack's World Famous K.A. Gaucho Sangria" at most of our gatherings.
Our current membership is approx. one hundred (100) members, however, in the past we have capped the membership at one hundred fifty (150) members.
The yearly membership fee to the Association is $325.00, (Three hundred and twentyfive dollars) however, for first time applicant the fee is $300 (Three hundred dollars only) and applies only to the first year of membership. Upon receipt of the applicants membership fee, prior to the parade season, the applicant will receive a Gaucho Costume which is to be worn at the parades that the Associations attends. Upon completion of the parade season (April) the costume should be returned to the membership director. Should you wish to continue as a member of the Gaucho Association then you will be expected to address the costume at your own expense.
The Original Gaucho Float
The Gauchos constructed the original float in 1991 based on the design and engineering of Master Float Builder Tom Henry. It won First Place awards in all of the major parade events in the Tampa Bay Area and it was always a crowd favorite.
The New "La Casa del Sol Naciente" Float
After many years, the front towing unit, which was the caricature of a Gaucho's face was retired, and in mid 2009 we purchased a city bus and created the "La Casa del Sol Naciente"
The "La Casa del Sol Naciente" has many new features which the old unit did not. We unitized the handicap feature of the original bus and modified the Gaucho hat so that the hat could be raised and lower when the unit came to a stop. Like the old unit he is adorned with moving eyes and eyebrows and a large smoking cigar jutting out from under his large black mustache. He sports a gold earring in his left ear and wears the latest in designer sunglasses.
The unit has two beverage stations, seating on the upper and lower decks for up to 11 and 15 Gauchos respectively, some on saddles, a sound station with the state of the art sound systems, together with a bathroom facility. The "La Casa del Sol Naciente" pulls the original rear unit named the "Casa del Gauchos". It is a two room structure supports a smoking chimney beverage station and a bathroom and has limited seating.
For the night parades, the two units are spectacular. They are under-lit with black lighting, amber spotlights illuminating the eyes, a glowing red tip on the smoking cigar, and florescent lighting on the mustache.
Gaucho Logo and Coin
With the start of our independence, it became apparent that we needed a logo of our own. Gaucho Tom Henry discovered a National Geographic article titled "Last of a Breed". The article went into great detail on the adventuresome romantic lifestyle of these real life "pirates of the Pampas". The Gaucho immortalized on the face of the coin is actually that of a genuine Gaucho shown in the magazine article. The back side of the coin recognizes the Gauchos' top three priorities in life, his CABALLO (Horse), FAC'ON (Knife) and CHINA (Woman).