Five Female Arizona Trailblazers Named Grand Marshals of the Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Parade, presented by Cheez-It - Fiesta Bowl | Fiesta Bowl

Five Female Arizona Trailblazers Named Grand Marshals of the Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Parade, presented by Cheez-It

Oct 02, 2019

Women in Sports theme to honor Amy Bockerstette, Julie Ertz, Jessica McDonald, Allysa Seely, Diana Taurasi for December 28 parade through Central Phoenix

SCOTTSDALE, AZ –To recognize the theme of Women in Sports at the 2019 Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Parade, presented by Cheez-It, the Fiesta Bowl will honor five female icons with Arizona ties. A mix of world champions, Olympic gold medalists and trailblazers will serve as Grand Marshals for the parade on Saturday, December 28 at 9 a.m. through Central Phoenix.

Grand Marshals for the 2019 Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Parade are Special Olympics golfer Amy Bockerstette, U.S. Women’s Soccer standouts Julie Ertz and Jessica McDonald, U.S. Paralympic gold medalist Allysa Seely and arguably the greatest women’s basketball player of all time Diana Taurasi.

“Celebrating Women in Sports in Arizona is important to honor within our community,” said Mike Nealy, Executive Director of the Fiesta Bowl. “This year’s Grand Marshals have amazed us with their athletic accomplishments and are an inspiration for the next generation of female athletes.”

The Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Parade, presented by Cheez-It Grand Marshal honors an individual or group whose vision aligns with the Fiesta Bowl’s commitment to driving economic growth, champion charitable causes and executing innovative experiences. These five women represent what the Fiesta Bowl stands for, on top of being talented athletes.

“Our sponsorship of the Fiesta Bowl Parade has been great. I think it brings the whole community together and we’re celebrating, really, the Valley,” said Desert Financial President and CEO Jeff Meshey. “We’re also celebrating the diversity of the people that live here and I think that says a lot for Phoenix, and it’s why I want to live here.”

Past females to serve as Fiesta Bowl Parade Grand Marshals include Janet Evans, Jennie Finch, Missy Franklin, Natalie Gulbis, Misty Hyman, Kerri Strug and Amy Van Dyken-Rouen.

Bockerstette is the first Special Olympics athlete to receive a full college athletic scholarship and currently plays golf for Paradise Valley Community College. Earlier this year, Bockerstette scored a par on the well-known 16th hole at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in front of thousands of cheering fans. She was the keynote speaker at the National Down Syndrome Congress and continues to be an example of what someone with a disability can accomplish.

A native of Mesa, Ertz last week was named to the 2019 FIFA FIFPRO Women’s World 11 and earned 2017 U.S. Soccer Player of the Year. She won two World Cup titles and has been on the National Team since 2013. Not only is Ertz a role model on the field, but she’s a leader in her community as well. The Dobson High School graduate and her husband, Zach, a tight end for 2018 Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles, co-founded the Ertz Family Foundation to create opportunities for children in sports and education.

McDonald has defied the odds and continues to do so. She made her first World Cup appearance this year at 31 years-old and was the only mother on the Team USA at the 2019 World Cup. She has a seven-year-old son, Jeremiah, who motivates her to chase her dreams. The Cactus High School graduate started her college career at Phoenix College, earned a scholarship to the University of North Carolina and spent a season playing in Australia.

“Celebrating women in sports is important and Arizona has a lot to be proud of,” said McDonald. “From Gold Medalists like us, all the way down to young girls just starting their journey. It’s fantastic that the Fiesta Bowl is recognizing the accomplishments of women from the state.”

Seely won an ESPY Award this summer for Best Female Athlete with a Disability. After graduating from Mountain Ridge High School, Seely competed for the club triathlon team at Arizona State University before she was diagnosed with brain, spine and connective tissue conditions in 2010. She was told she might never walk unaided again and then overcame it all and won gold at the 2016 Paralympic Games and became a three-time ITU Paratriathalon World Champion.

“The community here in Arizona has been very supportive of me in my athletic career and encouraging all along the way so it’s awesome to be able to be recognized in my home state at such a big event,” said Seely. “Women in sports is such an important focus for so many reasons. As an athlete at the elite level right now my most important role is to be somebody for young girls to look up to and I take that very seriously.”

One of the most iconic female basketball players in history, Taurasi has a long list of accomplishments on her resume. The first overall pick in the 2004 WNBA Draft for the Phoenix Mercury after earning three NCAA Championships at UConn, Taurasi is a four-time Olympic Gold Medalist for Team USA, three-time WNBA Champion and was the WNBA MVP in 2009. Last year, she received the WNBA Cares Community Assist award for supporting a nonprofit organization helping single moms and for her support of the LGBTQ community.

“I’ve been on a lot of teams but that’s a pretty strong starting five right there,” said Taurasi. “It’s a time for women in sports to be recognized and carry this torch into the future. I think what the Fiesta Bowl is doing this year says a lot about what they mean to the community, what they mean to the country as far as forward thinking and going in the right direction.”


On Saturday, December 28, 2019 at 9 a.m., the Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Parade will feature various brilliantly colored floats, giant balloons, equestrian units, charitable groups, local celebrities and marching bands that will make their way down the two-mile route through Central Phoenix. Admission is free to the public with premium and reserved seating available for $30. The event is broadcast live on Arizona’s Family 3TV.

Every year, a combination of more than 2,500 men, women, children, floats, balloons and animals participate in the Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Parade. The Fiesta Bowl once again invites and encourages groups to submit an application by this Sunday, October 6, 2019, to be a part of the parade.

For more information about the events, the application process and to purchase tickets, please visit

The Fiesta Bowl is a world-class community organization that executes innovative experiences, drives economic growth and champions charitable causes, inspiring pride in all Arizonans. As a nonprofit organization, it believes in the importance of community outreach and service. Through charitable giving, the organization strives to enhance Arizona nonprofit organizations that contribute to the success of communities through youth, sports and education. Since 1971, the Fiesta Bowl has worked to increase its footprint across the state and work to benefit Arizonans year round, during and outside of bowl season.

Celebrating its 80th year in Arizona, Desert Financial is Arizona’s largest credit union with $4 billion in assets, more than 300,000 members and branch locations across the Valley. As a not-for-profit cooperative, Desert Financial prides itself on sharing success with members, employees and the community. Learn more at