The Anselmo Valencia Tori Amphitheater, also known as AVA Amphitheater or simply AVA, is a busy outdoor entertainment venue in Tucson, Arizona. Named after Anselmo Valencia Tori, a former chairman of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, it is situated in the southwest corner of Tucson within the tribe’s Casino Del Sol Resort, the Tribe’s second gaming property. The amphitheater, the first such concert facility in Tucson, was conceived, designed, and built by the Tribe. It opened on October 14, 2001. 

AVA has since hosted many events, including concerts, festivals, and other live performances. Upcoming shows include Billy Idol, Walker Hayes, T.I. with Chingy, and rock ‘n roll legend and Arizona’s own favorite adopted son Alice Cooper. With its picturesque desert backdrop and a seating capacity of around 5,000, it’s a favorite spot for both performers and audiences alike.

Since 2004, AVA is also a favorite spot for work and training for Rhino Tucson. We recently put a few questions to Rhino Tucson’s Director of Operations Clark Hoffman to gain some insights into this special relationship.

Approximately how many shows in a year/season does Rhino Tucson work at AVA? 

Clark: Their season runs from April to November and on average that constitutes about 25 concerts. We also do concerts and events in their conference center. The combined total number of events on the resort property is well over 50 per year.

How many different types of training does Rhino Tucson conduct at AVA and how many Rhinos have been put through the training sessions? 

Clark: For forklift, we do 3 to 4 per year. Same for aerial work platform training. Rigging training, 1 or 2 per year, and fall protection and fall rescue training, 2 per year. In total, at least 200 Rhinos from Tucson and elsewhere have been trained at the venue.

If Rhino Tucson’s training at AVA was not done from the beginning of the relationship, how did it start?

Clark: We simply requested the use of the space. Understanding the importance of training, keeping the crew safe, and the value that it brings to the final product, the shows, the venue agreed to our request.

How valuable is it to Rhino Tucson to have a client venue like AVA that allows training sessions at the venue? Does it also, in your opinion, yield particular rewards for the venue?

Clark: Client partnerships like the one we have with AVA are critical to our success. There is nothing better than training in the venue you work in and on the equipment that you work on. The venue is rewarded by having a safe and competent crew working on their property.  

What would you say to a Rhino office looking to develop a client relationship such as Rhino Tucson has with AVA? 

Clark: Treat the venue like it’s your home. Do whatever you can to take care of your client and venue. You scratch their back, they’ll scratch yours.

Collaborations like Rhino Tucson’s with AVA are the rising tide that lifts all boats and we offer here a grateful “Thank you!” to them. Thank you, also, to Clark for his time and his insights.