About

Krewe of the Conquistadors of Tampa Bay

Pánfilo de Narváez

Pánfilo de Narváez (1478–1528) was a Spanish conqueror and soldier in the Americas. He was a relative of Diego Velazquez de Cuellar, the first Spanish governor of Cuba. Narvaez took part in the Spanish conquest of Jamaica in 1509.

In 1511 he went to Cuba to participate in the conquest of that island under the command of Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar. He led expeditions to the eastern end of the island and presided over the infamous massacre of Caonao, where Spanish troopers put to the sword a village of Indians.

The governor of Cuba, not wishing to see Cortez succeed in Mexico, sent Pánfilo de Narváez at the head of a large expedition, with instructions to bring Cortes back, dead or alive. Cortez defeated Narváez and took him prisoner. Narváez remained a prisoner for approximately two years.

Narváez was appointed Adelantado (Governor or) of Florida by Charles V. With a fleet of 5 ships and 600 men, the expedition arrived on the west coast of Florida in April 1528, weakened by back-to-back hurricanes and desertions. He landed near the Rio de las Palmas—at what is currently known as the Jungle Prada Site in St. Petersburg—among hostile natives. From there, his expedition marched northward through interior. Unable to find the gold and other riches he sought and tired of the hostilities with the Indians, Narváez ordered the construction of four rafts to return to the sea from the interior. He intended to rejoin the ships and travel on into Mexico, but the vessels were destroyed in a storm. Narváez and most the members of his expedition died. Only four men survived the trek.


History

Our Krewe was founded in 2003 by 5 good friends; today we have about 75 full time members.

The Krewe was all-male until 2009 until the formation of the RRRitas to allow for women to join our Krewe. Today, the Krewe is comprised of a diverse representation of occupations, ages, ethnic origins, and religions with many Florida natives and a number of future Florida retirees. 

Our Krewe event year originally started on April 15th, to coincide with the landing of Panfilo de Narvaez in St. Petersburg, Florida.  The Krewe celebrated as a weekend event and party at the beach; it is also our main Board of Directors’ meeting when we elect the Board and committee members.  The beach weekend and election was moved to June in 2011 to accommodate member’s schedules.

The Krewe has hosted a number of noteworthy events. Among the unique events hosted include “Wine for Hearts” tasting and auction, “2007 Rock for the Hearts” concert and auction with headliners Robin Zander of Cheap Trick, Buck Dharma of Blue Oyster Cult and Mark Farmer of Grand Funk Railroad, and a Casa Blanca-themed event entitled “a Night at Rick’s”.

Volunteerism and community involvement is very important to the Krewe and members have volunteered to the Friends of Woodlawn Charity Golf Classic, the Great American Teach In and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Additionally, the Krewe hosts recurring fundraising events for their charities including Poker Walks, Kentucky Derby Parties, and Happy Heart Parties.  The Krewe has invited children from All Children’s Hospital to ride and toss beads during the Gasparilla Children’s Parade.  Each child receives a grab bag of goodies and plenty of beads to toss to the crowds.

The Krewe appreciation for members of the military and their families is evident in extending invitation to military members and their spouses to participate in the Knights’ and Roughriders’ parades and supplying them with beads and medallions. In 2016, Krewe member Kathy Arnold began inviting children of MacDill AFB and the U.S. Coast Guard Tampa Bay aboard the Krewe float for the Gasparilla Children’s Parade.  This effort has been named Operation Appreciation and she has earned recognition from the Inter-Krewe Council as this effort is now being shared with several other Krewes due to overwhelming demand.

The Krewe of the Conquistadors of Tampa Bay will always continue to strive to leave a legacy of upgrading the quality of life and improving the natural eco-system of all of the inhabitants of Tampa Bay.

Historical Timeline

2003 Krewe Founded with colors of black, white and purple.

2003 Initial participation in John’s Pass Pirate Invasion.

2004 Accepted into the Gasparilla Day and Knights of Sant’ Yago Parades.

2004 All Children’s Hospital & Clearwater Marine Aquarium selected as charities.

2004 Hosted Happy Heart Day with the Tampa Rays at Tropicana Field.

2004 Initial hosting of 50 children from All Children’s Hospital in the Gasparilla Children’s Parade.

2004 & 2005 Participated in ACH Telethon.

2005 Built Double Decker Float with bar and two bathrooms.

2005 Krewe colors changed to Black, White and Red.

2006 Accepted into the Roughriders’ St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

2007 Initial hosting of Annual Kentucky Derby Party.

2008 Initial hosting Happy Heart Day with the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

2009 Kathy Arnold selected as first female Krewe and RRRitas created to allow for female members.

2009 Initial participation in DeSoto Parade as IKC float guests.

2009 Initial hosting of Poker Walk to raise funds for charity.

2010 Accepted into the Inter-Krewe Council of Tampa Bay.

2010 Initial participation in Inter-Krewe Tampa Rays Day.

2010 Accepted into the Pinellas Park Holiday Parade and family members allowed to participate.

2011 Initial participation in Festival of States Parade as IKC float guests.

2012 Began celebrating IRB Boat Parade as a Krewe.

2014 Began hosting military personnel in the Knights Parade.

2014-2015 Krewe colors were changed from Black, White and Red to Black and Royal Blue.

2015 Began hosting military children “Operation Appreciation” in the Gasparilla Children’s Parade.

2016 Volunteered as stewards for the Friends of Woodlawn Charity Golf Classic

2016 Web site launched as KCOTB.net.

2017 CASA selected as main charitable recipient.

2017 Big Storm Brewing agrees to be sponsor.

2017 Volunteered members as speakers for Great American Teach In.

2017-2018 Upgrade of float to enhance aesthetics and functionality.

2018 Relaunch of Web Site as KCOTB.org.cx


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