TAMPA — Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla didn’t have to search far to find a big star to lead the big parade this year.
Dave Bautista, the professional wrestling champion and Tampa resident who gained international fame as the tattooed Drax the Destroyer in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, will serve as grand marshal for the 2020 Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Fest.
As any as many as 200,000 people are expected to attend the Jan. 25 parade, which starts at 2 p.m. on Bayshore Boulevard. The parade is preceded by the Gasparilla Invasion with its flotilla of boats.
The parade’s honorary Community Hero is Travis Maus, a veteran Tampa police officer who was promoted to lieutenant while he was recently deployed to Iraq with the Army Reserve.
“Dave Bautista and Travis Maus represent some of the best in our Tampa Bay community,” said a statement from Richard Chapman of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, which puts on the parade.
Bautista, 50, starred as Drax the Destroyer in the 2014 Marvel film “Guardians of the Galaxy,” then the sequel “Guardians of the Galaxy 2,” followed by “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame,” the highest-grossing film of all time.
He is currently shooting the second season of the Apple TV series “See” and can be seen on March 13 in the family action film “My Spy.” Bautista will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame when WWE brings its annual WrestleMania event to Tampa in April.
Maus has been a member of the Tampa Police Department for almost 20 years and recently served as a detective sergeant in the crime gun intelligence squad.
His Army Reserve rank is Chief Warrant Officer 4. He is a senior instructor pilot for Blackhawk helicopters and, during a recent deployment, flew several hundred missions in and out of five countries in the Middle East.
Maus was serving in Iraq in November when his wife and children accepted an award on his behalf during the live-streamed Fox Nation’s Patriot Awards at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg.