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Welcome to the Arizona Duuude’s World
Arizona State Capitol, June 2nd, 2008. The long awaited time had arrived. Ten years since the first one. Slowly marking each year quarterly. From Sea to shining Sea we are a nation of many states, each having its own unique identity. Forty seven of the fifty have taken their turn. Now it was ours, so on a warm and sunny morning in June, on the lawn in front of the Arizona State Capitol, a couple thousand men, women, and children waited. Listening to the Mariachi music while watching the news media jockey for position as the dignitarys took their seats. A Wells Fargo stage coach pulled up on the street next to the big tent. A well dressed man and woman stepped out of the coach, a symbolic strong box used to carry money held between them, while photographers aimed and fired their cameras. Dean Martin AZ State Treasurer, and Pamela Conboy, state president of the Wells Fargo Bank, were delivering the official Arizona State Quarter. Arizona had arrived! Now it proudly displays on its Quarter, one of the natural wonders of the world, "The Grand Canyon" with a grand cactus, the Saguaro standing guard. This long awaited event, by not only collectors, was savored by all. A request for a photo brought a smile and The Governor to The Duuude’s side. This was indeed a fine day on the front lawn of the Capitol of the fine State of Arizona.
The first hot, HOT days of summer were here, but I was headed north, way north. I had planned this trip months ago. I planned a visit with a friend in Pinetop-Lakeside, Arizona the same weekend that the Butterfly Lodge Museum in Greer, was having its 7th Annual Butterfly Lodge BBQ on Saturday June 21st. I have been visiting the Butterfly Lodge Museum for the past few years, whenever I would come up to take a break from the Valley Heat and visit a long time friend, Cactus John.
Saturday morning broke sunny and warm but clouds were forming. It was the beginning of the Monsoon season. I could hear some thunder in the distance. About 3pm Cactus and I headed for Greer. It stayed cloudy and breezy but not threatening. Its a 30 mile trip from the Honda Resort to Greer on state route 191. This is Elk country but we didn’t see any on this trip. But we did see some cattle grazing and a small group of Burros beside a water tank.
Arriving at the Butterfly Lodge we noticed others filtering in. We were about an hour early, the festivities were set to begin at 5pm. I looked up Karen Applewhite and asked how we could help out. There was a small bar set up, and a registration table, that also served as the Card Deck Raffle center exibiting the prizes.
The Butterfly Lodge Museum is dedicated to the great western writer James Willard Schultz. I would highly recommend to anyone that likes to read history of the early west, hunting, or just stories of the great outdoors, "My Life as an Indian", The story of a Red Woman and a White Man in the lodges of the Blackfeet. You won’t regret it and it may just bring you to visit the Butterfly Lodge in Greer Arizona. For more information go to, www.wmonline.com/butterflylodge.htm .
The evening passed easily with conversation among friends, as the soothing sounds of vocals and Guitar & Harp by Maya Larson and Dave Rofflader floated through the Pine trees. The dinner bell was rung and everyone lined up to be served by, Debbie, Shelly and Elena. Savory Chicken and Beef were followed by delicious Apple & Peach Cobbler. All washed down with coffee brewed by, the Duuude himself.
I think I made many new friends. I tried to get around to talk to as many people as I could.I thoroughly enjoy meeting people from all walks of life and listening to their experiences. Especially people that have been in Arizona a long time, like maybe they are 3rd or 4th generation. I always encourage young people to listen to their Grandparents and reach back into family history.
I would like to thank everyone in attendance for making the Arizona Duuude feel welcome. To Phil Larson for his interview telling about the Arizona Rangers. To Mark Mead for his interview about the Hawkins 50 cal., Flintlock & Cap and Ball.To his wife Carla Mead helping out and the donation of the beautiful Belt Buckle from Black Mountain Jewelry Co. To Karen Applewhite for her interview telling about The Butterfly Lodge and James Willard Schultz whose home it had been. A big thank you from the Arizona Duuude, and a promise to return for the 8th Annual Butterfly Lodge BBQ in June 2009. See prizes won in picture at right.
Ode to Sharlot Hall
Sharlot I’m sorry it took me so long to read your work. Now that I have finally read your biography, I regret never having met you. But you left us the very year I was born. A flaw of mine when choosing something to read is that I sometimes overlook female authors. I’m sure this has caused me to pass up some really good reads. I should know that its not good to judge a book by its cover. Margret Mitchell and "Gone With The Wind" , should have taught me that lesson years ago. >>>>Sharlot, how your poetry pulls me into the time and place from the first line. It reaches out to the human soul, and makes a familiar connection. A connection I should have made long ago. Yet lucky to have made at all.You do speak to us all, leaving us with a deep admiration for a life well fought and lived. Reaching deep for a strength to prevail and having enough left over to help others. Whether they deserved it or not.>>>>>Sharlot you kept in your mind the one thing most important to you. That one thing in each of our own lives that is the most important. Just like in the movie "City Slickers", when Jack Palances charactor says to Billy Crystals charactor, as he holds up his index finger and says, "The most important thing is to find that one thing". >>>>>Sharlot for you that one thing was the history of Arizona. You never forgot that one thing or strayed from the course. You left us more than a Museum, it is a monument to human inspiration. Your Museum stands not only to educate but to guide and inspire generations. They say that we should give something back when we leave. Well Sharlott, you did and this Arizonan for one thanks you.
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Arizona Duuude A Dream
It was a hot and dark night, and I was late, I had to wait for some passengers from a connecting stage coach headed down to Phoenix. Transferring people and luggage in the dark. Talk about confusion. Most were in line for the outhouse, a stop I had to make too. Bodies squezzing by one another irritated and tired. Some things never change, will traveling ever get any easier? Having taken my turn and ready to go , I was desperately looking for the station master. Seeing him I hollered, "Where is my print out"? What?" My computor print out.How the hell do I know who I’ve got on board"? He just starred at me...... "What the hell are you talking about?.............." Then I woke up, what a dream. I don’t drive a stage coach, I drive a shuttle for Shuttle U. Maybe I’m traveling too much!
Welcome to the Arizona Duuude’s World
Recently the Duuude has noticed a lot of activity on the north side of the cafe. Further investigation produced an eye opening sight, that looks like the birth of an Oasis in the desert. Green grass under shade trees, newly painted ramada seating area, with overhead fans and mist system, lit at night with coach lamps. Horseshoe pits surrounded by green grass ready to test your skill. Yet this is not the end of the landscaping being installed by Marlin Coffman. A volley ball court and two, yes 2 waterfalls are next to be installed. The bar and bandstand are structurally the same, but have been dramatically enhanced with a new coat of red paint. The dance floor awaits the caress of "happy feet". Come one, come all, come soon and check it out.
Happy Arrivals & Sad Departures
The little girl clung to the woman’s knees, crying, don’t leave Auntie we love you. The lady slowly bent down and dried the little girls eyes, and said, "I’ll be back honey, I’m just going down to Phoenix. I’ll be back to visit, I promise." As I watched the family members hug and say their good-byes while I loaded their luggage, the scenes tugged at my heart, and I thought how this very humane occurrence has been repeated again and again. Happy arrivals and sad departures. As we roll east out of Prescott I always enjoy the panoramic views of Mingus Mountain and the snow capped two sisters, which is Flagstaff in winter. We pass Dewey, then Humbolt and head on to Mayer passing the now useless smoke stack of a long ago smelter standing guard just off the roadway. We cross Big Bug Creek again and again.
As we roll along I notice some of the passengers look happy, they’re probably taking a long awaited pleasure trip. Still others were leaving loved ones behind. One I spoke to is going to the Valley to attend a funeral, definitely a sad affair. How different could it have been one hundred and ten or one hundred and fifteen years ago to travel from Prescott to Phoenix. Well for one thing, it took a lot longer. Bumpy, dusty, noisy, hot in the summer, cold in the winter, well you get the idea.
So in a way, the Arizona Duuude can relate to a stagecoach driver from yesteryear. I, that is the Duuude, when not the Duuude, drives a shuttle from Prescott to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. So I have witnessed many happy arrivals and sad departures. No I have ever been held up by highway men, nor been attacked by renegade Indians. I’ve never ever tried to drive a team of horses.
But, there are a whole new set of modern day road hazards to stress out the shuttle driver, as anyone that drives up and down I-17 can attest to. Today’s route at times parallels the old stage road. There are places along I-17, coming down the hill into Black Canyon City where you can see the old road off to your right. The Stage Depot still survives in Black Canyon City. See their ad on page 7.
Banquet for a Gunfighter
I hadn’t been up Kingman way for long time, so when Sid Hagel, Publisher of this Wild West Gazette, presented the offer, I jumped at it. He said he was going up to cover the "Jim Martin Invitational Fast Draw Championships" a benefit event for Wes Flowers. Being held at the Arroyo Pistolero Ranch, near Kingman it was presented by www.gunfightergulch.com
Well, I didn’t realize what an enjoyable experience this would be for me. For a Dude, and I mean a Duuude like me, to be among these pros was great. I’ve done western, what they now call re-enacting, years ago, TV Commercials, you know small stuff. But a couple of these guys taught the famous ones how to look good with a six gun on the Big Screen.
The Saturday competition was great. This was because not only who was the fastest, but of the two men facing the targets, it was which one could draw and hit the target first? Now that’s more true to the real shoot out. This is called the Showdown Fast Draw system developed by Bob Crismon. He has developed several different gunfight situations that can be played out with his electronic target system. (See http://www.starcomputer-usa.com /)
Saturday night was the dinner and the awards. Forty friends and gunfighters passed by the buffet line and found a seat in the private dining room. When the meal and conversation swindled to sipping coffee and finishing desert, Greg Custodio stood up and got down to business. Awards were passed out among humor and serious oratory. A hand on the back always popped up and someone they called EB would question or insert something to the speech. What I witnessed on this evening, in a small dining room in a big truck stop near Kingman Arizona, I can hardly put into words. There was more love there for a man’s fellow man and the true meaning of being a friend than I’ve seen in many a year. I felt honored just to be present and witness this event. I don’t have to mention names, if you were there then you know what I mean. So you see although I went to a fast draw competition on a ranch near Kingman Arizona on a fine day in May, 2008, I am proud to say that I attended a "Banquet for a Gunfighter". God bless you Wes Flowers, Jim Martin, Jim Dunham and Greg Custodio for making it happen.
Upcoming events the Duuude will be appearing at. Annual Barbecue atThe Butterfly Lodge Museum, June 21, Greer, Az. 4th of July fireworks at Frontier Town Cave Creek. Rodeo Parade Prescott Sat. July 5th 9 a.m. Come out and see the Arizona Duuude!
The Oldest Rodeo- The oldest Rodeo controversy is an annual topic of discussion every year about this time. Prescott or Payson, Payson or Prescott, but when I was in Fort Worth, Texas a few years back, they claimed they were the oldest Rodeo. I hear the word continue’s figures in there somewhere too. So I guess it depends on where you are and who you talk to.
Bob Waldmire, Route 66 Celebrity- I found Bob standing next to his VW van and it took me back, back to the late 60’s. They both hadn’t changed, right out of a time machine, bumper stickers and all, they looked great. But wait back up. I was in Kingman Az. attending a western fast draw competition. I had stopped at the Mohave Museum on Route 66 to have a look around. While I was looking at a map of Arizona, the most interesting and informative and yet strangest map I have ever seen. A guy standing behind me said, "If you’d like to meet the guy that drew that map, he’s out in the parking lot under the big shade tree." I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. I had to meet the mind that created such a map. I wasn’t disappointed. What a nice visit we had. Bob gave me a copy of an article from the last issue of Route 66 Magazine. If you get a chance pick one up, its a very good read. The next time I get down to south eastern Arizona I will definitely plan a side trip to Portal. The results of that visit will appear here in The Wild West Gazette, Travels and Insights from the Arizona Duuude.
Patio at Rock Springs
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