2016 Prescott Frontier Days Thursday, Jun 30 2016 

Grand Entry Prescott Frontier Days

Grand Entry

Last night we attended one of the eight performances of the 2016 Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo. The U. S. Patent Office has recognized this event as the “World’s Oldest Rodeo.” It started as a “cowboy tournament” on July 4, 1888. Now in its 129th year, performances are from June 28 to July 4. We were pleased with our seats with a back in section J, row 8 of the covered grandstand. We had excellent views of the west side gate and the replay screen. A post partially blocked views from the east center gates. The Grand Entry filled the arena with horses and their riders and the steady pace of the events kept our attention for two-and-a-half hours. Jacob Talley, Keatchie, Louisiana recorded an impressive 4.8 second time in Steer Wrestling, 1.2 seconds faster than his nearest rival.[He finished 2nd overall winning $2,498 for two runs.] Casey Breuer, Mandan, North Dakota scored 83.0 points in the Bareback Bronc Riding competition. [He finished 2nd overall and won $4,438.] Rhen Richard, Roosevelt, Utah completed his Tie-Down Roping in 8.5 seconds. [He finished 1st for two runs and collected $3,584.] During a break, the Diamond Z English Shire Horses displayed their finesse in maneuvering a wagon. Clay Elliott, Nanton, Alberta, Canada nailed 87.0 points while Saddle Bronc Riding. [This was good enough for 1st and $6,007.] Chase Massengill, Santa Fe, New Mexico and Daylan Frost, Show Low, Arizona turned in the best time in Team Roping, 6.0 seconds.During another break, we were amazed at the prowess of John Payne, the One Armed Bandit, in herding three Ankole-Watusi bulls atop a truck. In the Women’s Barrel Racing event Jill Welsh, Parker, Arizona completed the route in 17.45 seconds. [She finished 4th after two runs and won $1,188.] The evening’s final event, Bull Riding, found only one contestant qualifying, Wyatt Edwards, Sulphur Oklahoma with a score of 77.5. [He tied for 2nd place receiving $4,530 for this feat.] It was interesting to learn firsthand why Prescott is so proud of this event.

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2016 Prescott Bluegrass Festival Sunday, Jun 26 2016 

Ping Brothers

Ping Brothers

The 35th Annual Prescott Bluegrass Festival was held this weekend in Prescott. Goodwin Street closed along the courthouse plaza with food and trinket booths on both sides of the city’s bandstand. We set up our lawn chairs with hundreds of others for the performances on Saturday afternoon. Five talented groups were invited this year, each alotted three one hour sets. Burning Heart Bluegrass out of the Los Angeles area has five individually talented musicians. Bluegrass Etc., a trio from California, also includes outstanding musicians. On bass and vocals, Bill Bryson, for example, is a two-time Grammy Award winner. I missed the Old Blue Band in order to play chess at the Prescott Public Library. I returned to hear a local band, the Ping Brothers. Brother Frank plays finger style and rhythm guitar, bass, banjo, and mandolin. Brother Doug plays lead and rhythm guitar, bass, and harmonica. Other members of the band include Creighton Miller on upright bass, banjo, and dobro; Jim Chatlain on fiddle; and Rick Schmidt on steel, electric, acoustic, and bass guitar, keys and vocals. James Ream and the Barnstormers are from Litchfield Park. James Ream started the Barnstormers in 1993. He has produced nine CDs.to much acclaim. The Chamber of Commerce has done a great job in selecting performers and funding this event by selling tee shirts and raffle tickets. This event attracts a mix of ages and because Prescott is dog friendly many people bring their pet. In addition to the variety of well behaved dogs, I was fascinated by Lou, a 22-year-old cockatoo.

Thumb Butte Revisited Friday, Jun 17 2016 

Thumb Butte

Thumb Butte

It has been some time since we last hiked the Thumb Butte Trail #33. This morning we revisited this 1.75 mile loop and were rewarded with panoramic views of the Bradshaw Mountains, the Sierra Pieta Mountains, Granite Mountain, Mingus Mountain, and even the San Francisco Peaks in the distance. Prickly pears are in bloom. A century plant, too, raised its blooms on high below Thumb Butte. The off-shoot trails for climbing atop Thumb Butte are closed so that peregrine falcons can breed without being disturbed. At the apex of the trail, a tribute, 19 American flags and sundry mementos left by hikers, to the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots who lost their lives fighting a forest fire in Yarnell. Of special interest on this day were the juniper berries, the alligator juniper bark, and ponderosa pine bark. We are fortunate to have Prescott’s iconic peak so close to us.

Arizona Snapshot Tour Sunday, Jun 12 2016 

Montezuma Castle

Montezuma Castle

After a week of training in Phoenix, one of my nephews, who lives in Tacoma, Washington, extended his stay a couple of days in order to see some of Arizona. We left the extreme heat of the Valley of the Sun for higher elevations in the north. Our first stop was at Montezuma Castle near Camp Verde.It was interesting to see this limestone cliff dwelling overlooking Beaver Creek that housed about 35 people sometime between 1100-1400. After passing through Oak Creek Village, we stopped at two overlooks of Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte. These dramatic red rocks, the backdrop for my wedding seven years ago, always bring back fond memories.

Cathedral Rock

Cathedral Rock

As we proceeded to Sedona, we visited the Chapel of the Holy Cross. Visiting this unique area encourages spiritual thoughts of wonder. We stopped for lunch at the Oak Creek Brewery in the Tlaquepaque complex of boutique shops. On this trip Snow White joined the Seven Dwarfs much to my discriminating taste delight. At Red Rock Crossing we hiked a short distance looking for the iconic water and Cathedral Rock spot before deciding that the open field next to the parking lot was the best place for a picture on this day. We did envy the throng of visitors enjoying the water on this hot summer day.

We stopped in Jerome, climbed stairs to see the skeleton crew at the Haunted Hamburger and passed below the classy looking Jerome Grand Hotel. We enjoyed driving over Mingus Mountain and taking in the ponderosa pine forest, a dramatic contrast with the saguaros north of Phoenix. We watched an NBA finals game in Prescott. On Saturday we made a quick tour of the Yavapai Courthouse where the Territorial Days Arts & Crafts Show filled all open space. After a hardy breakfast, we hiked a loop of the Constellation Trail, a close look at the Granite Dells. The Rock Wall was impressive. Prickly poppies were in bloom, especially near the entrance to the trail. After taking showers we headed back to Phoenix. It was great to spend time with one of my nephews.

2016 Party in the Pines Sunday, Jun 5 2016 

Trey Odum Band

Trey Odum Band

Last night’s 6th Annual Party in the Pines was actually near the cottonwoods that line Granite Creek adjacent to the Prescott Mile High Middle School football field. For $20 . we received a commemorative glass and 8 drink tickets. Funds raised during this event support the Adopt a Classroom organization and will be spent on teaching supplies in local classrooms. More than 40 different kinds of beer were offered from many breweries. While my wife sampled wheat and fruit beers, I stayed with dark porters and stout.Her favorite was Orange Wheat from Hangar 24, Redlands, California. I stayed local with the chocolate porter, Achocolypse, from the Prescott Brewing Company. We split a serving of fry bread and a cheese stick. We moved two folding chairs that were away from the music around a large table located in the sun to a spot in the shade near the front of the music stage. High school students in a group called Cross-eyed Possum and Generations warmed up the growing crowd for the Trey Odum Band, out of Phoenix, that played a mix of high energy country and rock. We didn’t stay for the main headliners, the Black Moods, from Tempe, although we watched them set up for merchandise sales. It’s too bad we must raise money to support teachers, but this was a fun way to do it.