Friday, April 28, 2006

April 28, 2006
Sprinkling and cloudy when I got up this morning. Drove up to Prescott and got to the Phippen Museum at 12:30 and heard the news. The last remaining living Cowboy Artist, Joe Beeler has died, someone said two days ago. He was evidently at a roping in Cottonwood and someone noticed him slumping in the saddle. They tried to revive him but he was gone.

A reporter for the Prescott Courier showed up and interviewed everyone. Cynthia Rigden came in to drop off a piece of art and said hi to me and we talked. She's a sculptor and from an old Arizona ranching family in Kirkland (Virgil Earp's farm was located on their land and she and her dad took me out to it in 1985), and she has been denied membership in the CA for years. It's embarrassing and a bad joke. I asked her if they were ever going to get smart and let her in and she said, "I think they're afraid of having the only woman and the only cowboy being the same person." Ha.

Walked the docents through the exhibit to tell them where all my stuff came from. Much of the history of my cartoons centers around Prescott. It was in 1978 that I drove up to Prescott and Charlie Waters, who was the publisher of the Prescott Courier then, printed the guts of my very first Honkytonk Sue comic. I think he charged me his price for the paper and printing ($875 for 5,000 issues, just the guts, the cover was printed in the Valley). My first big Arizona Highways assignment was to illustrate 22 washes for an issue on Prescott. That was in 1985, and that's when I went out to the Rigden's ranch. Several docents took notes. I told them if anyone tries to stump you, send them to and it's all there, or in this case, here. One woman asked me about True West. She said she has been dong this all her life and has never heard of the magazine. "That's why I'm here today," I told her. Speaking of which, Jennifer in the museum store ordered a whole bunch of True Wests, my books and even some of the old comic books. The opening is tonight at seven.

Left Prescott at two, stopped in Mayer for lunch. Fought traffic all the way in (95 miles). Got to the office at four, only to find out I left my daytimer at the Phippen. So, I'm debating whether to go back up the hill for the opening. Ha.

I leave for Tucson at five in the morning. Going to be a marathon weekend.

"A critic is a legless man who teaches running."
—Old Vaquero Saying

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