Last Saturday morning I met Tom Tumas at 7 A.M. at the True West World Headquarters and we took off for Wickenburg, which is about an hour west of Cave Creek:
The desert was beautiful in the morning twilight and I snapped off a dozen shots on the way over, and at least a hundred on the way back:
We got into Wickenburg at eight and waded up through town to the parade check-in. Tom Tumas had called several guys he thought would make a good showing for the Wickenburg Gold Rush Days Parade and he chose well:
Left to right: World Champion Gun Spinner Joey Dillon and his son Cash; Loop Rawlins, who drove up from the Tanque Verde Guest Ranch in Tucson; Tom Tumas, BBB, and Rock Holliday (Gene Kurz) of Sedona.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his crew were directly ahead of us, so we posed for photos:
Sheriff Joe was quite gracious and gave Cash a sheriff's badge which he wore proudly in the parade. As ten o'clock drew near, our performers began to warm up. Loop Rawlins was doing some modest rope spins and I thought to myself, "Oh, okay, another Will Rogers deal."
But when we got out on the road for the real deal, it was Showtime and Loop and Joey kicked it into high gear:
All of a sudden, I look over the cab of the truck to see Loop Rawlins running down the center of the road, in front of us, jumping through loops at breakneck speed. The audience gasps. Then he flips on the ground and twirls the rope over his head with one hand and spins his hat on his other hand. The crowd goes nuts.
Then Joey Dillon brings up the rear and goes into his outrageous gun twirls, and in the back of the truck is his son Cash, who mimicks his daddy and the crowd goes crazy once again. Rock Holliday is running magazines out to the crowd and people are practically fighting over the issues.
I'm telling you, we killed those crowds all the way down the street.
When we got to the judging stand, which is the train depot, the crowds were ten deep on each side of the street and Loop, and Joey and Cash and Rock, laid it on even more.
Me, I just waved from the back of the pickup and got all the credit. Ha. Meanwhile, our fantastic performers were wore out. Tom Tumas drove the truck and we had to go back via Vulture Mine Road to get back to the beginning of the parade and our cars.
At noon I had a speech at the free stage in the middle of the carnival. I had a small bleachers area to my right and five porta-potties on my left with long lines. Never had that speech dynamic before. I asked the crowd in line if they were there for number one or number two. All of them pretended not to hear me. Ha.
After the speech, Tom and I had lunch at the Bar Seven, and then drove out to the rodeo grounds to see our banner:
Tom Tumas did a very cool thing. He had a pair of extra rodeo tickets so he went up to the line at the ticket window and said, "Who knows True West magazine?" Most people looked blank, but a couple from Victoria, British Columbia, said, "We are subscribers!" and Tom handed them free tickets. That was way cool.
All in all, a very successful day and a whole bunch of new people are now aware of True West magazine.
We just got word that we won an award for "Most Western" entry. How 'bout them apples?!
"Ask not what the cost of doing this will be. Ask what the cost of not doing it will be."
—Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper