Arizona Ridin'

Wild Cow Chasing

Photo credit: Ross Hecox

Sharing from Western Horsemen this morning, a neat film on catching wild cattle in the Arizona desert.

A Cowboy’s Cowboy Honored in AZ

Tom Bishop Sr. with wife Janet, with his recent award, presented at the Lost Dutchman Days, at Apache Junction, Arizona.

On February 26, at the Lost Dutchman Days, in Apache Junction, Arizona, Canadian western showman Tom Bishop Sr. was presented the National Day of the Cowboy’s ‘Cowboy Keeper Award.’ This honor is awarded to individuals who’s lives represent North America’s pioneer heritage and cowboy culture and Bishop is the only Canadian to have been granted with this distinction.

His participation in film and cultural events, have brought to life western flair to people all over the world. He operates the family run Tom Bishop 4B Ranch Productions, located in Ridgeville, Ontario; which was formed by his father Thomas W. almost ninety years ago. These popular acts in the past several decades, have included his family; wife Janet, daughters Sally, Sarah and son, Tom Jr. His daughter Sally, now works out of Dewinton, Alberta with her own stunt and trick rider production outfit, called SureShot Acts.

The National Day of the Cowboy organization is seeking make July 28, a celebrated holiday in honor of pioneer and cowboy heritage. This day has been successfully passed as a holiday in Arizona and California and is growing in popularity all over the United States. The mission of this group is to encourage the preservation of western culture and celebrate those who have lived their lives by the cowboy ways.

The group have also implemented a program with a major US book store called “Read “em Cowboy” which encourages young people to read western literature.

More information about this special day can be found on their website at www.nationaldayofthecowboy.com. Following her father’s recent award, Sally Bishop was asked by the National Day of the Cowboy Association, to become a spokesperson for the cause in Canada. She can be contacted at trickrider@platinum.ca.

Tom Bishop Sr. with wife Janet, with his recent award, presented at the Lost Dutchman Days, at Apache Junction, Arizona.On February 26, at the Lost Dutchman Days, in Apache Junction, Arizona, Canadian western showman Tom Bishop Sr. was presented the National Day of the Cowboy’s ‘Cowboy Keeper Award.’ This honor is awarded to individuals who’s lives represent North America’s pioneer heritage and cowboy culture and Bishop is the only Canadian to have been granted with this distinction.

His participation in film and cultural events, have brought to life western flair to people all over the world. He operates the family run Tom Bishop 4B Ranch Productions, located in Ridgeville, Ontario; which was formed by his father Thomas W. almost ninety years ago. These popular acts in the past several decades, have included his family; wife Janet, daughters Sally, Sarah and son, Tom Jr. His daughter Sally, now works out of Dewinton, Alberta with her own stunt and trick rider production outfit, called SureShot Acts.

The National Day of the Cowboy organization is seeking make July 28, a celebrated holiday in honor of pioneer and cowboy heritage. This day has been successfully passed as a holiday in Arizona and California and is growing in popularity all over the United States. The mission of this group is to encourage the preservation of western culture and celebrate those who have lived their lives by the cowboy ways.

The group have also implemented a program with a major US book store called “Read “em Cowboy” which encourages young people to read western literature.

More information about this special day can be found on their website at www.nationaldayofthecowboy.com. Following her father’s recent award, Sally Bishop was asked by the National Day of the Cowboy Association, to become a spokesperson for the cause in Canada. She can be contacted at trickrider@platinum.ca.

February Western Go-See’s

By far one of the most prominent horse events in February is the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show & Shopping Expo, beginning this Thursday and running through to February 26. It’s held at the beautiful WestWorld facility and whether Arabians are your breed of choice or not, this show is a must-see, if you’re in the area.

This year, nearly $600,000 will be paid out at the show. Last year was my first introduction to the show and I loved it. From the tradeshow, to the stall fronts, to the many classes, It truly is the biggest and the best.

I’m looking forward to seeking out this year’s Reining Futurity Classic, a popular event for the Canadian contingency, which once again, has a stunning $150,000 up for grabs and is NRHA sanctioned. This event has a purebred and half-Arabian component to it. Watch also, for the non-pro and amateur derbies, again for both purebred and half-Arabians.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

Jenn blogged about the annual Hershberger Performance Horse Sale when she attended it in 2010. This year this sale again will feature  reiners, cow horses, cutters, barrels, head, heel and calf horses, many with top pedigrees, earnings and credentials in the show pen. Look for it at the Horseshoe Park and Equestrian Center, in Queen Creek, on Feb. 18.

DeWitt Stables of Mesa, Arizona, will also be hosting a draft horse, mule and wagon auction on Feb. 17-18. I’m told this is Arizona’s largest draft horse and mule sale. Call (480) 266-8190 for info.

More February events in the Phoenix area:

South Buckeye Equestrian & Events Center features a team roping school this week with Becky and Travor Mahoney.

Join the Arizona Desert Riders for their Wickenburg Progressive Ride, from Feb. 15-18.

Dunn’s Arena, at Litchfield Park hosts regular Friday night sorting, roping and barrel racing.

The Scottsdale Saddle Club, Arizona’s oldest and most active saddle club, has a Western Show on Feb. 25, held at the dreamy Arizona Horse Lover’s Park in Phoenix.

Cowboy mounted shooting offers up a vibrant culture in Arizona. If you missed the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association Winter Championships last weekend in Buckeye, head down to Casa Grande on Feb. 25-26 for what’s headlined as “not your Gramma’s shoot!” –  The Gunfight in Arizona.

Last year in Germany, I happened to have a chance to attend a medieval jousting festival. Held on ancient castle grounds, it was a completely unexpected and fascinating side trip, learning and experiencing this vibrant equine sub-culture, which exists surrounding the Middle Ages and the sport of jousting.

I just learned Arizona also has it’s own Renaissance Festival. It runs every Saturday and Sunday until April 1, held near Apache Junction.

If you haven’t experienced the town of Wickenburg, their annual Gold Rush Days, Feb. 16-19, might be a good time to take a drive there. The town celebrates it’s ranching and gold-mining heritage with a parade, rodeo, dance, arts and of course, a staple of Arizona’s Wild West – gunfighter’s shootouts.

I plan to hit the Carefree Indian Market and Cultural Festival, Feb. 17-19. It’s an inaugural event featuring native American art, music and dance.

Finally, if you happen to be searching for a house in the area to rent for a week or two, there is a special opportunity at the Facebook Page, “Cooper Family Trust Fund Auction.”

Canadian Cowboy Country magazine, along with Lindsey Edge and Dee Roy banded together to host this incredible online auction on Facebook to raise money for the Cooper Children’s Trust Fund.

As explained on the CCC website:

“Cam Cooper, 40, and his brother Wade, 44, died in northern Saskatchewan June 28, 2011 in a float plane crash that also claimed the lives of three others. Cam and Wade each left behind a wife and three children.

“The Cooper brothers were well known in cattle country for their exploits on the rodeo circuit and as working cowboys. Cam was a former bronc rider with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, and Wade was manager of Heartland Livestock in Prince Albert. Cam and Wade are the brothers of Ash Cooper, seven-time Canadian Professional Rodeo Association Contract Act of the Year and host of Cowboy Country TV.”

It is such a worthy cause, and I’ve been so inspired by the strength and generosity of our community, just browsing through the page and viewing the extensive line-up of donated items. One of which, happens to be a two week stay in a donor’s Arizona City, Arizona home, including such goodies as the use of golf clubs and yes, a pool is included!

There are literally hundreds of other items up for offer on this page, so take some time to check it out if you are able, and get bidding!

Arizona Real Estate

POSTED BY INGRID SCHULZ

You might have guessed by now that a bit of my family’s winters have been spent in Arizona over the past few years. We purchased a house northeast of Scottsdale three years ago, in the center of a landscape brimming with bank-owned properties.

Real estate deals then, and certainly still today – as there remain many bank-owned properties on the market – abounded, and Canadian horse owners of all ages gained snowbird status – perhaps much earlier than many of us might have dreamed possible.

One of Phoenix's equine highlights of the year is the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show, held every February.

In the Phoenix area it all began with a housing swell, which propelled the economy through the creation of a builder’s boom, construction jobs and the resulting real estate market. But, even as an estimated one-third of the population were supported by this economy, it proved to be false; when the buying stopped, the jobs dried up, real estate plummeted and the Valley of the Sun ground to a halt.

In December, 2008, there were less than 2,000 real estate sales in the Phoenix area, and over 58,000 homes on the market. The glut was overwhelming and the deals were plentiful, particularly as many properties turned over to banks, their owners unable (or unwilling) to carry mortgages three times the current market value of their home.

Dean and I first visited the Cave Creek and Rio Verde areas in the winter of 2008-09, on the advice of a friend who suggested it was a horsetopia of a kind. It was.

Trails to walk and ride are easy to find in this part of the country.

We fell in love with the desert, the architecture and the beautiful horse ranches and facilities in the area east of Cave Creek, along Rio Verde Drive.

It's just so tough to ride in these conditions.

Here, we were surrounded by parkland on three sides, there were arenas in every direction, no wind, no relentless dust blowing up in your face, and no insects. If you ride anywhere in an outdoor arena in Canada, you are privy to what I speak of. Itwas utopia.

The desert blooms.

The hunt began. It wasn’t a problem finding horse acreages to view. It seemed like every other one had a “for sale” sign propped up in front of it.

One of the many distressed homes we viewed back in '09.

With the help of Claudia Jordan, a Rio Verde/Cave Creek real estate agent, we began searching in earnest. Claudia’s expertise in the area helped educate us in details like flood plains and building styles.

This property was a possibility, until we found a good portion of the property was flood plain designated, making any plans to build a barn or other structure difficult.

She negotiated short sale and bank-owned situations for us. She set up a handy online portal for us, where we could log in and view homes in our area, as soon as they came on the market. The portal allowed us to view details and photos of the home, map it and view important details such as previous sales of the home and it’s progression through the market. This was invaluable, as of course we were often shopping from our Canadian base. (As it transpired, the property we purchased was on the portal, and therefore the market, for less than 24 hours. Back then, timing was everything!)

We love the southwestern style.

Claudia has an excellent website, Rio Verde Lifestyle, which she maintains regularly with monthly reviews of real estate activity in the Rio Verde area, as well as horse news, and her latest listings.

Claudia traipsed with us through so many properties. I’m not sure how we can ever repay her patience with us.

Claudia (on left), patiently humoring us with another viewing.

By the summer of 2009, Dean had found his dream home, and an offer was made and accepted.

The view from our rooftop in the Rio Verde and Cave Creek area: desert vegetation, mountains and arena rooftops.

Since then, and prior to, some of our friends have bought in the area. Maricopa, Surprise, Mesa, Tempe and Queen Creek are other areas we know of Canadian horsepeople residing. As this column evolves, I hope to bring you information from each of these areas in terms of their pros and cons – specifically for horsepeople.

A cutting at the Horseshoe Park and Equestrian Center at Queen Creek.

While there aren’t as many properties for sale any longer in the area, a Phoenix area home still appears to be a sound investment. Some real estate pundits are forecasting Phoenix real estate prices to jump up to 60% over today’s prices by the year 2014. While this may seem a far-fetched prediction, take a gander at these new business and investment initiatives currently in the works in the Phoenix area:

• Amazon.com is building their largest U.S. distribution centre in West Phoenix.

• Intel is creating thousands of new jobs in the Chandler area.

• The Cancer Treatment Centres of America have built a facility in Goodyear, and are expanding yet with additional facilities, restaurant and hotel.

• The world’s largest solar company, Suntech, built in Goodyear in 2010, and is poised to expand with an even larger project.

• Rioglass, the Spanish solar company is building their U.S. headquarters in Surprise.

• A 1.2 million square foot open-air mall is now scheduled to open in 2014.

• Plans are apparently in the works for a China-based company to relocate an existing business with an employee base of 10,000-20,000 to the Phoenix area.

Ponder the amount of jobs these projects alone will create, and the homes these employees will need.

Interesting times.

Bandalero Ranch

(If you’re in the vicinity of beautiful Tucson, Arizona region anytime this winter, be sure to drop by the Bandalero Ranch, home to NRCHA World Champion and resident western trainer, Kevin Stallings, and one of Arizona’s state-of-the-art facilities. My Stable Life blogger, Jenn Webster visited this facility back on Oct. 12, 2010. Here’s her view of the ranch).

Our tour starts with the Longhorn pasture.

This week, I thought I’d take you on some virtual tours of various equine facilities Clay and I have visited over the last little while. We always find it fascinating to see some of the innovative (and luxurious!) facilities other people have created to care for, train, produce or rehabilitate equines. We rarely ever pass up the opportunity to trek through another barn so today, I’d like to show you Bandalero Ranch in Tuscon, Arizona. Since I also know a horse or two has recently come to Canada (purchased from the NRCHA sale in Reno, Nevada, recently), I thought I’d share some of my favorite photos of the place with you.

 

Bandalero Ranch is a unique equine facility based in Tucson, Arizona. It is home to NRCHA World Champion and resident western trainer, Kevin Stallings, a jumping trainer and also features a equine rehabilitation center. It’s really something to see.

Overlooking the jumping arena.

The Ranch was designed to be a high-end equine sports facility for both western and english disciplines.

Each stall features an outdoor turnout, directly off of it, complete with high fences and small spaces in between the rails (so no one can get a foot caught).

In the fully enclosed barns, each stall is equipped with an outside run. Horses are free to wander in or out as they choose.

The stud barns.

Where Kevin chooses to stable his stallions, the barns offer cover from the elements while still providing an outdoor environment.

The goals of Bandalero Ranch are simple, to offer the best facility and staff to achieve a first-class training programs and foal production.

The last barn at Bandalero is specifically for reproduction and rehabilitation. There is an equine aqua-treadmill, breeding facilities and a state-of-the-art vet tech lab. Bandalero Ranch offers 24 hour emergency service to its residents.

The main arena (1 of 3) is a covered, 200 x350 feet custom designed with superior footing for reined cow horses and reiners.

In addition to “big” horses, through their affiliation with Rogers Heaven Sent Ranch, there are several adorable miniature horses to be found here too..

The mini-broodmare pasture:

Clay had to check out the mini trailer…

Bandalero Ranch is a very comprehensive equine facility – one of the finest I’ve ever come across. It’s worth a visit if you’re ever in Tuscon! Check out: www.bandaleroranch.com for more information.

Scottsdale Arabian Show 2011

I've been back for a month, but I'm still reliving Arizona riding.

It's snowing outside. Understand?

Among many other firsts of Arizona this year, I had the chance to experience the Scottsdale Arabian Show.

Wow. It was incredible.

Economically, Phoenix may be one of the most depressed regions in the United States, but you wouldn't know it at this show.

Our first stop was the Shopping Expo, where I ran into a jewelry and hat designer I had met a few years ago in Ogden, Utah. She related this is her favourite tradeshow nowadays. And, I could see why. The halls were packed.

Some of the highlights:

Beautiful artwork.

Western fashion and accessories!

Slightly more traditional wear.

Gorgeous suits. I”m asking my family to purchase me an Arabian, just so I can wear one of these. Lovely.

Wee was taken by a booth filled with toy-horse size Arabian statues.

Then it was off to watch the classes.

If you ever have the opportunity to watch an English Country Pleasure class, seize the moment. It's really something. The smoothness of the gait, the fluidity of horse and rider.

It's a beautiful thing.

Outside, there was so much going on.

Barns were showcasing their best prospects.

More classes – such as western pleasure.

Pretty colors perfectly coordinated.

An incredible mane in the reining practice pen.

The Scottsdale Arabian Show hosts a fantastic reining and cow horse segment to the show. The purses are large enough to attract a yearly exodus of Canadian competitors specifically for these classes.

And, often, we bring it on home! Watch for a story of several such competitors in our May and Summer issues of Western Horse Review.

Outside, at the trade fair, we looked at barns – most of which would be hopeless in our Canadian winters. But, hey, we dreamed. It's what we do.

What's that saying. . . “you can take the farmer away from the farm, but you can't take the farm out of the. .? lead a farmer to the farm equipment booth?” Ah, whatever. . . if you are acquainted with a farmer or two, you know EXACTLY what I'm gettin' at. They ALWAYS gravitate to the logo's they know and love.

Naturally, there was a long line of trailer manufacturers, showcasing the latest equine travel modes. The three of us could see ourselves in this one. . . the freightliner connects to the . . . luxury living quarters connects to the . . .

three-horse accommodations in the back . . . yeah!

We're coming back for this when we win the lottery.

We interrupt this show coverage to bring you some exciting celebrity news.

Alice Cooper has moved to Phoenix!

And owns a restaurant!

And, had a food concession at the show.

And, manned it himself!

Well, sort of.

You heard it all right here, at Screen Doors & Saddles. Throw out your People magazine. You have me now.

Alice, you might want to hang the menu on the lefthand side of your booth. It's hard to read at that angle. Just sayin'. . .

Apparently, Alice is also a crack golfer and great conversationalist. Next year I hope to meet him.

Now, back to the show.

The barn and stall fronts at the show are nothing short of incredible, and we could have easily spent an afternoon perusing them.

But eventually, even Wee tires of the horse show.

And rebels.

In her own unique fashion.

Although, she later pointed out she had lasted longer than at “your cutting shows.” Good point, kid.

Hope you enjoyed this look at the 2011 Scottsdale Arabian Show. Thanks for tuning in and let us know if you attended, what you loved, and, if you found Alice. We're paying big bucks for paparazzi shots.