About 60 miles northwest of Phoenix and nestled into the Sonoran Desert lies the cowboy town of Wickenburg, Arizona. With a population hovering around 7,000, this town is all about good country living, with a healthy measure of Wild West thrown in. We visited just this past week to deliver a few of the issues containing our first Snowbirds Guide to Riding in Arizona.
While there we decided to pop into the Desert Caballeros Western Museum. The space is small and intimate with the first floor housing one of the most impressive collections of western art. Just about every iconic western painter and sculptor of the 20th century is represented here in original work, including works by George Catlin, Albert Bierstadt, Joseph Henry Sharp, Oscar Berninghaus, Joe Beeler, Harrison Begay and several stunning bronzes by the likes of Earle Heikka and Gib Singleton. Right next to Charlie Russell\’s iconic The Navajo, is Frederic Remington\’s 1890 Vaquero. That sort of thing. It took our breath away.
Heading out of town we stopped at a recommended and local favourite – the Cowboy Trading Post. Another worthwhile stop, it\’s a divine little mix of gear and cowboy accruements.
“We call it Cowboy Ecletic,” said owner Connie Lynne, who explained the town of Wickenburg really comes alive with horse activity from late October to March. Known as the \”team roping capital of the world,\” the town is buzzing all winter long with ropings every day of the week. Connie and her partner Tim Pearce, know their clientele well. Pearce is a local farrier, horse trainer and roper, who has been involved in the local horse community for 30 years. With all the staff combined, Lynne notes the store has a century-plus worth of experience among all of those who work here.
By the time I left I was privy to some local western trivia, had a rundown of the incredible western performance talent in the area, such as cutter Todd Adolf, Buddy Uldrickson, and new talent in the area like Jaton Lord, Ray Hunt\’s grandson, who had just returned to his place at nearby Skull Valley from this years Legacy of Legends in Las Vegas.
Finally, I made a sweet birthday present purchase. All in a day\’s work. (smile)