Sunday, February 28, 2010
Bull riding is the most popular, and with out a doubt, the most dangerous event in professional rodeo. Agility, balance, upper body control and strong legs are essential characteristics for the successful bull rider whose size averages 5'8" tall and 150 pounds. Judges look for good body position, control and use of the free arm, while touching the animal, himself or his equipment with his free hand or failing to complete an eight second ride will disqualify the contestant. As in all roughstock events, half the score in bull riding is based on the contestant's performance and the other half on the bulls performance as the judges consider the bull's strength, power, speed, how much he spins and how much he jumps and kicks. A 100 point score is perfect. Most of the best riders achieve scores in the high 80's....
After 9 days of competitive rodeo, the prize money is awarded today and only a few of the over 700 cowboys and cowgirls that participated in the disciplines of Bareback Riding, Steer Wrestling, Saddle Bronc Riding, Tie-Down Roping, Team Roping, Women's Barrel Racing, and Bull Riding will go home with some prize money and the prestigious Gold Buckle. They have come from all over the country to compete and have put on a really great show. A show that has become an annual Tucson tradition for 85 years........... Future rodeo contestant's
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Already in full swing, Tucson’s annual Rodeo is stirring up the dust. With its opening day this past Saturday, the nine-day La Fiesta de los Vaqueros, “Celebration of the Cowboys,” is rounding up cowboys and cowgirls donned in their leather boots and dusty flannels, cheering on professional bull riding and barrel racing.
In timed events, steer wrestling, team roping, tie-down roping and barrel racing, cowboys and cowgirls compete against the clock, as well as against each other. A contestant's goal is to post the fastest time in his or her event. In steer wrestling and the roping events, calves and steers are allowed a head start (only fair). The competitor, on horseback, starts in a three-sided fenced area called a box. The fourth side opens into the arena. Most of the time, the calves and the steer are the real winners as they are tough to catch.
Boys and girls ages 4-6 gear up with protective vests and helmets and test their riding skills on sheep. The key to success is to hang on!
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Arriving in the early morning can be the best part of working at the Tucson Rodeo for this rodeo junkie volunteer. It is truly a time that is so peaceful and tranquil for a place that will become so actioned packed once the gates open and the rodeo begins. A great opportunity to watch the horses run free and appreciate all the preparation, long before the rodeo clowns enter the arena........
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Monday, February 15, 2010
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Arriving from all over the globe, the top 64 golfers in the world are up the road at the Ritz Carton Dove Mountain Golf Resort and Spa getting ready for the Accenture Match Play Golf Tournament. Practice rounds started today and will continue tomorrow. This is the best time to get photographs as after Tuesday, cameras are not allowed. The elimination style tournament will start Wednesday when 32 pairs will be whittled down to 16 pairs to play on Thursday, then 8 pairs on Friday, 4 matches on Saturday, and then the remaining 2 golfers still standing will play 36 holes until there is a winner. We are especially watching Ben Crane as he has a Salem connection. His aunt is a Salem School Committee Member and while she will not be here to root him on, we will pick up the slack as cheerleaders for Ben…. His first opponent is Henrik Stenson from Sweden. (had my picture taken with him last year.) It's a very exciting time for our little town of Marana (just steps out of Tucson) to be hosting this event. The traffic up and down the boulevard will certainly be busier, but that's ok, the more the merrier...........
Update: First Day: Stenson withdraws at 1st hole due to illness. Ben moves on to play tomorrow.
Update: Second Day: Ben defeats Y.E. Yang. Ben moves on to play for a third day!
Update: Third day: A jumping cholla cactus got the best of Ben.......Villegas wins the round and moves on to day four. Too bad......for Ben. He goes home now.
Update: Final day today, Sunday: fancy pants, Ian Poulter wins.... Ben Casey is the runner up for a second year in a row..
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Dinner and a movie……certainly an American tradition for couples dating on Valentines Day. Multiply that by five, and we have a party going on. And in the Southwest, the movie is Crazy Heart; a story about a washed up country singer, called Bad Blake, who lives up to his name by giving into booze, a lot of bad habits, and spending his evenings with a different filly in a different country town every night while on the road performing his has-been country tunes. A talented songwriter in his younger days, but content to ride out the rest of his life with the dwindling rewards of a previous time. And then he meets a special girl with a young son. A girl that gives him a reason to get himself clean. And so……. Ada’s thinking “happily ever after” scenario here. But, not so fast. With out giving away the “rest of the story”, it’s not the ending that everyone in the theater is hoping for, but at least no one dies and his life does get better, if not better than ever…… And as my friend AJ sings, “In the real world, the guy don’t always get the girl”, and Bad doesn’t either. All their lives move on as they should. And......just maybe an Academy Award to show for it.......
On to dinner…….at the Claim Jumper.
When you step inside a Claim Jumper restaurant you will discover an environment that is warm and comfortable. The interiors of the restaurants feature huge Douglas Fir logs, natural rock, corrugated and pressed tin, natural and finished woods and large fireplaces. Rich fabrics, authentic log chairs, moving fan systems and colorful Tiffany lamps are used to decorate the lobbies, dining rooms and saloons. And while they tend to call themselves a Saloon, it’s a most upscale one for sure. Not pricy, but certainly a comfortable gathering place that’s not afraid of large parties. From choice steaks, fresh fish, rotisserie chicken, baby back pork ribs, fresh baked pot pies, specialty salads, wood-fired pizzas, pasta, sandwiches, burgers and more, I think our table had a good cross section of their menu. Ooos and ahh’s and wondering forks were sampling everything, and everyone’s plate was fair game. Also noted for their baked goods and desserts, we spent a lot of time on the dessert menu and watching what was being served all around us. A 10” slice of chocolate cake, a éclair the size of a football, and so many more decadent selections, most of us decided seeing was enough and that we would come back just for dessert another time. Our server was Michal and he was patient, attentive and even helped out with the photography. He certainly added to the great success of the evening and is a natural at his profession. A five "heart" evening for sure!
Friday, February 12, 2010
For four days in early February the population of the tiny historic village of Tubac swells tenfold as hundreds of roaming artists and artisans set up their white tents and offer their unique and often strange visions and creations to the masses. Thousands flock from all around Tucson, Green Valley, and Nogales to stroll through the village’s few streets, ducking in and out of all the crafty shops, eating grilled and fried food, kettlekorn and generally enjoying a 70-degree blue-sky day in late winter. Today, we've never seen it so crowded. It was so crowded, we were ushered so far back to park that we ended up driving through a farm and onto a local playground to find a spot. The parking attendant felt so bad, they didn't even want to take the $6 parking fee. While they did have a shuttle, we chose to hoof it past the farm animals and take some pictures. Tubac is only 50 miles south of Tucson, Arizona off I-19 heading toward Nogales. An easy, scenic drive, until you get there. Then, be prepared to walk your socks off...............
The Tubac Festival of the Arts is Arizona's longest-running arts festival. Year Round, the town of Tubac has a rich history dating back to the 1700's, and a vibrant arts community that visitors can explore. At the festival you will find street vendors, folk dance, music, as well as fine art and just-plain-fun art. Horse-drawn trolleys and wagons are available to shuttle people around the historic village.
Tubac was established in 1752 as a Spanish presidio (fort). It is now a destination for art enthusiasts as well as nature lovers who enjoy birding and walking along the river trail.
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