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Archive for February, 2013

U.S. BRACES FOR WORST BLIZZARD IN RECENT HISTORY, TUCSON GIGGLES ABOUT THE WHITE STUFF….

AS NIGHT APPROACHES SNOW CONTINUED TO FALL IN NORTHERN TUCSON.

AS NIGHT APPROACHES SNOW CONTINUED TO FALL IN NORTHERN TUCSON.

SLUSHY, RE-FREEZING RAIN AND SNOW WILL MAKE DRIVING CONDITIONS DIFFICULT.

SLUSHY, RE-FREEZING RAIN AND SNOW WILL MAKE DRIVING CONDITIONS DIFFICULT.

THIS IS ONE CONVERTIBLE THAT DOESN'T HAVE ITS TOP DOWN TONIGHT.

THIS IS ONE CONVERTIBLE THAT DOESN’T HAVE ITS TOP DOWN TONIGHT.

TUCSON, ARIZONA was surprised today at Noon with a blizzard–not one of those ice cream drinks, a wanna-beee whiteout or blowing snow all through Tucson mid-town.

Chester, a Sheltie takes a hard look at all the white stuff falling on his patio.

Chester, a Sheltie takes a hard look at all the white stuff falling on his patio.

The higher elevations were receiving major snow and the road to the top of the Catalina Mountains was closed at the base, to anyone but residents and employees with 4×4 or chains. All the major southern Arizona Peaks will get snow tonight and as night fell in northwest Tucson, there was some accumulation–but elsewhere it was already gone…

MORE TUCSON SNOW PHOTOS VISIT SOUTHWESTPHOTOBANK.COM….

RANCHO VISTOSO SAFEWAY PARKING LOT

RANCHO VISTOSO SAFEWAY PARKING LOT

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THE EPIC 24 HOURS in the OLD PUEBLO MOUNTAIN BIKE RACE TEST THE METTLE OF THE BIKER AND THE METAL OF THE BIKE, COMPETING RIDERS CUTOFF AT 1875

24 HOURS IN THE OLD PUEBLO MOUNTAIN BIKE RACE FIELDS ALMOST 2000 RIDERS WITH A RUNNING START

24 HOURS IN THE OLD PUEBLO MOUNTAIN BIKE RACE FIELDS ALMOST 2000 RIDERS WITH A RUNNING START

PASSING ON THE HIGHPOINT TRAIL TAKES A LOWER GEAR

PASSING ON THE HIGHPOINT TRAIL TAKES A LOWER GEAR

THE EPIC 24 HOURS IN THE OLD PUEBLO MOUNTAIN BIKE RACE, has grown into a world class event, pulling in bike riders from all over the Unites States, Canada, four riders from Italy and raised 5 tons of food for the community food bank points out Todd Sadow, the 24 Hour event director. Weather makes Southern Arizona great this time of the year but in the fourteen years since 24 Hours began, several years were wet and muddy which produces grumpy riders. Many other years were a mix, some much colder, others not so, one year it rained all weekend. The 2013 24 Hours Bike Race was perfect.
HELMET CAMS ARE THE RAGE

HELMET CAMS ARE THE RAGE

RIDERS STACK THEIR BIKES  CLOSE TO THE START

RIDERS STACK THEIR BIKES CLOSE TO THE START

COMPANY FOR THOSE LONELY NIGHTS

COMPANY FOR THOSE LONELY NIGHTS

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Seat down meal or a quick bite, or a coffee to go...

Seat down meal or a quick bite, or a coffee to go…

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RUNNING DOWN THEIR BIKES

RUNNING DOWN THEIR BIKES

Bikers set up camp Thursday in 24 HOUR TOWN which has its own radio station K-EPIC 105.7 FM, tee-shirts, ball caps, the SW Best BBQ for Tri-Tip Steak Sandwiches and Blue Banjo Breakfast burritos, for caffeine, Peddler on the Path, offered both espresso and coffee. To sit down and enjoy sauteed mussel and shrimp dishes, both meat and vegan meals are available from the Chef’s Kitchen run by the Cryderman family who offer a host of savory dishes. Rules for 24 HOUR TOWN, is simply, BE NICE, HAVE FUN AND DON’T HARSH THE MELLOW. The Pinal County Sheriff has a whole list of other rules, but they were there to protect the public welfare or watch the mellow, everyone appreciates their help making the event safe and successful. The orientation ride for the newbee’s was led by Rebecca Rusch, the “QUEEN OF PAIN” who holds three 24 Hour Solo World Champion and four-time Leadville 100 winner. It was recommended as a good way to learn the course. Fires were small and contained, propane was big for heat but body heat was the recommended to minimize the impact on the Willow Springs Ranch where the race is held. Campers tents, cars BBQs were all packed in tight with only inches between each other, attempting to stay within the open space available without killing more desert. I met riders this year from Oregon, California, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, from all over Arizona and Tucson. Riders wanting to race were cutoff at 1875 riders, walk-ons if they had not preregistered, could not race. I met a 34 year old Junior High School Principal named Ryan who flew in from Wisconsin to Tucson with his buddy and their bikes to race, and they couldn’t race but they rode the course prior to the race and slept in their car, rather bother coming back to Tucson and bed, “this is where we want to be he reported”. They were having fun anyway, “Mountain Bikers are much more outgoing folks” says Ryan, “Roadies or road racers, stare at the ground and say nothing to nobody and are competitive as hell, all about winning”. Mountain bikers are all about having fun, their campground-city 24 HOUR TOWN is jammed together into the smallest footprint possible, with trailers, winnibagos, fith wheel campers, car camps, cactus, canopies and trucks, plenty of cholla. At noon on Saturday everyone heads down to the start line where all riders have stashed their bikes on racks, afterwards the riders walk about 400 yards down the road where 1800 riders will get a Lemans-style running start, initiated by a 12 gauge shotgun. There are solo riders who will be seated on that bike seat for almost 24 hours straight and there are teams, many 4-5 riders each who will pass the baton to each other off and on for the next day. Either way, many have decorated their helmets with lighting, cholla-preventers, web cams (front and back), dolls and dinosaurs and beer cans, and all have lighting on their bikes. Many participants have raced at the 24 Hours before, but many confessed to being newbee’s, all were ready and excited. Four teams were made-up of Tucson youth aging between 12-18, and all twenty-five riders are driven bikers called El Grupo Youth Cycling and winners already, I was told there is “a bad-ass or two” in that group. After the huge start, I headed over to the end where the riders descend a rock face to time out for the lap of 16 miles around Black Mountain, 40 miles north of Tucson, in the pristine Sonoran Desert.
END OF THE 16.3 MILE TRAIL

END OF THE 16.3 MILE TRAIL

RIDER TAKES A HARD FALL

RIDER TAKES A HARD FALL

When the leader started down the rock, Ryan pointed out he was a pro rider who lived in Wisconsin during the summer and in Arizona in winter, his lap had taken around a hour, twenty minutes. By noon on President’s Day this city of 4,000 will have disappeared without a trace. Except for the $20,000 raised for the Bag-it Charity and the four to five tons of canned food raised for the Community Food Bank, this event brings quality athletes into the South Western United States and brings big tourist dollars to communities nearby like Catalina, Oro Valley and Tucson. Many 24 Hour in the Old Pueblo participants were riders from Tucson, most of them knew that the Old Pueblo, is what Tucson was called in its earliest days during the 1700’s…

This thin ribbon of cactus free desert stretches 16 plus miles around Willow Springs Ranch.

This thin ribbon of cactus free desert stretches 16 plus miles around Willow Springs Ranch.

MORE 24 HOURS in the OLD PUEBLO PHOTOGRAPHS, GO TO SOUTHWEST PHOTOBANK GALLERIES….CLICK HERE

TRAFFIC EBBS AND FLOWS ON THE HIGHPOINT TRAIL THEN IT ALL STACKS UP IN THE CHOLLA

TRAFFIC EBBS AND FLOWS ON THE HIGHPOINT TRAIL THEN IT ALL STACKS UP IN THE CHOLLA

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SADDLEBROOK SNOW “PERFECT STORM”, WINTER-WONDERLAND MORNING, GONE BY MID-DAY…

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THIS SADDLEBROOKE GARGOYLE SHOWS LITTLE ENTHUSIASM FOR THIS CHANGE IN THE WEATHER-NO REAL FAN OF SNOW...

THIS SADDLEBROOKE GARGOYLE SHOWS LITTLE ENTHUSIASM FOR THIS CHANGE IN THE WEATHER-NO REAL FAN OF SNOW…

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While the Northeast United States is digging out of three feet of new snow and a blizzard of historic proportions — across the great divide on the opposite side of the U.S. Tucsonans awoke to a frosty white deposit on all the mountains surrounding this desert community. The Catalina Range above 9,000 feet took the biggest hit with a fancy white shawl laced down to her foothills. More surprisingly, was the dusting left on the Tortolita’s, the Tucson’s, the Santa Rita’s and the Rincon Mountains all had deep deposits on their higher peaks. Much like the song about Camelot, the rain fell during the night and was gone by daybreak, snow on all peaks is a unique event particularly when the overall temperatures were already in the fifties. Clouds kept sunshine from attacking the snow until around noon when it popped out and the snow began retreating but not before the breaking up clouds allowed the sun to spotlight the peaks setting off their snowy lids against dark backgrounds. Saddlebrooke, Arizona recently was selected as one of the best retirement communities in the United States, particularly due to its setting at the base of the Santa Catalina Range not far from the University of Arizona’s BioSphere, City of Tomorrow. The snow was a big draw and brought lots of walkers out to stride around and check out what snow does when it falls on the desert. It is very textured experience and folks can be very impressed, most remembered winters back east like today which has seized the entire eastern seaboard, shutting down businesses, keeping folks at home, stopping the trains, buses and more than 5,000 air flights. Today the east coast is paralyzed, highways shut down, folks are stranded, some without phone and power lines are down and people are again without heat and lighting–today in Tucson the sun showed itself around noon, warmed up the land and melted away all the snow. There was nothing worse back in the mid-west, three months into a long winter with the black dirty snow stacked against curb and at times in the middle of the streets and knowing you would be climbing over that ugly snow for weeks, except when it would melt quick and refreeze as a invisible glaze–that’s when things really got fun. Southern Arizona was magnificent this morning, the air was so clear you could see forever and by afternoon, it was just beautiful.

SOUTHWESTPHOTOBANK PHOTO GALLERIES: FOR MORE SNOW PICTURES…CLICK HERE

U.S. and CANADA DIG OUT OF HISTORIC SNOWSTORM, 370 THOUSAND WITHOUT POWER, 15 DEAD… CLICK HERE

TORTOLITA'S MOUNTAINS 1460

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SELLS 75TH ALL INDIAN RODEO & FAIR, OLDEST IN THE UNITED STATES & BEST ENTERTAINMENT TICKET!

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Yree Lepa

Yree Lepa

Celebrating the 75th year of the Tohono O’odham Nation Rodeo & Fair, the longest running All-Indian rodeo in the United States! The Rodeo & Fair is the biggest and most expansive event of the year. Bring the family out to enjoy the full experience there is sure to be something for everyone – rodeo competitions, traditional games, food, crafts, carnival rides, fun run, exhibits and performances. The U.S. longest-running American Indian rodeo has a Junior Rodeo which this year fielded 300 young ones, it has a powwow, carnival, parade, Wailia dances, and food/crafts at the Livestock Complex in Sells, 60 miles west of Tucson. PKW_1326 This year’s schedule ran from January 31 through February 3, 2013 at the Eugene P. Tashquinth Sr. Livestock Complex in Sells, Arizona. Named after the long-time voice of Tribal Rodeo’s, the Chu Chui resident (1929-2006) Eugene Tashquinth spent his days bringing order to chaos, heading up most of the events at the livestock area, so when they built the new one, they named it after Eugene Tashquinth. Equally proud is the Tohono O’odham Hedricks family whose matriarch Silas’s name blesses the Rodeo pavilion where he excelled in the arena, his grandson Chad Hedrick put the first score (6.3) on the clock with his bareback ride. Sells is a place of tradition and for the ten thousand residents of the third largest Indian reservation in the United States the annual rodeo and fair is a time of gathering, folks begin gathering before noon and the festivities go way into the night with the Wailia ending around l a.m.. The Rodeo and Pow Wow bring in native American competitors from all over the South West, particularly from Arizona tribes, like the Navajo, Hopi, San Carlos Apache, White Mountain Apache Tribe and their Tohono cousins: the Pima and Maricopa Tribes. Every year, is an old-home-town visit, with folks coming together to visit, catch-up, see who big all the cousins have gotten and to get new pictures of the kids. PKW_1184PKW_1197PKW_1134 The mid-way is a beacon to all who love carnivals, greasy food, fast rides, regge music from Bob Marley, and tee shirts featuring heavy music idols and black goth signs. Visitors pay $8 for a wristband allowing all day access, for those over 55 years-of-age, the senior charge is $2. The annual Toka Tournament brings together the Tohono O’odham “Dream Teams”, like “Sun-Running-Women” who battle it out on a football sized field fighting over a wooden puck laced with leather and flung up-field with long sticks pulled from the ribs of the saguaro cactus. The start is much like the game lacrosse-another Indian game, it begins almost like a rugby scrum–and then off down field, very little is out of bound. These women celebrate this age old tradition all afternoon long with teams chasing each other up and down the playing field, the ebb and flow, the eventual goal and high-fives all around, losers too. The Pow Wow begins with the traditional Gourd Dance and breaks down into male, female, fancy, Plains categories featuring the finest in Pow Wow and Drum traditions. Just off the mid-way, the crowd not to photograph are the Yaqui Deer dancers nor can you record them with smartphones. The Yaqui Band features a combination of home-made instruments which accompany the dancers, one wears the head of a small deer atop the head, the main dancers each wore a mask to fill out the cast for their dance.

The Santa Rosa Shell Dancers

The Santa Rosa Shell Dancers


Earlier the Santa Rosa traditional dancers displayed their dance abilities, wearing their eye-catching shell-leg chaps, made from the shell carried from the Sea of Cortez by their ancestors who later traded the shell to Hohokam in the Salt-Gila River area for their cotton. The Tohono’s Hohokam ancestors valued the shell as a sign of rank, wealth, and much of it was fashioned into jewelry, like bracelets, necklaces, and leggings with shell leg tinklers for dancers The Tohono ancestors had a prehistoric salt trail across the vast waterless Sonoran Desert, across what is today’s US-MEXICO Border and into the blackened landscape of the Sierra de Pinacate lavafields, before crossing the enormous star sand dunes of the Grande Deserto for ten miles before reaching the Gulf of California where they harvested the precious salt and processed the shell, carrying home only what they needed to make jewelry to trade. Traditions have lasted thousands of years in the lands west of Tucson, they exist today and they will thrive tomorrow. The Tohono Tribe are gracious hosts and they welcome young and old, Indian or not as visitors to their Rodeo and Fair. It surprises me how few Tucsonans take advantage and visit the annual Tohono gathering, it surprises me more how few Tucson businesses sponsor, advertise or even acknowledge the tribe and its good work and its people of sterling, ageless character who have been our faithful neighbor for centuries.

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SOUTHWEST PHOTOBANK GALLERY FOR MORE SELLS AZ RODEO PHOTOS CLICK HERE ….

2013 RODEO SCHEDULE…CLICK HERE

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