With 10-gallon hats and spurs at the ready, Tucson families are gearing up for a return to the Wild West.
There are plenty of events this coming rodeo week for rowdy ranch hands of all ages. Put on your bola tie and your fake handlebar mustache and check out these events:
• La Fiesta de los Vaqueros opens Saturday and runs through March 1 at Tucson Rodeo Grounds, 4823 S. Sixth Ave. Gates open at 11 a.m. Saturday, with Dodge Mutton Bustin’ and Justin Junior Rodeo at 12:30 p.m. ProRodeo Competition is from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $12-$20. Go to www.tucsonrodeo.com for more information.
• Meet writer and Tombstone expert Jack Ziegler as he relates and enacts the events of the Gunfight at the OK Corral from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the Pima County Public Library’s Himmel Park Branch, 1035 N. Treat Ave. Ziegler will share the “real” story of what happened between the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday and the McLaurys and Clantons. “It was like a misdemeanor arrest gone horribly awry,” Ziegler says of the infamous gunbattle. At issue was who was to control Tombstone, he said.
Ziegler’s love of shootout lore started at age 12, when he read “Tombstone: An Iliad of the Southwest.” The retired educator and Tombstone resident has researched the gunfight for nearly 20 years and has written and spoken widely on Territorial Arizona. Call 594-5305 for more information on the free event.
• Nothing says “yee-haw” like a bad guy getting blown up. Check out the daily Dragoon Street Wild, Wild West Stunt Shows, fast-paced comedy and action skits performed at Trail Dust Town, 6541 E. Tanque Verde Road. Shows are Mondays through Fridays at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays at 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. Shows are free, and the cowboys gratefully accept donations. Go to wildweststuntshow.com for more information.
• Spend an afternoon with Baxter Black, the best-selling cowboy poet in the world, Sunday at 2 p.m. at Tohono Chul Park, 7366 N. Paseo Del Norte. This former large-animal veterinarian makes a living by shining a spotlight on the flaws and foibles of everyday cowboy life, the day-to-day ups and downs of people who live with livestock and work the land. Admission is $25 general and $20 members. For information, call 742-6455 or go to tohonochulpark.org.
• Children can make their own Western-style bandanna and paper bag vest to dress the part for rodeo fun at the Tucson Children’s Museum, 200 S. Sixth Ave., at 3 p.m. daily, Tuesday through March 1. On Thursday and Friday, kids can make stick ponies at 12:30 p.m. and play a game of horseshoes at 1:30 p.m. both days. Admission is $7 adults, $5 seniors and for ages 2-18. For more information, call 792-9985 or go to tucsonchildrensmuseum.org.
• The 84th Tucson Rodeo Parade kicks off at 9 a.m. Thursday. The parade starts at Ajo and Park avenues, heads south on Park to Irvington Road, west on Irvington to Sixth Avenue and north on Sixth to the Tucson Rodeo Grounds. Grandstand seating is on Irvington Road, and tickets may be purchased at booths near the grandstands for $6 for adults and $4 for children 12 and younger. Other viewing along the route is free. Go to tucsonrodeoparade.org for information.
• Branches of the Pima County Public Library are hosting special rodeo story times for kids. For locations and times of the free events, go to www.library.pima.gov/about/news/?id=1211.
• Get ready to pet a Clydesdale from 1 to 3 p.m. Thursday in the parking lot of the Flowing Wells Branch Library, 1730 W. Wetmore Road. Meet an 1,800-pound Clydsdale and learn about horses from Nancy Roahring of Step Up Into T.L.C. Roahring will also bring a smaller horse. There will be crafts and horse-related stories inside the library at this free event. Call 594-5225 for information.
• Try out your best chess moves Feb. 27 from noon to 3 p.m. at the 3rd Annual Rodeo Daze Chess Knockout speed chess tournament at the Valencia Branch Library, 202 W. Valencia Road. Players will face off through single-round elimination. Snacks are provided at the free event for kids and teens. Call 594-5390 for more information.