Tag Archives: cowboys

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MY ARIZONA ADVENTURE (Pt. III) – a western ghost town & a cowboy shoot ’em up!

Just like in the movies, the real wild west has plenty of ghost towns and my hosts, AJ and Tom, took me to the Goldfields ghost town north of Phoenix.  It used to be a real working gold mine town back in the late 1800’s complete with mines, a saloon, general store, a prairie apothecary and bordello (a genuine whorehouse). We arrived in time to enjoy a train ride around the town, play in the shootin’ gallery and witness a noisy shoot-out with the local Sheriff and bad guys. So much fun and the views of the spectacular Superstitions rocks/mountains were breathtaking. 20190407_113004 20190407_124038 20190407_121441 IMG_7518I dropped in to the Siphon Draw Apothecary where lovely pharmacist/medicine woman Colleen (pictured below) created a beautiful refreshing & healing body spray for me using natural aloe and geranium oils.  www.siphondraw.com 20190407_132057AJ took some great pics of the saloon, the bordello and other buildings (below)…IMG_7529 IMG_7534 IMG_7563 IMG_7558…as I saved seats for the big showdown at the OK (for now) corral!

What a hoot! After this, we decided we needed to try our own hands at shootin’ so we headed to the shack out back and took up laser rifles…20190407_122435Didn’t feel much like the real thing but for 2 bucks, I ain’t complaining. Bang…bang bang. Gotcha, ya vermit!  AJ & Tom took a time-out at the big saloon and posed for me in front of the horses and the big mountains in the background.20190407_124152Next, we rode the choo choo train that circled the town, giving us a great view of all the buildings and mining activities.20190407_133136 20190407_135505

If you want to visit Goldfield ghost town for yourself and experience the excitement of the wild west, here’s all the info your need:  www.goldfieldghosttown.comIMG_7593Tomorrow…join me in Sedona (below) the new age capital of Arizona, where I experience a “vortex” and marvel at the rock formations and mesas, and the stunning beauty of the desert during the rare “super bloom”.20190408_121116

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My Arizona Adventure (Pt.II) – I visit Old Town & Western Heritage Museum

Saturday April 6th dawned bright and early for me…the sun streamed in my bedroom window (pictured below) by 6:30am and the birds were in full chorus! 20180406_165843Today was the day AJ was taking me shopping in Old Town, Scottsdale’s touristy section with all the souvenir shops and boutiques complete with wild west themed exteriors. Our first stop was the weekly farmers’ market – not your usual ramshackle clutch of stalls and tents, but a well laid out, clean and welcoming market with free samples, deelish healthy breakfast treats and tons of local produce. Everywhere you looked, there were flowers and happy smiling shoppers. 20180406_090834After indulging in a home-made quiche with honey drizzled over it (wow, so yummy) and downing cups of hot local coffee, we headed off to stroll the Old Town streets.  There’s a fabulous art gallery, home decor/accessories and artifacts called Bischoff’s Gallery that AJ wanted to show me so off we went, passing several stunning western sculptures…20180406_092133 20180406_092348 20180406_092455I found so many wonderful treasures inside Bischoff’s including this painted deerskin plus numerous kachina dolls20180406_094017 20180406_094026…and I picked up a couple of modestly priced carved wooden figurines – a coyote in full howl and a bunny rabbit, plus a string of tiny red glass chili peppers that are now hanging on my front door.  www.bischoffsgallery.com

More wanderings in and out of souvenir stores, picking up fridge magnets for friends as requested.20180406_092510 20180406_103518We came upon a stunning fountain with several galloping horses…20180406_110009It was getting just a wee bit hot so we ducked into the fab Berdena’s cafe where the staff prepared fresh squeezed orange juice for me and a tea for AJ. Friendly & welcoming staff made for a pleasant visit. www.berdenas.com20180406_111007 20180406_110704More schlepping around the streets before heading to the incredible Museum of the West where I was to find treasures from cowboy history, native American culture and some samples of the great western artist, Charles Russell.  I’ll let the photos do the talking…20180406_114636 20180406_115545 20180406_115615This next one is AJ’s favourite, as if you couldn’t tell!20180406_115641And these are two of mine….20180406_115655 20180406_115707They’re also heavy into pot…clay pots, that is…20180406_115738 20180406_115751 20180406_115811Lots of wild west memorabilia was on display…
20180406_120631 20180406_120656 20180406_12074820180406_121639 20180406_121730 20180406_121833 20180406_121928I was particularly drawn to the Charles Russell exhibition of his paintings and stories about the women in his life…20180406_120043 20180406_120027 20180406_115936And there were so many amazing bronzes of native Americans…just look at these regal warriors:20180406_120120 20180406_120152And of course I found my very own buffalo…Dances with Glenda!20180406_121022The museum has an outdoor courtyard filled with sculptures…20180406_121108 20180406_121147 …then back inside I discovered a tribute to John Wayne by his artist friend Harry Jackson near the gift shop:20180406_121409 20180406_121416The museum also had a “secret garden” of sculptures around back – look what I found there…20180406_123304 20180406_123441 20180406_123640Big thank you to Jeffrey in the gift store who pointed out some great western books to bring home as well as some cool cowboy fridge magnets (these ones are for me!). Learn more about Scottsdale’s Museum of the West by visiting their website: www.scottsdalemuseumwest.org

More Arizona Adventure stories coming from this lone ranger so stay tuned!20180406_133437

Photo Credit: Shane Kuhn

YEE-HAAAW! TORONTO JOURNALISTS COWBOY-UP TO LAUNCH THE CALGARY STAMPEDE’S 2016 MEDIA CAMPAIGN

Last night I had an absolute blast with the folks from the CALGARY STAMPEDE and their local PR reps, Immedia PR at the Boots & Bourbon Saloon on Queen St East. All us city-slicker media types had a hoot’n’hollering good time pressing the flesh with all the cowboys, rodeo queens, the beautiful and charming Indian Princess and marketing representatives of the “greatest show on earth” taking place out west this July. 20160428_174224So nice to be greeted at the front door by such pretty cowgirls (above) who were all well-versed in the history of Canada’s premiere outdoor western festival. I brought along my singer/songwriter friend Laura Rock (www.lrockmusic.com) who immediately became a fan of country music!!20160428_180430The drinks and food were simply outstanding! The catering was handled by Good Son Restaurant as well as Boots & Bourbon’s own team, and the mouthwatering BBQ treats would satisfy even the most jaded old trail hand. They were all served by the cutest waitresses and bartenders. Ladies, you looked after us so well, thank you, and the massive buffalo cheesy balls (2nd pic) were incredible….yummmmmm20160428_183007 20160428_180159(0) 20160428_180007Lots of great photo opps with all the Stampede celebs and mgmn’t….here I’m flanked by (LtoR) bullrider Kynan Vine plus dancer, language keeper, traditional storyteller and cultural presenter Treffrey Deerfoot and chuck wagoneer extraordinaire Mark Sutherland.20160428_181118I participated in the event social media challenge, hashtagging all my Instagram pics and videos…whew, that was exhausting, but I was thrilled to see Likes and Follows from as far away as Texas, Florida, California and even Mexico!20160428_175935I was particularly excited to see that a Ft. Worth boot designer liked this pic I snapped of our lovely Indian Princess’s stunning hand-tooled boots…what do you think of them?20160428_194116Even shots of the Boots & Bourbon interior garnered lots of social media attention…20160428_17452220160428_183032We were all a little nervous about seeing the mechanical bull set up…no, don’t make me get on. I wouldn’t last 2 seconds let alone 8, especially after a couple of drinks…yikes!  Fortunately it disappeared before the intro’s and official announcements were made. Whew!20160428_182933Everyone was excited to hear the entertainment line-up at this year’s Stampede, especially these folks from Budweiser who were particularly impressed with the announcement of Aaron Pritchett as one of the musical guests.20160428_192212 20160428_192446The entertainment was provided by The Washboard Union band who had everyone up on the dancefloor…20160428_193319

I followed (stalked?) sponsor Jonathan Welsh of Banff Trail Riders through the crowd….great jacket!20160428_193449I then ran into one of my fave reality TV hosts Kevin Brauch (formerly The Thirsty Traveller, from back when reality tv really was fun and entertaining!). Kevin (below) had received his souvenir white Stetson earlier and had spent time “decorating” it for the event….LOL20160428_184853 20160428_185433…and I loved all the cowgirl fashion. When I was little, all I wanted to be when I grew up was a cowgirl. These ladies are lucky to be living MY life…grrrrr20160428_182257 20160428_182304After all the western fun, food and friendship, Laura and I rode the rails (subway rails, that is) home. I’m sure we scared a few fellow riders with our antics. LOL!!

20160428_200842 20160428_200915And when I walked in my front door I just had to share my adventure with my own western compadres….20160428_202336 20160428_202422Check out some of the goodies in my gift bag…20160428_202642Thank you to EVERYONE involved in presenting such a fun media launch. If you’ve never been to the Calgary Stampede before, this is the year to go. All details can be found at www.CalgaryStampede.com and please visit their sponsor sites, too.

Banff trail Riders  www.horseback.com

Alberta’s group of Fairmont Hotels:  www.Fairmont.com 

Boots & Bourbon Saloon: www.bootsbourbon.com

The Washboard Union band: www.thewashboardunion.com/

Jelly Modern Donuts:  www.jellymoderndoughnuts.com

Immedia PR: www.immediapr.com

Blog title photo courtesy of Shane Kuhn

Photo Credit: Shane Kuhn

Photo Credit: Shane Kuhn

Photo Credit: Chris Bolin/ Calgary Stampede

Photo Credit: Chris Bolin/ Calgary Stampede

Photo Credit: Bill Marsh

Photo Credit: Bill Marsh

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I WANNA BE A COWGIRL! ARTIST BRUCE K. LAWES COMPLETES ANOTHER STUNNING EQUINE PORTRAIT

Is this not the coolest cowgirl painting ever? Yes, this is a painting… not a photo. I must say it brought back many happy horsey memories of my own youth, spending hours in the saddle and in the barn with ponies and horses at the local riding stables back home in Australia.

Internationally renowned artist Bruce K. Lawes has just completed this 18″ x 13″ oil on linen painting of a girl and her horse titled “Partners” in time for The Great American West art show and sale at the Settlers West Gallery in Tucson, AZ. taking place Nov. 21st.  http://www.settlerswest.com/html/gaw.html

So if you need to feed that inner cowgirl (or boy) soul, check out Bruce’s brand new website for more details of this and other horse paintings. “Partners” will soon be available for sale as a Limited Edition print – but why not sign up for Bruce’s e-newsletter and you could actually WIN a print of “Partners” or other Limited Edition prints (see samples below) as Bruce will be drawing a name each month from his subscription list to win a Limited Edition print of your choice, valued at US$195.00.   http://bklawesart.com/a-pryor-engagement gypsy-blu-sunrise in-the-ready

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I TURN INTO “MUSTANG SALLY” AT HOTDOCS SCREENING OF “UNBRANDED”

I always wanted to be a cowgirl, ever since I watched my first Roy Rogers tv show. And I love it when I get a chance to live out my fantasies…like when I pretended to be Annie Oakley as a 5yr old, getting my first pony, or my visit to Fort Worth, TX in the 90’s where I hung out with rodeo cowboys and the real Texas Rangers (below).

Li'l sharp shooter Riding on her pony Texas Ranger in Ft.WorthOne of the joys of writing for The Rider, a Canadian equine newspaper is that I get to read books, listen to music and watch movies all about cowboys! Today I watched a brand new horsey documentary called UNBRANDED that was having its world premiere at the HotDocs Festival.   Talk about serious cowboy overload!

home-slider-slide-2This gloriously shot film features four young Texas cowboys: Jonny Fitzsimons, Tom Glover, Ben Thamer, and Ben Masters whose idea the mega-ride was and the leader of this once-in-a-lifetime adventure through several States starting at the US/Mexican border all the way up to the Canadian border.

“Unbranded” started with cheap tequila and greasy enchiladas in one of the few places in the world where you can find people crazy enough to ride a horse for thousands of miles—Texas A&M University. Ben Masters.

A camera crew mounted on horseback themselves followed the guys  through every laugh, every disagreement, every runaway horse incident and the occasional tear or two. Director & cinematographer Phill Baribeau (below) has delivered a superb piece of filmmaking, employing dynamic camera angles and overhead shots via drones that show the vast expanse of prairies & deserts, mountain pastures, cliff faces, rivers….and the Grand Canyon in ways few of us have or will ever see. And the mustangs made it over all of these!

home-slider-slide-5The long-standing conflict between the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), private ranchers, wild horse preservation societies and animal rights activists threads through the documentary, and the issues are dealt with by the filmmakers in a very balanced presentation. All sides of the argument for wild horse open ranges vs. cattle/sheep grazing rights, public access and recreational use of the land the cowboys ride through are shared. We learn about wild horse population stats, we hear intelligent opinions and logical options for land mgmn’t & usage via sympathetically inserted interviews, never losing the main storyline of the ride as we get to know the cowboys and each of their horses….and one cute little burro called Donquita.

UNBRANDED is currently looking for a North American theatrical distribution deal but those in Toronto can attend the final HotDocs screening on Sat. May 3rd @ 10:30am (see the HotDocs website for tickets) but you can see the trailer and meet the cowboys and their horses on the official website: http://unbrandedthefilm.com/

In the interim, here are some great pics I grabbed from today’s screening and watch for my film review in next month’s www.TheRider.com

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20150426_152801Above: the fimmakers were treated like rockstars after the screening with lots of new fans flocking to the front of the theatre, wanting to say howdy and get an autograph.

20150426_153916Above LtoR: director Baribeau, producer Dennis Aig and horse wrangler & cowboy poet Val Geissler pose for post-screening photo opps.  and below, are joined by cowboy star Ben Masters to frame their poster.

20150426_154004Below, I get hog-tied by Val as Ben, Phill and Dennis look on nervously, and Ben’s dad records the event for the family photo album.

20150426_153941 20150426_154139Follow UNBRANDED’s Facebook page:  www.facebook.com/unbrandedthefilm/

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GIDDY-UP AND DANCE! ODYSSEO HORSES MESMERIZE AT MEDIA DAY

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of attending the media preview of Cavalia’s “ODYSSEO” show featuring 70+ horses and dozens of riders, trainers and gymnasts performing under the big top down in Toronto’s portlands.

20150407_132204 20150407_132420We all crammed into the press area and pulled out cameras and spent 55 minutes clicking and rolling as the horses jumped, galloped, and danced to haunting live music, many horses working without reins or any sort of tack – it was amazing to watch how gently and calmly the trainers worked with them.

20150407_133420 20150407_133835(0) 20150407_134020There are many vignettes featuring medieval style dressage (above), and energetic cowboy rough-riding (below) demonstrated….

20150407_135340 20150407_135445 20150407_135703It was difficult to capture the fast galloping trick riders (above) but soon the mood changed once again….

20150407_140127 20150407_140145Wow….they filled the giant arena with water, turning the scene into a beautiful waterfall pool where the horses danced like 4-legged water sprites.

20150407_140815 20150407_140910 20150407_1409273 years ago, I attended Odysseo when the show first came to town. But on Tuesday, I still got the chills watching these breathtaking beasties charge around, perfectly choreographed. Congratulations to Artistic Director Normand Latourelle for maintaining such a high standard of professionalism and inspiration. And bravo to all the creative team, the riders and trainers, the musicians and the beautiful vocalist who brought the “middle earth” vibe,  and those astounding gymnasts who jumped, bounced, climbed around the arena with such energy and gusto.

20150407_141402 20150407_141424Equine artist, Bruce K. Lawes (http://bklawesart.com/) came with me to shoot additional photos and he was in horse heaven!

20150407_143154 20150407_143513 20150407_143225 20150407_143211Local horsewoman, Amanda from Mississauga, rode in the show, too. (below)

20150407_142245And here’s the amazing trainer who worked with 12 “free” horses earlier in the show.

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20150407_133219So if you love horses, if you enjoy theatre, if you’re passionate about dance – you MUST visit ODYSSEO while it’s here in Toronto. The show has already been extended for another two weeks so check your newspapers or visit their website for show times and ticket information: http://cavalia.net/en/odysseo/tickets-info/toronto-can

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