To me, Arizona winters are first marked by the sun whispering its rays over the canyon wall, just enough to cast that early-morning long shadow from the cacti reaching toward the heavens, as I drop down into the wash in the saddle on my best horse, ready for a long trot through the deep sand.
They're highlighted by the ebbs and flows of friends coming in and out of town, as their work schedules allow, for this jackpot or that or just for a week of every jackpot they can make it to, punctuated by the big ones-from Vegas Week in Wickenburg to the World Series of Team Ropings and US Ropings to the NTR Finals each March.
Winters in Arizona are made better by the watering holes new and old, like Rancho Bar 7 and Anita's in Wickenburg to Peaks & Valleys in Cave Creek, the places that know so many snowbirds by name and rely on their business each winter.
They're also the 20-somethings, still meandering through life at their own pace, with a little jackpot money in their pockets, a place to plug in and a few outside horses to ride; the mamas chasing their toddlers across parking lots, packing bags of toys and coolers of snacks; and the old men who bring their own folding chairs to sit along the fence line at Downtown or Dynamite or Rancho Rio when the best in the world come to town before the Finals or during La Fiesta de Los Vaqueros, remembering the days they put their names down with Leo and Reg and Jerold. Those sights and feelings and more are what we capture in each Arizona Guide, crafted by our team of editors who love this lifestyle as much as you do. As you read through, don't be afraid to fold down a page or two so you can refer back when you're in town, and give the small businesses who supported us some business, too.