Tips for Traveling Arizona Travel: West Phoenix
Traveling tips for including places to stay, rope, eat and more in the West Phoenix area.

Popular for its outdoors and wildlife, Buckeye, Arizona, refers to itself as Arizona’s biggest opportunity. It also got the name Buckeye from an early settler from the Buckeye State of Ohio.

Buckeye is known in the Western industry as the home of barrel racing’s Classic Equine Futurity and Derby each January at the South Buckeye Equestrian and Events Center, as well as a variety of World Series of Team Roping events.

While Buckeye is a hot spot for all things roping and barrel racing, the city was built around its vibrant Monroe Avenue. Step out and explore Monroe Avenue and the Verrado Valley Center and learn more of the area’s rich history.

Buckeye has many restaurants, activities, and more for you and the family to enjoy. With three arenas hosting jackpots all winter long, the roping will take care of itself. But take a break and enjoy all that Buckeye has to offer. Buckeye is also close enough to other local roping hot spots, so don’t be afraid to jump in the truck to add some more ropings to your calendar. 

Buckeye’s South Buckeye Equestrian Center plays host to multiple World Series ropings throughout the winter. TRJ File Photo by Chelsea Shaffer

Where to Practice 

The South Buckeye Equestrian and Events Center is a major hot spot for all things roping. This facility has four arenas (indoor and outdoor) that hosts two major World Series ropings, Nov. 16–18 and March 1–3. The Center also hosts weekly jackpots for team roping and barrel racing Tuesdays through Thursdays.

If you plan on camping out during the winter months, hook up your trailer at the RV Park, which has 100 full hookups, Wi-Fi and dry storage. Also, put your horses up in the two Mare Motels, which both stall 60 head in 16’x16’ stalls; or the two Castle Brooke Barns, where your horses will be put up in 16’x16’ stalls with rubber mat flooring, individual tack lockers, automatic waterers, and full-service care with one barn steward. Then, take your horses over to the five 60-foot round pens to relax and stretch their legs.

If you’re in the mood for some food and drinks during or after a jackpot, not to worry. The Tack Room Bar and Grill, located below the crow’s nest with a full bar, is open seven days a week.

The Western Trails Arena is the host arena for High Call Productions, run by Jim Nichols every week starting Nov. 16 until March 2. Every Friday, the roping will start with the Over 40 and All Ladies, the #8 Handicapped, #9 Last Man Standing, and a #10 Handicapped. Saturdays will start with the #9 Handicapped, followed by the #11 Handicapped and the #13 Over/Under. You must have current Coggins paperwork when you arrive at the facility.

The “Vegas Baby!” roping run by Wade Tibbitts will be Thursday, Dec. 6, with a #14 pick or draw, #13, #12 and #11; and Sunday, Dec. 9, will be the #10 pick or draw, #9, and #8.

The Western Trails Ranch roping, produced by Wade Tibbitts, will be Sundays Nov. 18 and 25, and Dec. 2. The ropings begin with a #12 Equalizer, a Mixed and an All-Girl, with a breakaway roping to follow.

When there aren’t roping events going on, the arena will be open for riding from noon to 5 p.m. for a $5 fee for the entire family. Then, when you aren’t riding, head over to the Grand Ave. Opre Restaurant, where they will have live bands and even host karaoke. When you get a little hungry, check out the Hungry Bull Menu for some pizza or tator tots.

If you love family-oriented venues, then you’ll love Dunn’s Arena, owned by the Tanner family in Litchfield Park. Dunn’s Arena offers full-service boarding, which includes feeding twice a day, stall cleaning, turn-outs and more. They have 20’x20’ indoor stalling or 18’x18’ outdoor covered stalls. Full hookups are limited, so you’ll need to reserve one before you pull in.

With three running arenas, the facility hosts weekly team ropings and barrel races. If you need a quick place to stop and run a few, make it Dunn’s Arena. 

Veterinary Services; Truck and Trailer Repair

• Durango Equine Veterinary Clinic has five on-site vets. They offer haul-ins and house calls and always have an on-call vet for after-hour emergencies. The main clinic is the North Farm, with a laboratory, office and two stocks for exams.


• Desert Edge Equine is close for emergency needs, so don’t hesitate to call in the event of one. Schedule an acupuncture appointment and get your horse feeling right after those long hours in the roping pen.


• Hernandez Road & Tire Service will meet you wherever you are and either tow you or help you out on the side of the road.


(primary and after hours)

• Cummins Sales and Service, in nearby Avondale, can help you with just about any truck need. Their QuickServe approach provides you with fast diagnosis, repairs, personalized service and more.


• The Circle T Truck and Trailer Repair, LLC offers 24-hour service. Whether you’re having trouble with your truck or if the generator on your trailer isn’t running right, Circle T can help you out. Pull your truck and trailer into the shop or call for roadside assistance.


Where to Eat

Age Fotostock

You can always eat on site at the South Buckeye Equestrian and Events Center, Dunn’s Arena and the Western Trails Arena, but sometimes you need a little break away from “home.”

Next to Dunn’s Arena, Dillon’s KC Style BBQ is located inside of the Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park, where you can check out the aquarium and eat next to the shark tank. Or, enjoy Dillon’s offerings of barbecue, burgers and fish on the outside patio, where you’ll dine with the flamingos before heading back out to explore the wildlife.

Dive into the urban lifestyle at Tempo Urban Bistro and Coffee Bar and enjoy live music on Saturday nights. Get a taste of the salty sea with some lobster mac & cheese or who doesn’t love a Duroc Tomahawk Pork Chop. They serve a variety of grass-fed burgers, so you can get a different taste in a healthy way. Their outside patio seating overlooks Main Street, so if you’re wanting to do some site-seeing while eating, then head on out to the patio. Enjoy fresh food, craft beer, music and art when you dine at Tempo Urban Bistro.

Head on over to the Wild West Cowboy Steakhouse and enjoy some wild west steaks and ribs and even order yourself a shrimp cocktail flying saucer. If you’re really in the mood for different culture foods, flip your menu over to the Greek international favorites. Stop by in the morning for some breakfast because that is the most important meal of the day. If it’s a toss-up between the steak rancheros or the huevos rancheros, have one of the seven breakfast burritos listed on the menu.

In-N-Out Burger is a hot spot for a “healthier” fast-food restaurant. Enjoy a double-double cheeseburger with a side of fresh-cut fries and a coke or a milkshake. If you’re in the mood to get a little wild, try your fries animal-style—you won’t regret it.

Head on down to The Verrado Coffee Company for a nice morning coffee with some friends. Grab a cup of coffee, latte or whatever your choice of caffeine is and enjoy the Verrado community and even ask your barista for some inside scoops on community goings-on.

After you enjoy your morning brew, step over to the Verrado Golf Club for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or to enjoy drinks at the indoor and outdoor bars. Be a little casual or get a little dressed up for a date night, whatever suits your fancy. You can enjoy great meals and fine service. 

Family Time

• If you’re needing a break from the roping atmosphere, head over to the Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park. If you’re at Dunn’s Arena, then you’re in luck—it’s within walking distance. Take your family and friends to enjoy a day seeing zebras, lions and more. You can also enjoy rides like the soaring eagle zip line, flying scooters or a safari tram ride. Then head over to the aquarium and see the four buildings filled with hundreds of aquatic animals.

• Drive about two miles north of the Interstate 10 and Watson Road Interchange and check out Skyline Regional Park. Go anytime between sunrise to sunset free of charge. Wear your good hiking shoes for 16 different trails to hike, or bring your bike to ride 11 bike trails. But, don’t forget your map in case you get lost. Even your horses might need a break from the arena lights. Load them up and tow them over to the park to enjoy a nice evening trail ride with 10 different equine-friendly trails.

• If you’re looking for a thrill, head over to the Buckeye Municipal Airport and sign up at the Desert Skydiving Center for some flying action. Take skydiving lessons, get your license or tandem skydive with an instructor. Jump out of the plane and enjoy the wind in your hair as you take a leap of faith and soar through the air. Even purchase a video of your jump to enjoy the experience over and over again.

• From November to the end of December pull your guns out and head over to the Joe Foss Public Shooting Range. Located just five miles south of Buckeye, adults pay a daily $7 public fee while kids under 18 years are free. The maximum shooting distance is 200 yards at the Main Rifle and Pistol Range. Be sure to check in with the Joe Foss Shooting Range on which firearms are allowed before you decide to go practice. See who can get closest to the target and have a fun and friendly competition with some gun powder.

Age Fotostock

Educational Activities

Geo Savvy Tours is a small tour company that has semi-private, personalized tours. They are here to help you enjoy your experience in the Sedona, Grand Canyon, Payson-Strawberry-Pine, Phoenix-Scottsdale areas. They also offer wine tours in the Verde Valley. Take your kids, or drink some wine and enjoy the sites and history with these guided tours.

There’s so much more history to be learned at the Buckeye Valley Museum. Learn about pre-Columbian pottery, photographs, and life in the early Buckeye Valley. The museum was established in 1954 by I.H. Parkman and is run by the Buckeye Valley Historical and Archaeological Society. The museum has had some remodeling over the years, but its rich history never changes. Step into the museum and take a tour to see how Buckeye became what it is today.

The Bible Museum, located in Goodyear, is a great educational spot to visit during your Arizona trip. Located in the Hampton Inn, The Bible Museum is open 24-hours a day and is filled with tons of bibles and charts. Get hands-on with the Dead Sea Scrolls. Call ahead to plan a group presentation and find out more of the history on how the Bible became what it is today.

Sahuaro Ranch Park

Historic Area

Take a quick 30-minute drive out to Glendale, Arizona’s Sahuaro Ranch Park. The Sahuaro Ranch is one of Arizona’s oldest and most historic ranches. The 17-acre ranch is home to 13 original buildings, a beautiful rose garden, barnyard and orchards, as well as beautiful peacocks that roam around the acreage. Also known as the “Showplace of the Valley,” the Sahuaro Ranch hosts activities, exhibits and guided tours. Enjoy a nice lunch at the picnic tables and let your kids loose on the playgrounds as you soak in the historic nature of the ranch. If you choose to take a tour, you will experience the Main House that was built in 1891 and find out what living on a ranch in Arizona was like in the late 1800s. Make it a day trip and enjoy all of Sahuaro Ranch’s great history. 

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