By Linda Kor
It’s time for Holbrook residents and visitors to celebrate the town’s rough and rowdy past at the 32nd annual Wild West Days scheduled today and Saturday (July 11 and 12) at the historic courthouse, located at 100 E. Arizona St.
The Ace In The Hole Barbecue competition will spotlight more than 20 professional barbecue teams from throughout the country who will be competing for $5,000 in prize money. The teams will provide excellent barbecue for the public to enjoy, and free tours will visit the various to learn how they make that terrific barbecue. A People’s Choice award will be presented, so be sure to come sample some great tasting barbecue.
There will also be demonstrations by renowned artist Professor Brad Bachmeier, who will demonstrate pottery making and firing techniques inspired by ancient ceramic traditions. His presentation will take place at 1 o’clock this afternoon at the old courthouse. Other demonstrations scheduled include those by a Native American loom weaver and Apache crown dancers.
Annual favorites at the celebration include the Bucket of Blood Races, the Gunslinger Car Show, and performances by the Bucket of Blood Re-Enactors, Native American dancers and the Las Joyas Del Desierta Mexican dancers that will take place throughout the weekend.
Music headliners will be Northern Latin Express, performing from 7 to 10 o’clock tonight, and Dirty White Boys, performing from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, all free of charge.
The Holbrook Regional Arts Alliance will host an art exhibit at the Stars Studio across from the historic courthouse, and the Dusty Desert Quilt Guild will have handcrafted quilts on display throughout the two-day event at the Family Parish Center across the street from the courthouse. There will also be vendors on the courthouse lawn selling food, jewelry, art and more.
Navajo County royalty will take the stage at 9:30 a.m. today to present their various talents.
Author Carol Sletton will perform excerpts from her latest book and play, Three Strong Women, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. today, and 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.
There will be fun for the kids, including games and stick horse rodeos slated from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. today and Saturday. Kids are encouraged to dress Western, then come create a fun stick horse to entry in a rodeo. All stick horse supplies will be provided free of charge.
A Best Dressed Buckaroos contest will be held at 1 p.m. today and Saturday to judge those kids with the best Western outfits. Prizes will be awarded.
The weekend will include a variety of entertainment from a bagpiper and STARS performers, to a Zumba dance craze, and there’s no telling what great talent will be discovered at Holbrook’s Got Talent, slated at 1:30 p.m. today.
The fun won’t be limited to the courthouse grounds. At Hunt Park, the Gunslinger Car Show will feature everything from muscle cars to vintage cars. There will also be a burnout contest at West End Park beginning at 6 p.m. this evening. The Gearheads Car Club will also be hosting a Betti Contest at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at the park to select a lady who best represents any period dress from the 1920s to the 1970s. Participants may register at the event.
At the Navajo County Fairgrounds there will be National Barrel Racing Association competition beginning at 6:15 tonight, as well as a Southern Arizona International Livestock Association livestock show from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and tomorrow.
Also at the fairgrounds, the Wild West Days Junior Rodeo will be going on as part of the celebration. Contestants from ages 3 to 18 will be competing in events ranging from wooly riding to saddle bronc. Admission is $5 for visitors 5 and older. The event, which is sanctioned by the Southwest Junior Rodeo Association, will start at 10 a.m. on Saturday.