Late in his life, broadcaster and baseball legend Joe Garagiola launched a crusade against ballplayers using chewing tobacco, or what he called “spit tobacco.” Sports Illustrated sent me to Phoenix to talk to him. He was his usual self, funny and polite, later sending me a hand-written thank-you note.
The rodeo-loving Custer brothers of Wickenburg, Arizona, were holding a training clinic that emphasized safe riding. Polyurethane vests, face masks, crash-proof helmets. I was standing on the platform to get an up-close look when a bull reared and nearly jumped out of the chute. He almost re-arranged my face. I still recall those ferocious eyes.
Toad smoking. Yes, it’s a thing. The practice produced one of the best leads I ever wrote: “Some things are so disgusting, it’s only a matter of time before they become really popular.”
Read my story about the time Andy Warhol and his naked friends came to rural Arizona. Andy was making a movie, and, it so happens, filming a rape scene that day. Local picnickers gathered on a hilltop with their kids to watch. Ooops!
Chinle, Arizona, on the Navajo Reservation, is a tough town beset by gangs and drugs. Retired cop Cal Bahe ran a boxing clinic there to teach Navajo kids discipline, pride and respect. I asked seventh-grader Christine Lewis why she boxed. “I like to fight,” she said through braces. “And it’s a good way to see the country. I’ve been everywhere, Minnesota, Phoenix, Fruitland, N.M.”
History remembers Wyatt Earp as a white knight, a savior of men, women, and the decent way of life. Ike Clanton, on the other hand, is a moldy scoundrel who ran when the shooting started. Terry Clanton takes issue with that view of his distant cousin, and we sat down at Big Nose Kate’s Saloon in Tombstone to talk about it. Clanton, who goes by Ike, wore a black hat.
Review of All About Saguaros
Did Prescott Bush, father of our 41st president, conduct a midnight raid to steal the skull of Apache warrior, Geronimo? On his death bed, what were Geronimo’s last words? Did he regret all the killing and bloodshed in his past? Hell, no. He wished he’d killed more of one particular enemy. Find out who.
Eva Wilbur-Cruce stood 5-foot-3 inches and looked bookish in her wire glasses and close-cropped hair. But she was one of the wildest characters Arizona ever produced. Nickname: La Pistolera. She fought a range war against a neighbor that raged for decades. In 1944, it landed her in prison for cattle rustling. A priest visited her and said, “Vengeance is a sin, you know.” Eva responded, “Yes, father, and I’m a sinner. And as soon as I get out I’m going to sin again.”