A cowboy in Arizona today is more likely to drive a pickup truck than ride a horse. But his dusty boots and sweat-stained hat brim can still be found statewide.
Ranches were here before statehood. One early Spanish land grant brought the Amados family to Southern Arizona in 1711. Henry Amado still has his great-grandfather’s branding iron. While it isn’t polite to ask a rancher the size of his herd, Amado has to call in a lot of neighbors during roundup not far from the town of Amado, named after his family.
Pete Kitchen came to the Santa Cruz Valley in the 1850s, and his well-fortified house was a bastion for early settlers during troubles with the Apaches. His famous hospitality included a Christian burial for anyone killed, even someone who’d attacked his home.
The Hashknife Gang started in Northern Arizona on a ranch owned by the prominent Babbitt family. Every year there’s still a Hashknife Ride, with riders handing off leather bags of mail, one to the next, from Holbrook to Scottsdale.
When Kel Fox was a boy, his father would give jobs to young men on their Sedona ranch. One man couldn’t stay on a horse no matter what, and had to be let go. Later on, that wanderer sent pictures he’d taken at Foxboro Ranch. The family wishes they knew what happened to those…How many people have photos of their homes taken by Ansel Adams?