Experience the cowboy way of lifeMarch 14, 2012
The 11th annual Roundup and Open House at the Empire Ranch, showcasing the cowboy way of life and the rugged and adventurous spirit of America’s pioneers, is set for Saturday, Nov. 5, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This year’s Roundup, titled “Centennial Celebration of the Cowboy,” is an official Arizona Centennial event. More than 100 presenters will showcase ways of the West on this historic working ranch in Sonoita.
The event includes Western music, cowboy skills exhibitions, storytellers, barbeque, Dutch oven desserts, and auctions and raffles throughout the day. Arena events include cowboy mounted shooters, B Troop 4th U.S. Cavalry, a horse and cattle demo by award-winning cowboy rancher Joel Eliot, and a working display of the Enchanting Lippizan Horses.
Cash and gift prizes will be awarded for “Best Cowboy,” “Best Cowgirl” and “Best Kid’s Cowboy” (12 and under) outfits. The free contest is at the entertainment stage from 2:15pm to 2:45 pm.
Cowboys will teach attendees how to braid horsehair, make a reata, brand wood, carve leather, pack a mule and show a horse. Local 4-H clubs host the Kid’s Corral and animal petting area, and more than 20 Western authors will sign and sell books in the Author’s Pavilion. Empire Ranch Docents will give tours at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
“Cowboy Conversations” presented inside the historic ranch house will take attendees on intimate journeys, and numerous historic wagons from the Tucson Rodeo Parade Museum will grace the grounds. Live Western music includes the Bill Ganz Band, Mariachi Apache from Nogales High School, and Sonoita’s favorite balladeer Bruce Andre.
Arbuckles’ Coffee Roasters will pour free “cowboy coffee” for all, with sidekick cowboy actor Don Collier.
The 2011 Roundup and Open House is sponsored by the Empire Ranch Foundation, and is held to help preserve the Empire Ranch House. The new Empire Ranch Visitor Center will be officially opened to the public.
Admission is free, though a $10 donation per vehicle – which includes a wagon ride – is requested.
To reach the ranch, turn east on State Route 83, north of the Sonoita crossroads. For more information, call (888) 364-2829 or see www.empireranchfoundation.org.