The Wild West lives on!

Hubby and I have always enjoyed a wide range of diverse activities.  We’re the kind of people who enjoy dressing up and attending a Ballet, Play, or Fine Art Museum in a major city and the next day we’ll equally enjoy hitting the road for a back country trip.wild westYears ago, you could find us visiting Chicago’s Art Institute one day and the next we’d be packing up the truck, tent, and canoe and heading toward northern Minnesota for some remote woods roughing it.  Those trips were always an adventure filled with campfires, fishing, and wild blueberry picking.  We’d need to keep an eye out for any black bears while stealing their blueberries as an actual bear encounter was not usually part of the plan.  Fun times, bear encounters included!

blooming saguaroArizona’s Phoenix valley, offers the diversity that Al and I enjoy.  In my last post, I attended a Fine Arts Festival in the upscale community of Carefree.  The terms refined and polished can easily be used to describe the northeast part of the Valley of the Sun aka Phoenix.

Old Town Scottsdale, the Musical Instrument Museum, and the Desert Botanical Gardens could also fall into the class of polished and refined.  All well worth visiting.

But let’s not forget, Arizona is located in the WEST and there’s still plenty of WILD left to entertain us all.

Time to leave the polish behind and inhale some dust and gun smoke.  Folks around these here parts like their guns, horses, and four-wheelers.cowboy mounted shooting

Arizona Game & Fish EXPOWith our friends Mike and Linda in tow, we attended the Outdoor EXPO at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility located on the far north side of Phoenix.  This family friendly EXPO was hosted by the Arizona Game & Fish Department.

Upon arriving, our attention was quickly drawn to the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Competition taking place.  The four of us could have spent the entire morning watching this event.

cowboy mounted shootingThe horses seem to be having as much fun as the shooters.   Talk about the relationship between a horse and rider….  Wow!  If you’re not sure what cowboy mounted shooting is, I encourage you to watch this 3 minute clip.

kayakingOnce we tore ourselves away from the horse activity, it was time to check out the guns.

Actually Mike and Al checked out the guns while Linda and I sat at a shaded picnic table watching folks test out kayaks in the pool.  We also needed to discuss our plans for a Desert Botanical Garden visit. Spring in the desert is not to be missed.

shooting EXPO

Al checking out a Glock

Gosh, who thought there could be so many different types of shooting and guns.  Here’s a list of the different station areas for the various types of shooting;

  • steel target shootinghandguns
  • practical pistol shooting
  • cowboy action shooting
  • air gun shooting
  • benchrest shooting
  • black powder shooting
  • .22 rifle steel target shooting
  • BB gun shooting
  • Intro to shooting

target shootingAnd then there were the event areas for Archery and Fishing along with special tents for exhibitors.

Phoenix gun EXPO

I am not a birder!

A third area was geared toward four-wheeling and shotguns.  Want an exhilarating ride in a OHV? (off highway vehicle)  Hop in one of these while an experienced driver whips you around the arena kicking up mud.  Another area was set up for Rock Crawlers.OHVIn the above photo, the rock crawling boulder track and Jeeps are seen on the left in the distance.shootingshooting expoAnd no event would be complete without plenty of vendors to supply food and drink.  BBQ and hamburgers took center stage with a choice of meet for the burger….. Angus, Bison, or Elk.  Al went with the Elk while I prefer Angus.

With the exception of a few of the shooting stations and food, this whole event including parking was FREE of charge.


the original RV

It was a fun family event……  and this coming from a non-shooter.  Refined?  Polished?  I think not.  Rough and tumble at it’s best.  I needed a shower afterwards to wash off the layer of desert dirt coating my skin. Ben Avery shooting range

The wild west is alive and well.  Time to go strap on my six-shooter 😉Valley of the Sun

FurReal Friends Butterscotch, My Walkin’ Pony Pet

UFREE Large Mechanical Rocking Horse Toy, Ride on Bounce up and Down and Move, 44” for Children 4 to 15 Years Old (Black Mane&Tail)


77 thoughts on “The Wild West lives on!

  1. The EXPO looks like great fun Ingrid! I would love to see the shooting, can’t believe they are able to hit those balloons while riding. As you say, it is fascinating to see the dynamic between the rider and horse. I am always amazed when we watch the barrel race during Calgary Stampede:)

  2. Thatsalotsa skill tools in the skill tool box! I’m awful at the shooting range. Can’t get expert. So I’d probably stay doing hiking and exploring. 😀

  3. We are not gunslingers either but we do enjoy horse events and going to the rodeo. Great photo of you with the eagle. I love the Desert Botanical Gardens in the spring.

  4. Can’t wait to spend the spring in AZ, we’ve always wanted to see the desert bloom. Looks like a fun day at the Expo.

    • Ah, trust me when I say I couldn’t even begin to ride like that gal. Watching me on a horse is a comical sight. We have yet to meet Laurel and Eric. Our travels this winter have had us close a couple of times. Hopefully next season will have us connecting 🙂

  5. Great post. We also have no interest in guns or shooting, but they have such diversified activities it would be a brilliant place to visit.

    • Thanks. The area really does have a little something for everyone. I think that’s why we’ve come to enjoy it more each year….. having son here also helps 😉

    • It’s been fun exploring more of the Phoenix valley and the weather has been almost perfect. However, I know it’ll change soon and the heat will have us on the move 🙂

    • I’m never too polished to do what’s necessary for that photo-op as you well know. I’m still itching from being bit up from fleas to capture the balloons. The flea bites were worth the photos 😉

  6. Eric and I also enjoy a wide range of activities — it makes traveling so interesting and rich! I love the photo of you with the Golden eagle!

    • “Rich”… I like that – perfect. I bore so easily that I embrace diverse activities. I think that’s why I can’t find a place to settle down 😉

  7. We’ve always missed the cowboy action shooters. Did you get to see the rendezvous and the black powder people? That’s our thing.

    • No way would I swap with the original RV. As we travel some of the back roads through harsh terrain, hubby and I often discuss how hearty folks needed to be 100 years ago. I sure like my air conditioned leather interior truck cab 🙂

  8. Your blog posts just keep getting better and better…such an artistically capture of good ole’ fun!!! Smiling!!!!

    • Awe, thank you C. Hope that tornado scare is the only one you encounter this season. Those Midwestern storms can be quite scary especially in an RV.

  9. Really enjoy the tour, Ingrid! I love the “not a birder” picture. 🙂 We haven’t been AZ for over a decade, hope to revisit Grand Canyon in May.

    • Thanks Amy. The weather should be really nice for you at the GC in May. The weather this past week has been perfect in Phoenix but I know the heat will soon be upon us.

  10. Now that looks like a great day! A little bit of something for everyone. I have been to a couple mounted shooting events and found them very interesting. Not every horse will let you shoot off their back without spooking!

    • It does take a special horse to not be spooked. There’s so many fun events always happening throughout the valley offering a visitor a variety of activities. It’s almost as if we have to focus on being bored LOL.

  11. Now that totally appeals to us! Would love to see the Cowboy Mounted Shooting! And yep, burgers are always better at outdoor events like that!

    • I really wanted to watch the Rock Crawlers but that weekend got particular hot…. record heat. Thus, we headed back to the RV around noon – after our burgers 🙂 as the temp approached 90+.

  12. I love the artwork of the West…but give me a rodeo, guns, saloons and chuck wagon cooking anytime..Looks like a wonderful time there!!

    • We are currently camped at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility on the north end of Phoenix. Anytime you want to shoot guns and we’re in Phoenix, just let me know. Hubby is a great shooting teacher. He once shot competitively.

    • There’s always Rodeos happening around here somewhere. There’s even restaurants that feature LIVE Bull riding on Friday nights. We don’t see that in the Midwest 😉

  13. What a great day! We aren’t horse people or shooters but I know we would have had fun watching all these various activities. Sure looks like a wonderful time with friends:) The saguaro are blooming!! So glad you are there to see this event:)

    • The saguaro were just starting to bloom last week at the Botanical Garden. I’m waiting for them to bloom in the wild. I’m sticking around Phoenix as long as possible before the heat pushes me north. This past week has been gorgeous with temps maybe hitting 82 with a nice breeze. Bloom saguaro bloom!!!

  14. Envy all the bright sunshine you have there. We’ve been mired in thunderstorms since we’ve been home. Spring is several weeks away, it seems.

    Love the ride & shoot event. Seemznlike that would be a lot of fun to watch.

    • Yes, it was a joy to watch the cowboy mounted shooting. The weather in Phoenix has been near perfect. Thus, we’re not moving on until the heat pushes us out. I’m already concerned about weather for our Midwestern trip in August. However, I do miss the tulips in springs…. my fav!

  15. Looks like a fun way to spend the day and the price is hard to beat. Thanks for including the video – the shooting was impressive but the horsemanship looked spectacular.

    • To really appreciate the horse-shooter relationship, I felt one really needed to see it in action. So I’m glad you enjoyed the video. This was the first time I’ve seen this sport and I was pleasantly entertained.

    • The EXPO was definitely an entertaining event. I’ve gathered you and I seem to enjoy similar venues by your recent Texas posts. I’m always concerned when I recommend things as not everyone has the same taste 🙂

  16. Wow what a day. Four wheelers and shotguns in the same sentence really go my attention! 🙂 Gorgeous photos of the landscape too. the cactus flower is superb.

    • You were probably in Tucson a little too soon to see the saguaro bloom. It is quite the sight. One of the reasons we’re staying in Phoenix longer this season is for me to see them bloom in the wild. They just started blooming at the Botanical Garden. However, eventually the heat will push us north so hopefully the saguaro will cooperate with MY schedule 😉

  17. Oh, I wish we had been there with you. We met a gal (an old gal) at a high end RV resort in Polson, Mt. who was a “Lady Mounted Shooting Competitor” and she regaled us with stories about how she trained her horses, how they competed against the men and “what a rush” she got shooting from the back of a galloping horse! She now makes really great baskets out of old roping ropes. She took me along to some nearby stables to smell the horses noses (you have to be a horse person to understand this fetish) She negotiated prices for carefully chosen “retired” ropes to turn into baskets. I cherish the two she made for me. How fun!
    We can’t wait for our time in the Phoenix valley. We, too, enjoy all it has to offer.

    • They hold quite a few events like this throughout the valley. At the Ben Avery Shooting Facility they even have a campground with horse corrals. When we get together in Colorado this summer, I can fill you in on all the details…. once a horse lover, always a horse lover. Lots of events around here you would enjoy 🙂

    • Thank you Kristin. Your posts on Vegas have me wanting to revisit that area next winter, even if for just a couple of weeks. We do enjoy all areas of the west 🙂

    • I’ll admit, for years I didn’t like Phoenix, but since the son moved here and we’ve been spending a lot more time exploring the area, I’ve really come to enjoy it. I guess it just needed to grow on me. Now it feels like a second home to me 🙂

Comments are closed.