This weekend, the Arizona Junior Rodeo Association will host a competition for its youngest members. The competition at the Sonoita/Santa Cruz Fairgrounds will feature cowboys and cowgirls from ages 5 to 18 competing in a variety of typical and nontypical rodeo events.
AJRA President Mark Favour notes that the events are age-sensitive, intended to cut down on the possibility of injury. "For bull riding, we have a minimum age of 9," Favour says. "Bareback riding has a minimum age of 13."
Furthermore, Favour points out that this is not a training session for any youths interested in trying their hand at rodeo activities. "You have to be a member of the Arizona Junior Rodeo Association to participate," Favour says. Although this limits nonmembers to being spectators, that is not necessarily a bad thing with intriguing events like pole bending and ribbon roping.
While the typical idea of a rodeo might conjure up images of cowboys, Favour notes that some of the most engaging and interesting events belong to the cowgirls. "We have girl barrel racing and goat tying," Favour said.
To see boys and girls wrestle calves and ride bulls, head over to the Sonoita/Santa Cruz Fairgrounds this Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free. --M.P.
Raymon Grace is described as a master shaman, healer, mystic and dowser ... that's right, dowser. You may be asking what exactly a dowser is. Well, "my definition of dowsing is the use of a physical object, such as a pendulum, to get information not readily available to the conscious mind," Grace says. "The common understanding of dowsing is finding water with a forked stick. This is true but very limited in use. We can use dowsing for both getting information and changing energy, thereby changing future events."
Grace will bring his knowledge of dowsing to Tucson this Saturday when he gives a talk titled "A Lifetime of Experiences." Grace, who has authored three self-help books, explains what he hopes the audience will gain from his talk. "What I want people to get (from his talk) is self empowerment," Grace says, "knowing that they have the ability to create better lives for themselves."
The mystical powers of dowsing are, well, fairly supernatural in nature. According to Raymon, his DVD has been reported to change--no kidding--the energy of the water in the room in which it is played. "We have also created a similar DVD that we believe will change the energy in the home or school where it is played," Grace says. "We hope these DVDs will be used to inform people that water can be made more beneficial for the body, and anyone can learn to do it."
To see if you have the skills it takes to change water's energy (perhaps into wine?), check out Raymon Grace during his free talk this Saturday at the Unitarian Universalist Church. --M.P.
Although the real Elvis died--rather embarrassingly--on the toilet, he remains one of the essential icons of American music. Though there are now thousands of Elvis impersonators roaming the Earth and Las Vegas, local showman Richard Butler has quite a unique story of how he came to wear the blue suede shoes. "About eight years ago, my office buddies--mostly women--encouraged me to perform at various Raytheon events," Butler says. "In 1998, my manager wanted Raytheon's United Way Campaign that year to be endorsed by Elvis. I was selected, because I was the singing ham and did not mind wearing the jumpsuit."
From those corporate beginnings, Butler has continued to perform as The King at events around town, including his performances this Sunday and Monday at the Gaslight Theatre. Named after Elvis' famous Hawaiian performance, the show, during its first half, features Butler's pals Ernie Menehune (performing his brand of Hawaiian and pop standards) and Laura Nava, who--according to Butler--will be "singing, dancing and breaking hearts" as Marilyn Monroe.
Butler notes that the second half of the show is all about Mr. Presley. "This portion is a compilation of the best of his 1973 show," Butler says. "We have arranged the highlights of this performance and, to quote The King, 'We'll try to sing the songs you want to hear.'"
Aside from hearing classic Elvis tunes, audiences will be happy to know a portion of the show's proceeds will go to the Katrina/Rita relief efforts. Butler notes this is fitting, considering The King's legendary kindness. "He was respectful to his fans and generous to strangers," Butler says. "Often, people who knew Elvis or had contact with him will pull me aside after a show and tell me a wonderful random-act-of-Elvis-kindness tale."
To check out Butler as Elvis, head to the Gaslight Theatre Sunday or Monday. Tickets are $14.95. --M.P.
This Saturday, every child's favorite scientist, Bill Nye "The Science Guy," will be the keynote speaker at the Reid Park Zoo's ZOOcson 2005. ZOOcson is the Tucson Zoological Society's annual gala fundraiser.
Nye is perhaps best known for his Emmy-winning children's science show, Bill Nye the Science Guy, which ran from 1992 to 1998 on PBS.
The Cornell University-trained Nye worked for years at Boeing designing, among other things, a hydraulic pressure resonance suppressor that is still used on the 747. From there, Nye's side job as a standup comedian led to his eventual work with Disney, where he developed his "Science Guy" personality.
TZS President Susan Park Hotchkiss notes that picking Nye as the keynote speaker was--unlike the complicated scientific processes he is known for--a no-brainer. "Bill Nye was a natural choice," Hotchkiss says in the fundraiser's press release. "His focus on experiential education--and knack for making science accessible and fun--align perfectly with the efforts of TZS and the Reid Park Zoo."
However, it was Nye's rapport with audiences that was perhaps his biggest selling point. "TZS board members who have heard him speak report that his intelligence, wit and talent for connecting with an audience guarantee an unforgettable ZOOcson experience," Hotchkiss says.
ZOOcson itself is a unique kind of fundraiser, as the zoo is showcased as an outdoor-event venue with more than 20 different food styles from local eateries set out for walk-around sampling.
ZOOcson 2005 will raise money for TZS, which is a nonprofit dedicated to "enhancing the value of Reid Park Zoo to the community." To give to the cause and check out a real, live "Science Guy" in person, head over to Reid Park Zoo Saturday. General admission tickets are $70; TZS member tickets are $60, and VIP tables with seating for 10 are $850. --M.P.