It's not hard to figure out what matters most to Vic Agnes -- in alphabetical order, his family and his Harley.
The co-owner of Payson Feed & Pet Supply credits wife and partner, Connie, for making their business successful. In fact, Connie worked for the previous owner for five years before they bought the store.
"She's it," Agnes said. "Basically it was my money from a retirement thing, but it was all her knowledge. I had dogs, but she's taught me everything I know about animals."
That knowledge base includes horses, which mean as much to Connie as Harleys do to Agnes.
"Harleys and horses -- I introduced her to Harleys and she introduced me to horses," Agnes said.
But he still prefers Harleys. He especially likes the fact that they don't spook and you don't have to pick up after them.
"He parks it in the garage and he's done with it," Connie admitted.
Even though she's out feeding them at 6 a.m. every morning, she still prefers horses.
"Horses are more fun," she said. "A Harley doesn't nuzzle you back."
The Agneses, who have been married five years, met when Vic retired to Payson nine years ago.
"I was divorced when I came up here and I had my daughters, who were 7 and 8," Agnes said. "I was a single dad and she wanted to be a new mom."
"My four had just left the nest," Connie added.
Agnes was born in Canton, Ohio, but when he joined the Marines he left the Midwest for good. After spending a few years in California, he spent most of the next 25 years in the Phoenix area
He is very happy to be out of the Valley.
"It gets cool down there in the fall and they tell you, ‘Don't leave your doors open,'" he said. "How can I live like that, especially with two teenage daughters."
And then there are the drivers.
"I go down there once or twice a week for dog food and such and the last thing Connie tells me is to be careful," Agnes said. "When I lived down there, there was nothing to be careful about. That 90 miles-an-hour stuff wasn't going on. It makes me feel old when I know I'm not."
To his way of thinking, Phoenix drivers even make Los Angeles drivers look good.
"We went to L.A. for a convention six months ago, and I'm telling the girls, ‘This ought to be wild.'" he said. "But you know, they have some of the most courteous drivers.
"When you're coming off an on-ramp they aren't flipping you off or not letting you in -- everybody merges. It's bumper-to-bumper traffic at 5 p.m. and nobody's blowing their horns."
Agnes found exactly what he was looking for in Payson.
"Everybody should experience this kind of living, and the (crap) that goes on down there would never happen," he said. "This is the way God meant it to be."
His daughters, Molly and Sarah, teenagers now, and are flourishing at Payson High School.
"They're into softball and good grades," he said. "Both of them want to be doctors, and they're taking the (advanced) courses that will help them get there."
Agnes has nothing but good things to say about the schools and the people who runs them.
"Every school is great, from JRE to the middle school to the high school," he said. "Any problems that ever occurred I've been able to walk in the door and talk to whoever I wanted to talk to, whenever I wanted to talk to them, and get right to the bottom of the problem."
Molly and Sarah, part of a staff of eight that the Agneses consider part of their family, also help out at the feed store, "It's been a good thing for everybody," Agnes said. "We've made some good friends with the employees we have. We know they care, and they know we care. We go out of our way to take care of them, and they go out of their way to take care of us."
Pet owners can experience what Agnes is all about from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11.
"I've got me a Santa outfit and I'm going to set out there in a chair all day and people can bring their pets in to have pictures taken with Santa," he said.
Then, flashing his best twinkling Santa eyes, he nods at Connie and said, "She's encouraging people to bring snakes because I don't like snakes. But that's OK. For one day I'll do it."
In the midst of a busy holiday season, life is good for the Agnes family, and Payson is a big part of why. Agnes puts it this way:
"It's cool. It's cool for our daughters. It's cool for everybody."
Name: Vic Agnes
Occupation: Co-owner, Payson Feed & Pet Supply
Birthplace: Canton, Ohio
Family: wife, Connie, daughters, Molly and Sarah.
Personal motto: I like what John Kennedy said: "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."
Inspiration: Muhammad Ali.
Greatest feat: (Raising) teenage daughters
Favorite hobby or leisure activity: Riding my Harley.
Three words that describe me best: Honest, caring, shy.
I don't want to brag but ... I'm really proud of my daughters, and I probably don't tell them enough.
Person in history I'd most like to meet: Bobby Kennedy. I'm a Democrat and I hope I don't lose any business over that. I know there are people out there who don't agree with the Kennedys, but they gave up a lot.
Dream vacation spot: Payson, Ariz. and anywhere on my Harley.
Why Payson? It's not Phoenix.