Rim country residents and visitors alike are invited to step back into the area's storied past at the Fifth Annual Rim Country Western Heritage Festival, Saturday, Oct. 23, in and around the Rim Country Museum and Green Valley Park.
An action-packed schedule of events and activities for cowboys and cowgirls of all ages begins at 10 a.m., with a grand finale featuring all participating musicians and cowboy poets on the main stage at 5 p.m.
Cowboy music and poetry have been staples of the Rim Country Western Heritage Festival since its inception, and this year is no exception. An open microphone format will provide opportunities for anybody to perform, but you can count on seeing the following throughout the day on three separate stages:
One of Payson's favorite trios performs cowboy and country western tunes, from old-time cowboy ballads, to Charlie Daniels' fiddle tunes, to Johnny Cash and Hank Williams' classics. Junction 87 includes Joe Miracle, lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Billy Ichida on lead guitar and fiddle, and Cowboy Jim Norman on bass.
Payson's favorite solo performer, John Carpino has been voted "Best of Payson" for band/musician in the Payson Roundup for seven years in a row. In recent years, Carpino has kept busy as owner/operator of an independent recording studio, producing demos and master tapes with songwriters from all over the country and Europe. He has just released "Come So Far," a new CD featuring 11 original songs, plus the George Pittman song "Geronimo."
A native Arizonan with a great sense of Arizona's heritage and history, Sue Harris sings about cowboys and trail rides, quests for treasure, quail, Kokopellis, country dances, and mule rides at the Grand Canyon. Many of her songs are from the vivid imagination of Dean Cook, another native Arizonan from the Flagstaff area who has a wonderful way with words and music.
Trail Dust, a group of cowboy and cowgirl musicians, is led by Wally Bornmann from the Valley. They play every instrument and sing just about any cowboy song you can imagine.
The Artichoke Sisters
Andy Hurlbut, Barbara Herber and Anne James perform cowboy songs that swing, including those made famous by Patsy Montana, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, the Andrews Sisters, and others from that era. They even perform some originals from the dusty trail.
Johnny Richards is a well-known Payson performer, sometimes known as "Payson's Troubadour," and sometimes known as the "Arizona Kid." Along with Anne James, he performs old cowboy songs from the '30s to the '50s, including fun songs by Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and the Sons of the Pioneers.
Smith is an excellent finger-style guitar performer from Snowflake who plays old-style cowboy standards in the style of Chet Atkins and Merle Travis.
This 10-year-old acoustic guitar phenomenon will open the festival with the "Star Spangled Banner," and other favorite tunes.
A Payson singer-songwriter who performs throughout Arizona, Anne will share traditional, old-time, and folk styles of music. Anne also plays guitar, mandolin, and the harmonica. She and husband Jim own Beeline Music.
This musical duo, consisting of Johni Abrams and Anne James, perform cowgirl tunes and folk music. Abrams is originally from Ohio, but has spent most of the past 20 years in Arizona honing her cowgirl and folk music style. The name of the group is based on an old movie by the same name, "The Sundowners."
Howlin' at the Moon
Jim Cook and Eleanore Hartz perform as "Howlin' at the Moon." The Official State Liar of Arizona, Cook directs the Wickenburg Institute for Factual Diversity. A former newspaper columnist, he has written nine books about Arizona. Singer-songwriter Eleanore Hartz ("Miss Ellie") spent her entire life in the San Francisco Bay area before she moved to Arizona in 1994.
Also known as "the preacher," music is Joe's life-long endeavor -- including everything from garage bands to classical guitar studies to playing jazz in college. Joe is the lead singer of the ever popular Junction 87 Band. Touted as Tempe's own Bob Dylan, he has opened for such notables as Johnny Cash, Hank Williams Jr., Ed Bruce, and Crystal Gayle. Joe will perform with Junction 87 and will present an exciting tribute to country music legend Johnny Cash.
Another Payson musician, Roy Sandoval, is in charge of the annual fiddlers festival. Roy and his talented family perform at many bluegrass festivals across the West and are well known for their musical expertise and tight harmonies.
Chuck and Barbara Casey performing as Trouble in Paradise
The Caseys are no strangers to Rim country music fans. Hailing originally from Wichita, Kan., the couple has been playing music together for nearly 20 years, including an eclectic collection of styles from Bach to rock. Their primary focus at this festival will be old songs of the West.
Other events and Demonstrations
Other events and demonstrations scheduled for the Western Heritage Festival include free admission to the Rim Country Museum, an "Art of the West" exhibit in the museum, a cowboy illustration demonstration, a saddlemaking demonstration, an engraving demonstration, a Native American craft demonstration, a blacksmithing demonstration, open microphone sessions for musicians and poets, a children's minifest with archaeology interests and pot painting, a mountain re-enactment, and a presentation by the Hashknife Pony Express swing boss.
Old-fashioned Western Melodrama
The festival concludes with two performances of "Deadwood Dick," an old-fashioned western melodrama produced by the Payson High School Drama Department.
"Deadwood Dick" is a dramatization of a bloodthirsty dime novel, the kind grandpa used to sneak out to the barn to read because if his father caught him reading such "lurid trash" it would mean a quick trip to the woodpile.
In 1876, a little-known writer named Edward L. Wheeler, started turning out dime novels about a Robin Hood of the Black Hills he named Deadwood Dick. Taking the most colorful characters, exciting situations and amusing dialog from those dime novels, playwright Tom Taggart has fashioned this rip-roaring melodrama, complete with long-lost daughters, stolen gold mines, kidnapped heroines, and hairbreadth escapes.
"Deadwood Dick" premieres at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the PHS auditorium, with a matinee performance at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 24. General admission is $5, and children 12 and under are $3.
Schedule of Events and Demos 2004
Fifth Annual Rim Country Western Heritage Festival
Saturday, Oct. 23 • 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. • Green Valley Park and Rim Country Museum grounds
10:00 - 12:00
- "Art of the West Exhibit" Rim Country Museum
- Cowboy Illustration Demonstration
- Saddlemaking Demonstration
- Engraving Demonstration
- Native American Craft Demonstration
- Blacksmithing Demonstration
- Children's Minifest with Archaeology Interests and Pot Painting
- Free Museum Admission - Zane Grey Exhibit
- Re-Enactor - Mountain Man
- Hashknife Pony Express Swing Boss
12:00 - 2:00
- Western demos - as above
- Free Museum Admission - as above
- Children's Minifest
- Pony Express
2:00 - 4:00
- Western demos - as above
- Pony Express - as above
- Re-enactor - as above
- Free Museum Admission - as above
"Deadwood Dick" - 7:30 p.m., Payson High School Auditorium, PHS Drama Club - and again at 3:00 p.m. Sunday, October 24, 2004
10 a.m. - Arizona Jones
10:30 a.m. - Sue Harris, Jim Cook Stories
11 a.m. - Trouble in Paradise, Dave Smith, Johnny Richards
11:30 a.m. - Trouble in Paradise, Dave Smith, Wayne Todd
Noon - Trail Dust, Dave Smith, Joe Miracle
12:30 p.m. - Trail Dust, Johnny Richards, Anne James
1 p.m. - Junction 87, Wayne Todd, Anne James
1:30 p.m. - Junction 87, Beaded Lizard Band, Johnny Richards
2 p.m. - Sandoval Family, Howling at the Moon, Wally Bornman
2:30 p.m. - Sandoval Family, Dean Cook, Wayne Todd
3 p.m. - John Carpino,Artichoke Sisters
4 p.m. - Joe Miracle, Wally Bornman
4:30 p.m. - Sundowners II
5 p.m. - Full Assembly