Two events that embrace Arizona's cowboy and ranch culture are going on this weekend in Apache Junction and Queen Creek.
The first, Lost Dutchman Days, is a 46-year-old tradition in Superstition Mountain country. The annual gathering stretches over several days each spring and includes everything from a parade and dance to a bratwurst party and golf tournament. But the festivities' Main Event Center - located at the city's rodeo arena and event center - is where you can get in on the most activities in one spot.
The site hosts a rodeo, live music and shows on two stages, a visit from the famous Budweiser Clydesdales and a carnival full of rides, game booths and food vendors. You can also view wild horses and burros culled from herds in the West by the Bureau of Land Management. They're up for adoption to qualified homes.
The rodeo begins at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday and includes bull riding, saddlebronc, bareback, calf and team roping and steer wrestling, among other things.
Meanwhile, in Queen Creek, well-known barrel-racing promoter Usher Productions will host a Wild West Show & Barrel Race at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Horseshoe Park & Equestrian Centre.
It's part of a serious three-day barrel racing competition called "Dash for Dollars," but this event is designed to appeal to both stable regulars and folks who don't ride. In addition to the races, it includes shows by the colorfully dressed drill team the Golden West Cowgirls, a cowboy who performs trick roping and riding, and a vendor fair full of shopping, food and face-painting booths.