This weekend, every sport imaginable—baseball, hockey, basketball, etc.—was happening somewhere in the Valley. Most interesting was that one could map the history of human transportation through several events. A rodeo celebrated both the contribution of horses and the people of color who used them to the history of the Southwest. A classic car show in Phoenix displayed the history and beauty of the automobile throughout the last century. Finally, the most modern vehicles on earth were testing new speed limits at Phoenix International Raceway.
Today, at the 39-year-old Rawhide Western Town and Steakhouse, Arizonans learned about the seldom-told history Black cowboys. Though an estimated quarter of cowboys in the US in the 1800’s were Black, 99% of US Western movies showed no Black cowboys.
Last year, over 7000 came to see the Arizona Black Rodeo, which was designated an official Arizona Legacy Centennial Project. On March 2, 2013, those, especially youth, attending can see live what they have probably never seen: Black men riding bulls or Black women racing horses around barrels.
Also, today a small, but popular, event celebrated the Melrose neighborhood of central Phoenix. Last year, 25,000 people attended Chester’s Classic Car Show. This year, retiree Paul Kobor’s brightly painted 1950 Plymouth stood out, while Ted and TJ Ransom were showing off their dad Tim’s 1949 ½ ton pickup and 1953 2 Ton GMC trucks.
The Seventh Avenue Merchant’s Association turned 7th Avenue, between Campbell and Indian School into a family attraction of, not only antique cars and trucks dating from 1940-1979, but local crafts, foods and music.
An added attraction to the car show this year, was One-Community’s Healthy Living Expo. Rows of health food, products and providers filled the north end of the fair. “We wanted provide the LGBT and allied community members with knowledge and opportunity to meet businesses that could provide them with a healthier life,” said One-Community CEO Angela Hughey. Vendors, like Ken Pittman, from Camelback Subaru, liked that "this show embraces all diversities and generations."
At the other end of town, a recent agreement with the City of Avondale ensures that the fastest cars on earth will continue to draw record crowds, such as those expected at Phoenix International Raceway this weekend for many years to come.
From hoofs to horns, the many fun events that helped celebrate the past and future of our transportation and of our diversity also help continue the economy recovery of the Phoenix metropolitan area.