Prescott Western Heritage Days

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 September 2010 08:30 Written by Chris Marzonie Wednesday, 29 September 2010 08:21

Over the weekend, the first annual Prescott Western Heritage Days event kicked off with a bang.

Prescott gunfighter

Gunfight on Whiskey Row

My friend Dennis Gallagher first told me about the event a couple of months ago and explained their intention to make this a high-caliber celebration of Arizona history, bringing together the largest gathering of reenactment organizations in the state. It sounded like a pretty tall order to me, but the idea of having all of these talented groups together in one town for one big event seemed like a perfect thing for Prescott. I’m happy to say that everyone pulled it off, and no one got hurt (well, at least not for real).

Shady Lady enforcing the law with a gun

One of the "Shady Ladies" enforcing the law in Prescott

Notables that attended were Dennis Gallagher (Founder & Chairman), Mayor Marlin Kuykendall, the Prescott Buscaderos, the Prescott Regulators and their Shady Ladies including the Fort Whipple Regulars, the Bill Williams Mountain Men, the Arizona Gunfighters, the Arizona Rough Riders, the Buffalo Soldiers, the Victorian Society, Sharlot Hall Museum, John Larkin and Mellisa Ruffner, and the bands Just for Mama and Spur of the Moment. I’m sure there were others; my apologies if I didn’t list them here.

Mountain Men on Whiskey Row

They came down from the mountains, we can only guess what for

Spur of the Moment's Creighton Miller plays dobro on Whiskey Row

Saturday morning started off with an opening ceremony and then the crowd was given the chance to register and sign releases for going into the “corral” to photograph the characters of the reenactment groups. I saw a lot of photographers (and gear!) out there and it looked like they were setting up a lot of cool shots with the actors and making some excellent photos. It will be fun to see the results of the photo contest.

Whiskey Row gunfighter

Tough guy

The gunfire and hollering all took place on Whiskey Row, but there was a lot to see at Sharlot Hall, too. Several period-camps were set up with the Rough Riders, the Buffalo Soldiers, and the Fort Whipple Regulars. The Elks Theater was also available to set up some photographs between 10am and noon. I called up Rich Charpentier who has shot some really great stuff at the Elks, and talked him into schlepping all of his gear downtown and setting it up (okay, maybe not ALL of it). He posted a few photos on his blog, too.

Arizona Roughriders

Members of the Arizona Rough Riders on the grounds of the original Governor's Mansion

Fort Whipple Regulars

Members of the Fort Whipple Regulars

The Prescott Western Heritage Days organization is a non-profit group donating all net proceeds from the event to the Sharlot Hall Museum and Prescott’s Christmas Lighting. The event is free to the public. See you next year.

Dennis Gallagher

Dennis Gallagher, founder and chairman of Prescott Western Heritage Days

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Shooting the Wild West

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 September 2010 04:50 Written by Chris Marzonie Wednesday, 22 September 2010 03:45

Prescott is always a great place to get into the mood of the Wild West. The town has seen its fair share of action and adventure since the Walker party first arrived in the early 1860’s and there are many stories and photos to prove it. Even after living here for a decade, I’m still learning about the history. Sometimes I read about local legends in books, and sometimes I meet real, living people of all ages who have their own personal stories to share, all of which become a part of the ongoing living history of the area.

Recently, my friend Pattie commissioned me to photograph a very special pair of boots for her. You see, she acquired these boots as a young girl shopping in a Yellow Front store (remember those?), and ended up wearing them while riding horseback on trips all over Arizona. They traveled with her for many miles and many adventures. “If those boots could talk. . .” she mused. When she handed them to me, I felt as though I’d been entrusted with a national treasure. There were still small cactus thorns held in place by the worn leather and some of the suede nap had gone bare at the tips. I can only imagine all the great adventures the boots represent. I had Rich Charpentier do the printing on metallic paper in large-format and the clarity and details are amazing. The tiny cactus spines are even clearly visible in the large print.

"Pattie's Boots", are now hanging in her private collection.

Speaking of the Wild West, there is a huge event happening this weekend that will present some unique opportunities for photographers. The first-annual Prescott Western Heritage Days event will kick off on Saturday morning, Sept. 25 and last through Sunday morning, Sept. 26. I am honored to be an official photographer of the event and I hope to see you all out there with your cameras!

Here is the Press Release:

“This event will celebrate the western heritage of Prescott and Yavapai County between 1864 and 1912 and will be hosted by the Regulators and their Shady Ladies, Inc. ®, in conjunction with the Sharlot Hall Museum. Dennis Gallagher, the event organizer and Chairman of the Prescott Western Heritage Days Committee says that a major attraction will be the largest historical re-enactment group gathering in Arizona. Prescott Western Heritage Days will be held on Whiskey Row, at Sharlot Hall Museum and various nearby venues beginning at 8:30am on Saturday.  Family activities will include unique photo opportunities, re-enactment skits, period costume contest and fashion show, cowboy, western and old time music, cowboy poetry and children’s activities all day Saturday. Musical groups performing on the Whiskey Row stage Saturday will include Spur of the Moment and Just 4 Mama. In addition, Gail Steiger, a cowboy poet and musician, and Just 4 Mama will be performing in the Sharlot Hall amphitheater. The event will conclude with a cowboy breakfast and entertainment at Sharlot Hall Museum Sunday morning. A schedule of events and venue locations can be found at

Participating organizations include the Prescott Regulators & their Shady Ladies, Inc., The Prescott Victorian Society, Inc., The Prescott Buscaderos, The Rough Riders, The Buffalo Soldiers, Bill Williams Mountain Men and Sharlot Hall Museum.

Western culture and heritage has deep roots in Prescott, as Arizona’s 1st Territorial Capitol and home to the famous and infamous Whiskey Row.  Amateur and professional artists, photographers, videographers, media and tourists will have a one of a kind opportunity to photograph dozens of re-enactment groups in period clothing in and around the historic Courthouse.  Group photo opportunities with staged backdrops will be made available.

Admission to the event is free. Tickets for the breakfast will be $12 for adults and $6 for children under 12.  Tickets can be purchased at the Prescott Convention and Visitors Bureau located at 101 S. Cortez Street in Prescott. All net proceeds for Prescott Western Heritage Days to benefit Sharlot Hall Museum and Prescott’s Christmas Lighting.

For more information, please visit ”

Prescott Western Heritage Days event poster

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