My Valentine to Arizona

On Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012, Arizona celebrated its Centennial. Today, in the Iowa City Press-Citizen, the paper published my Valentine to my favorite state, Arizona.

I hope you take the time to visit the Grand Canyon State during its Centennial and enjoy its amazing natural wonders, deeply layered history, and relaxing resorts and spas. I recommend by going on-line to Arizona Highways Magazine and True West Magazine to begin planning your trip!

Canyon de Chelly National Monument, 2007

True West’s Outlaw Women: Miranda Lambert

Miranda Lambert, the latest honky-tonk angel to rock the white man’s Blues, has eyes that haunt you with a stare too old for her age (she’s 28).

Her dynamite first hits, “Kerosene,” “Gunpowder and Lead,” “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” and “White Liar,” are as volatile as any lyrics written in the history of Country music. Lambert is as fiery and honest a poet as Ole Hank and Merle, with a stage presence as mesmerizing as Patsy Cline’s or the original honky-tonk angel, Kitty Wells’s.

Miranda Lambert and the Pistol Annies Rock the Country World like Joan Jett and the Runaways!

A native of East Texas, Lambert has joined two other outlaw ladies, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley, to form Pistol Annies—the sexiest and most flammable all-girl group since Joan Jett and the Runaways rocked Sunset. Their album, Hell on Heels, is burning through the charts of Country music—and the hearts of men from Nashville to L.A.

I guarantee that down at the end of a red clay road, a young lady from the piney woods of Texas is getting up on stage tonight and singing Lambert’s Blues, breaking hearts all across town.

 Stuart Rosebrook would love to see Miranda Lambert and the Pistol Annies record a Christmas album with the title song, “Santa Baby.”

Written by J. Stuart Rosebrook
Published in True West, November 08, 2011

True West Celebrate’s Arizona’s Ranching Heritage

Photo by Scott Baxter

Recently I had the pleasure to publish a story in True West on Arizona’s ranching heritage accompanied by Scott Baxter’s remarkable photography from his Arizona Centennial project, “100 Years, 100 Ranchers.”

Below is the article that appeared in the February issue of True West Magazine:  

Early in the morning, as the first rays of sunshine spread warmth over Arizona’s mountains and valleys, when frost is still on the saddle blankets and the first cup of coffee is being poured over the cook fire, cowhands all across Arizona begin their morning work.

The work is hard, dangerous and unpredictable. For many of Arizona’s ranchers, the work is their heritage, a way of life that began at least 100 years ago. For some, their family’s ranch dates to the earliest years of the territory or even back to the era of the Spanish Mission trail along the Santa Cruz River.

Scott Baxter’s photography chronicles the heritage of Arizona ranching.

For the last seven years, photographer Scott Baxter has logged thousands of miles on Arizona’s highways and back roads in search of 100 ranching families who have been ranching at least 100 years. He has worked their roundups, woke up with them at first light and captured their spirit on film.

The gathering of wild steers, maverick bulls, lost dogie calves and old mother cows has been the work of Arizona’s ranchers for more than 300  years. Since the Spanish missionaries arrived in Southern Arizona on horseback and foot in the late 17th century, driving with them the first permanent herds of Spanish cattle, sheep and goats into Arizona, ranching has been an integral part of Arizona’s culture, economy and landscape.

In his photography, Baxter captures the rugged determination of generations of Arizona ranchers who have made a living from the unforgivable desert land. Baxter’s large format reveals the light, spirit and souls of the men and women who have worked the land and tended their herds through drought and floods, fire and freezes, overgrazing and subdivisions.

Ranching has defined the state’s image for more than 150 years. In honor of Arizona’s centennial on February 14, 2012, Baxter has selected three ranching families to represent the diversity of ranching heritage in Arizona from the territorial era to the present. These families are: Wink Crigler of the X Diamond Ranch near Eager in the White Mountains; the O’Haco Family of the Chevelon Butte and 4C’s Ranches near Winslow; and Jesse Hooker Davis of the Sierra Bonita Ranch near Wilcox.


Wink Crigler, the third generation of her family to ranch in the White Mountains, is the granddaughter of John and Molly Butler, who came into the wild and woolly White Mountains in 1890.

As the owner of the X Diamond Ranch, which is equally famous for its beef, beauty and bed and breakfast, Wink works the land just like the generations before her. She also oversees the management of her X Diamond Lodge, with its world class fly-fishing and spectacular views, and a family archive open to the public known as the Little House Museum.

During the fire last summer that burnt out over a half-million acres of the White Mountains near her ranch, Wink never left her land, determined to stay and protect her animals and property.


The O’Haco Family has ranched in the rugged canyon lands and high country crisscrossed by cowboys of the Aztec Land & Cattle Company, known as the Hashknife Outfit, near Winslow for well over a century. The Aztec company began operations in Arizona in 1884, moving its headquarters to Holbrook the following year.

Family patriarch Michael O’Haco was 16 when he immigrated to the Arizona Territory from France in 1899. He started as a sheep rancher building up ranches near Winslow, Wickenburg and Flagstaff, then switched to raising cattle after his son Michael returned from WW II. He had to be one tough, savvy sheep rancher to make it in the historic cattle country of Winslow and Holbrook.

His son and grandsons have continued to ranch outside of Winslow, each generation working hard together to overcome the harsh conditions of ranching the high plains of Winslow and the steep canyon lands that lead up into the White Mountains.


Jesse Hooker Davis is the sixth generation to live and ranch on the famed Sierra Bonita of Graham County.

Founded by Col. Henry Hooker in 1872, at the top of the Sulphur Spring Valley, the Hooker Ranch is a national historic landmark, noted for being the oldest, permanently established American ranch in Arizona.

Davis continues the family tradition, maintaining the fortress-like adobe house built by the colonel to protect his family and his ranch during the Apache and cattle wars of the late 19th century. Davis ranches the same mountains and valleys that his famed ancestor managed 140 years ago as the cattle king of the Arizona Territory.

Stuart Rosebrook owes most of his love of Arizona to three ranching families who will be featured in Scott Baxter’s portfolio: the Orme, the Teskey and the Cordes families.

Scott Baxter’s centennial project, “100 Years, 100 Ranchers,” will be exhibited across the state in honor of Arizona’s first century. For the exhibition schedule and information on supporting this nonprofit project, please visit

True West Extra Celebrates Music of the West

True West’s special March issue, True West Extra is a great collector’s issue for anyone who love’s the American West. The issue has great, indepth sections on film and television, Western Art, collecting the West, author’s and literature, and Country and Western Music.

If you love American honky-tonk music like I do, I hope you enjoy this article and it inspires you to go out and listen to some local music and dance the night away.  Here is an excerpt from the article. The issue, with Clint Eastwood on the cover, the West’s most Western man, is on newstand’s all across the country. Or go to and order one today!

Boot Stompin’, Guitar Pickin’ and Soul Searchin’ Western Roadhouse Country Blues

From the Bucket of Blood Saloon in Virginia City, Nevada, to the Sons of Hermann Hall in Dallas, Texas, to stages at festivals like the Lincoln County Cowboy Symposium in Ruidoso, New Mexico, Western troubadours, Bluegrass pickers, Honky-Tonk singers and soul-searching Country Blues makers are still singing songs that are searing hearts and sparking spontaneous Two-steppin’ nationwide.

In 2011, from coast to coast, America’s True West music makers gave us a great year of music with a Western attitude, Southern twang and Traditional Country state-of-mind.

I love regional Western music, and from my travels, I recommend the following singer-songwriters who celebrate the West every time they pick up a guitar:

If you are going to Houston, don’t miss a performance by local favorite Kenefick, a self-described fun-loving band of good ol’ boys and one gal (Suzn Hilvers, on mandolin and vocals).

A working cowboy singer from Sonoita, Arizona, Joel Eliot, should not be missed if you see he’s playing nearby. Ask him to sing “Cattle Call” around your campfire and you’ll think you were at Carnegie Hall under the stars.

Out on the coast from their home base in San Diego, Mark Stuart and the Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash are making Texacali music in the tradition of Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and Gram Parsons’ Flying Burrito Brothers.

As you fall asleep tonight, turn on the radio, tune it to some distant, lonely a.m. Country and Western station powered by 100,000 watts of power and listen to the voice of America sing. In your dreams, you’ll swing with the stars, yodel by a campfire, dream of love and dance the night away. I promise.

 Stuart Rosebrook’s first memories of Western music can be found somewhere between his mom and dad playing Gene Autry on the stereo to campfire sing-alongs of classics like “Desert Silvery Blue” at Arizona’s Quarter Circle V Bar Ranch.

Great Fun Talking Arizona with KTAR’s Karie and Chuck

The Grand Canyon Lodge at the Grand Canyon’s North Rim has been welcoming guests to Bright Angel Point for almost 90 years. Treat yourself to a relaxing retreat and stay at the lodge and wonder at the stars above.

Arizona is a great place to live and visit. When Karie and Chuck asked me to name my top three architectural sites in Arizona. The state has a treasure of architecture dating back thousands of years to the great Pueblos of the Ancients to the most modern, sustainable homes on the hillsides of Carefree and off-the grid desert dwellers of Mohave County. I chose three distinct buildings, each representing distinct era and personality of Arizona.

The Grand Canyon Lodge at the North Rim, San Xavier Del Bac Mission in Tucson, and Chase Field in Phoenix.

San Xavier, above, the finest example of Spanish Empire architecture in the Pacific Southwest and still a working Catholic mission.

Chase Field is the ultimate example of Arizona’s history of innovative architecture, from the ancient pueblos to Arcosanti, from Mary Colter’s La Posada to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Talliessen West. On the Radio on Phoenix’s KTAR with Karie and Chuck

Talking Arizona with Karie and Chuck of KTAR-Phoenix


Arizona celebrated its Centennial on Feb. 14, 2012 with great fanfare and celebration due the Valentine State! The 48th star on Old Glory, Arizona is a rugged, independent state that remains on the frontlines of American history.

One of the great questions that everyone asks about Arizona is what made Arizona such a great state in such a short time period?

Karie and Chuck of KTAR in Phoenix asked me to boil that question down to three answers.

Well, that was pretty difficult, to say the least, but I gave it my best shot and we had a lot of fun talking about it on the radio

My answers, simple:Interview with KTAR’s Karie and Chuck

Before WWII: Roosevelt Dam, the Railroads, and the U.S. Highways, including Route 66

After WWII: High Tech (Motorola, Hughes Aircraft, Honeywell), Cheap Housing for families and retirees, and Mass Media: Television westerns and movies, Arizona Highways magazine, and the Travel Industry

Wildcards that cannot be left out of the conversation: Spas/Resorts/Spring Training, the interstates, inexpensive airline travel, and three great universities, UofA, ASU, and NAU.

Sustainable Plan Key to Eastern Iowa Future

Johnson County, Iowa and its eleven cities are a key part of Eastern Iowa’s future growth. This fall there are numerous municipal elections being held to determine key leadership in urban, suburban, exurban and rural planning and zoning, economic growth, educational initiatives, transportation integration, and sustainable environmental practices. I believe we should look to the Southwest and the Sunbelt for some good examples of how rapid growth can outpace boosterism and lack of urban planning can leave a community wondering how it changed so much so fast.

JohnsonCountyNew Urbanism should look West for success, failure

Written by
Stuart Rosebrook | Writers’ Group

Each day I enjoy the early morning hours of my neighborhood in University Heights. I listen to the quiet awakening of our city and community. I can hear the hum of the highway, an early flight at the airport, and a distant horn of a freight train as it slips through town. Closer to home, neighbors walk their dogs, commute to work by car or bicycle, and the first teachers arrive at the local school to start the day.

Since June, I have followed the ongoing debate between councils and residents, supervisors and civic leaders. Every day I read about a new debate: Eastside vs. Westside; Coralville vs. Sycamore Mall; county growth vs. farmland preservation; church vs. condos; autos vs. bikes; neighborhoods vs. tailgaters; levee or no levee; bridge or no bridge. Surprisingly, only 5 percent of Iowa City residents voted for their city council in the recent primary. For such an active and educated community, this would appear apathetic, at best; cynical, at its worst.

Continue reading “Sustainable Plan Key to Eastern Iowa Future”

Iowa, N.H. and the Sunbelt Compete for GOP

Recently I had the opportunity to talk with Fox News talk show host Terry Gilberg about Florida’s blitzkrieg action against traditional neutral front runners in American primaries, Iowa and New Hampshire.

Florida, the third largest sunbelt state behind California and Texas respectively and fourth nationally (NY is now third behind Texas), with 27 electoral votes, demographically represents the diversity of residents and issues more reflective of key states in the 2012 presidential election than Iowa and New Hampshire. The GOP leadership in Iowa and New Hampshire may not like Florida’s pre-emptive strike to make the Sunshine State the primary to win in January but all GOP candidates will benefit from Florida’s chess-like move. From 200o to 2010 the nation’s demographics continued to move South and West, including 11 key electoral votes, all of which were in Midwestern and Northeastern states when George Bush II won his first election with the now famous hanging-chad Supreme Court decision in his favor over Vice President Al Gore. Today, 61 percent of all Americans live in the mild climates of the South and West, with only 39 percent making their homes in the traditional power states of the Northeast and Midwest. The GOP candidates reflect this, both in populism and home states: two from Texas, two from Georgia, one from Utah, one from Iowa/Minnesota, one from Michigan/Massachusetts, and one from Pennsylvania. And Sarah Palin, from Idaho and Alaska, remains a bell ringer for the Tea Party Republicans despite her decision not to run. Also the GOP front runners are all graduates of small liberal arts or state universities; Mitt Romney is the only candidate in the Republican field with a degree from an Ivy League school. Continue reading “Iowa, N.H. and the Sunbelt Compete for GOP”

Iowa Press-Citizen Writers’ Group

 The Iowa Press-Citizen, the Gannett daily of Iowa City, has its roots as the city’s paper of record dating to 1860. The paper’s Opinion Page Editor Jeff Charis-Carlson manages the local Iowa City Writers Group bringing great diversity of opinion and voice to the Press-Citizen and the community. Today my first column on being a new resident in Iowa City was published and I believe it strongly reflects our family’s experiences during our first 90 days in Iowa. Enjoy.

Quickly adjusting to a new life in Iowa City

Written by
J. Stuart Rosebrook

Fireworks Iowa City
Fireworks over Iowa City Territorial Capitol July 3, 2011
Writers’ Group
Iowa Press-Citizen

As the summer has turned to fall, farmers markets to football Fridays, singing cicadas to marching bands, I am grateful every day for our new home in Iowa City. The first three months in our new community are like a kaleidoscope at the state fair, the twirling colors of summer fun and festivals, farmers’ markets and friends, sweet corn and sunshine.

Our first big weekend in Iowa City was the Fourth of July. New friends invited us out to their home on the banks of Lake Macbride. For newcomers from Arizona, the overcast day with summer showers was just perfect for a cookout and a pontoon tour of the lake.

Continue reading “Iowa Press-Citizen Writers’ Group”

Celebrate Writers in Your Life and the Writers Guild of America on Labor Day Weekend

In honor of Labor Day Weekend, I would like to salute  the writers in my life who have dedicated themselves to the word and the support they have received from one of the great American labor guilds, the Writers Guild of America.

Three cheers to my father Jeb Rosebrook as he celebrates over 55 years of writing professionally; friend and my dad’s partner writer-producer Joe Bryne;  friend, screenwriter and author Max Evans, and, friend and creator of  “The Walton’s,” writer extraordinaire, Earl Hamner.  I count Joe, Max and Earl as three of my great mentors in life and writing.

So, this weekend when you are enjoying a good drama or comedy on television, kicking back with a cold one and a bowl of popcorn watching a re-run of your favorite movie, or watching the latest blockbuster at the cinema, remember all the writers who created all the characters, action, and dialogue on paper before the actor’s spoke a word or the director called Action!

If you want to know more about how the Writers Guild of America has protected the creativity of writers in Hollywood since 1921, click on