Over the years I have attended several stampedes for different clubs. My first ever club event was in the mid ‘80s, with the Phoenix Four Wheelers. At that time I did not have a four-wheel-drive vehicle and I hooked up with some friends to go on the trip while taking photographs. Few years later I bought an old Jeep Wagoneer. Later on it made a better bed and vehicle to get back and forth to the event, than it did on the trail.
I know this may not sound very important to you the reader, but last year my wife said that I should try to get back into my hobby of photography. So I did. I started looking around for events to photograph when I came across an event which I would like participate; four-wheeling and photography. The event was an all Bronco Stampede. The Arizona Classic Bronco was holding their 20th annual Stampede.
They planned a trail run for every type of four-wheel enthusiast from the hardcore driver to a family truckster. Base camp was set up on the outskirts of Black Canyon City which is about 30 minutes north of the Phoenix area at a little place called Rock Springs Café. Saturday morning awoke as the sun started shining over the mountains to the east. By 8 a.m. a trail of Broncos made their way just north of the base came to an area of clear flat ground for the group photos. About a hundred broncos lined up from body styles from 1966 to 1996, but most were the models from 1966 to 1977.
The gas pump at Cleator was in good condition, but we couldn’t get any gas for $0.32 per g
The area around Black Canyon City made me feel like I took a run that went back in time. We went up the interstate a few miles to Exit 259 to a little place named Cordes Station; once a stage stop has turned into a piece of history. The next place in the trip was to the Blue Belle Mine Road turnoff. It almost looked like there were still wagon wheel ruts in the trail. The trail was a little rugged from the rocky terrain. Down the foothills and we came across the old Murphy’s Impossible Railroad that ran from Cordes to Crown King. Our next stop was the town of Cleator. Once a stop before the train when up the hill, then it a gas station in the middle of nowhere, now it is a store to grab a cold bottle of water before the 18-mile drive up the hill. However, our leg of the trip took us back to camp before passing through Bumble Bee which was a stage stop back when people would travel from Prescott to Phoenix.
Once back at camp and the dust was shaken off, sponsor were given awards for their donations of support or gifts to be raffled off. The caterer meal was prepared by the Rock Springs Café.
You can find more information about the Arizona Classic Bronco at www.azbronco.org.
The gathering of the 20th annual Bronco Stampede.