Mountain Men saddle up for annual ride

Week long journey begins Saturday in Williams with final destination Cave Creek

WILLIAMS - On Saturday, the Bill Williams Mountain Men will be riding from Williams down to Cave Creek as part of their annual Rendezvous Ride.

Each year, the Mountain Men ride by horse or mule from Williams to a location in the Phoenix area, covering approximately 200 miles in six to seven days. The ride has been held each year since the group's inception in 1954.

"Our goal is to leave around 7 a.m. from the Rodeo Grounds and then ride out south. Our first night camp will be in the Drake area," Mountain Man Roxen Cureton said.

Cureton has been in the club five years and looks forward to the annual ride because it helps strengthen bonds between club members.

"It's going to be a good ride, it's going to be a lot of fun. We always enjoy each other's company," he said. "But it is a challenge, especially when you start getting older and your bones creak," he said.

"When we get to Cave Creek on Friday, we have lunch at the Road Runner Bar and Steakhouse, and from there we transfer over to the Cave Creek Rodeo Grounds which is where we will stay Saturday night. We are also going to be in a Cave Creek parade that day," Cureton said.

The Bill Williams Mountain Men are dedicated to the preservation of the traditions and ways of American explorers and pioneers. They are also the official Ambassadors of Arizona and have participated in five Presidential Inaugural ceremonies in Washington.

The Mountain men are also listed as a local legacy in the Library of Congress.

Members dress in buckskin clothes and participate in various events and parades in the area, as well as visiting hospitals, nursing homes and other functions as requested.

Last December, the Mountain Men met with Arizona Governor Janice K. Brewer. The purpose of their visit was to receive Special Recognition of the Governor's Proclamation naming the organization once again Arizona Official Ambassadors.

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