Gypsy Wagon Dec. 2018/Jan. 2019

By Betty Jo Gigot, Publisher

Every morning I ask Alexa, my Amazon virtual assistant, what the weather in Phoenix, Ariz., will be. I finally realized I never listen to the answer because, this time of year, it’s always the same. For those who love to see the seasons change, more power to you. For those of us who think 75 to 80 degrees is perfect, I am in the right place.

One of the benefits of this weather is that many, many of my friends and relatives find their way to my door every winter, and each and every one of them is welcome. This week’s guests had time to kill so we went on a road trip, first to Tucson for dinner at the Mountain Oyster Club (always a treat) and then on to Bisbee to view the huge copper mine pits and enjoy a marvelous breakfast at the Copper Queen Hotel. Opened in 1902, it’s the longest operating hotel in Arizona. They advertise that they have a pool and an elevator and all rooms have private baths. I asked the desk clerk about that and he said that originally there were 60 rooms but, when they added bathrooms, it was cut to 40 rooms. You can reserve a room there with a clawfoot shower and tub. Christmas guests are going to be treated to an overnight there.

Just down the road is Tombstone, and we got there in time for the traditional gun fight and took a ride in one of the stagecoaches touring the old Main Street. Bloody Marys at Big Nose Kate’s Saloon (she was Doc Holiday’s gal) made for a fine morning. A quick tour of Tim and Barbara Jackson’s new ranch near Sonoita, put us back in Phoenix for the NASCAR race (although my driver was almost eliminated) and ended another perfect weekend in my new home state. Come on down, the weather’s fine.

Driving across the desert I was amused to see a sign pointing to the Refuse Transfer Center nearby. It took me a minute to realize they were talking about what you and I know as the junkyard or the dump. What a perfect example of how politically correct we have become. I think back to the days when we made the change to “finished” from “fat” cattle and to “processing plant” rather than “slaughterhouse.” It’s now an “auction” barn rather than a “sale” barn, too, and although I guess all of this makes sense, sometimes I wonder where we head from here. I am still confused about the young lady who claims she’s “married“ to a train depot in San Diego but, since I have never seen that particular building, how can I judge?

The CALF News staff is gearing up for the Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in New Orleans the end of January and is excited about seeing all of you. We are looking forward to seeing James Herring and Bill Foxley inducted into the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame in New Orleans at the annual banquet Jan. 29. You’ll want to vote for the 2020 inductees while you’re there or online at

Through the years, people often mention pictures and stories that appeared in CALF News at one time or another. We are hoping you will all come see us at the CALF News trade show booth (#425) and reminisce or let us take another photo for the publication. Cattle people are our business and our joy.

2019 will mark CALF News’ 55th year in publication and my 30th as the magazine’s reporter and subsequent owner. We treasure our readers and advertisers who spend their time and money letting us be a part of your cattle community. See you in New Orleans.