Spend a week as a ranch hand in Scottsdale

David Lansing,  – December 8, 2005

Round up your posse and head to Scottsdale’s Arizona Cowboy College, where more than a thousand wannabe Butch Cassidys and Sundance Kids have come since 1989 to learn the basic skills of cowboying: handling, catching, tying, grooming, saddling, proper mounting, roping, and of course, rounding up stray cattle. Rocco Wachman, senior instructor and resident curmudgeon at the ranch, says he isn’t the least bit interested in teaching people how to play cowboy for a week but how to be a cowboy. “This isn’t a dude ranch,” he says, shaking his head repeatedly as greenhorns plead with their horses to giddyup. Those who complete the six-day course get a certificate ― and the satisfaction of knowing they’re preserving, in their own little way, a dying tradition.

INFO:  Arizona Cowboy College (through Jun; six-day sessions $2,250, including meals and bunkhouse accommodations; 480/471-3151)

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