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Bare-handed baseball and Bisbee

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When the umpire yelled “strikers to the line,” it was clear immediately, this was not an ordinary baseball game. There is nothing ordinary about bare-handed baseball — or the town of Bisbee for that matter. The Copper City Classic vintage baseball tournament has been held annually at Bisbee’s historic Warren Ballpark for the past seven years. “This is what baseball is all about, it doesn’t get more authentic than this,” said Mike Anderson, captain of the Bisbee Black Sox. “A day at the park, band playing in the stands, and some really nice weather.” Vintage baseball is baseball for diehards, those who truly love and honor the traditions and history of the game. The perfect tradition for Bisbee, a town that still resembles a postcard of 1920s small town America. Games are played without gloves, which makes fielding a comedy...

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Bonded by Blood, Sweat and Soil

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The sun hangs high in the mid-afternoon sky as the smell of hay and beer wafts through the air at the Rillito Park Race Track and Jesus Osuna settles in at the starting gate. Osuna braces himself on Fayvorite Flyer, the horse he will be racing for the second match of the day. He’s wearing a green jersey with white pants and shiny, black boots over his small, wiry frame, with a green riding helmet topped with a pom-pom strapped to his head. “Easy money,” he says to himself, like he does before each race. It’s his mantra. The bell rings, the gates open and his horse speeds off. This is Osuna’s favorite part of racing. “The rush.” Osuna said. “The rush coming out of the gates. There’s nothing like it.” It’s a feeling most of Osuna’s family knows...

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NCAA Mutt Madness Tournament

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Need a dose of NCAA to go along with the big game? Watch the Final Fur! The NCAA has never been so cuddly cute as when puppies compete to win your attention, affection and a chance to join your championship winning home team. Let the NCAA Mutt Madness Tournament fill your basketball bracket for when Oklahomutt, Syracute, North Corgilina and Vizslanova go tail-to-tail. Victoria Teplitz and Anna Mae Ludlum are reporters for Arizona Sonora News Service,a service from the School of Journalism with the University of Arizona. Contact Victoria Teplitz at Contact Anna Mae Ludlum at

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Scrambling through Arizona’s toughest trails

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To truly test how good a hiker you are, take these tough trails and see how long you last. Arizona may be one big desert but it has no shortage of hiking trails for people to enjoy. Here is a list of the 10 toughest trails in Arizona, according to hiking groups in the state. Rim to rim to rim We all like the Grand Canyon but this may make you hate it. You start at Bright Angel Trailhead and head to North rim. After you reach North rim, you head to South Rim to finish. Sounds easy right? Don’t be misled. It’s a 42-mile hike in the Arizona heat. You may see amazing scenery but will you have energy to actually enjoy it? You gain and lose 11,000 feet of elevation throughout the hike and there could be...

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How my feelings on guns changed

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  I’ve never held a gun in my life. At first, I thought my editor was crazy and deep down inside I hoped he was joking. But as he talked more and more about it I quickly learned this was no joke. He wanted me to shoot a gun. With current gun violence and the political issue of  gun control, whether I wanted to or not, I was going to have to go out and learn how to shoot a gun. The first person I reached out to was Tyger Volz the owner of Casa Grande Trap and Skeet.  She said people who want to try trap and skeet but have no experience handling a gun should call a reputable club. So that is exactly what I did. I went out to the Tucson Trap and Skeet club, with some information on...

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Communities in need of preschools

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Children in rural and poor communities face a shortage of preschools due to underfunding and lack of access. Yet research has shown that children who come from these communities benefit the most from early education programs. “Kids who grow up in poverty tend to have a lower vocabulary and fewer experiences to be socialized in school-like settings,” said Robert Wortman, an associate professor of practice in the University of Arizona College of Education. “Kids who don’t have that experience typically are not successful in kindergarten.” Education Week Research Center reported in 2015 that just 35.2 percent of 3- and 4-year-olds in Arizona attend preschool, ranking the state next to last in the country. The number of children attending preschool is partially influenced by income: 64 percent of children whose household makes $100,000 are enrolled in preschool versus just 4 out of...

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Women in the rodeo: Limited opportunity to get in the saddle

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Marana’s Erin Parsons is very familiar with rodeos. She comes from a well-known Tucson-area rodeo family and began competing in junior events at age 6. Now 29, she is a professional barrel racer and participates in about 20 rodeos each year, including La Fiesta de los Vaqueros, better known as the Tucson Rodeo. The Tucson Rodeo takes place once a year, in late February, and is one of the top 25 professional rodeos in North America. According to Gary Williams, the Tucson Rodeo’s General Manager, out of the 658 contestants who competed in the rodeo this year, only 80 of them were women and all participated in barrel racing. Rodeos are a huge part of Arizona culture, and while there are women who compete in rodeos, they have somewhat of a limited role. In rodeos sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, the only women’s...

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Chiricahua’s wonderland of rocks could be Arizona’s next national park

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  A sea of green trees fill the valley, jagged pillars of rock pierce the crystal blue sky, and the sun reflects off tiny glass fragments embedded within the fossilized volcanic ash. Hidden away 34 miles southeast of Willcox is Chiricahua National Monument, a wonderland of balancing rocks that could become the nation’s next national park. Recently, members of the Sierra Vista Tourism Commission voted unanimously to designate the Chiricahua Mountains’ area as a national park to help strengthen the economy, boost tourism and attract businesses  to southeastern Arizona. Visitors to the state spent an estimated $837 million in local regions while visiting Arizona’s three national parks in 2014, according to the National Park Service. “More people visit national parks because there is more name recognition,” said Suzanne Moody, a Chiricahua park ranger. “They don’t always know about the monuments.” In 1992, Saguaro National Monument in...

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Pro baseball returns to Old Pueblo with shorter schedule

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  Professional Mexican baseball will be back in the Old Pueblo for a second consecutive spring training, but with a more limited exhibition schedule, county officials said. Toros de Tijuana, Rojos del Águila de Veracruz and Pericos de Puebla of Mexico’s Liga Mexicana de Béisbol will report to Kino Sports Complex at the end of February for a 30-day spring training camp — part of a continued partnership between organizers, M1 Baseball and the Pima County Stadium District. “We are returning to Tucson to put in a full month of work,” Aaron Alcaraz, director of international operations for Toros de Tijuana, said in a press release published in Spanish on the team’s official website. “The team (Toros) was in the area last year and was able to take advantage of the excellent facilities.” Local baseball fans shouldn’t expect a 12-game slate like in...

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Quarter horse trainers get back into routine for Rillito racing

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  Phil Pinedo and his brother Jesus have trained horses for over 50 years. Out of the 35 races they participate in a year, the races at Rillito are not only a yearly tradition for them but something they love to do in their hometown. The Pinedo brothers are Southern Arizonan natives and grew up with horses. Jesus says that the atmosphere at Rillito is like a family because all the trainers and jockeys pass down their knowledge and positions on to their children just as his father did for him and his brother.  “It’s in our genes, it’s in our blood and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else,” said Jesus. The Rillito Winter Meet started on Feb. 13 and races run on weekends until March 20. Jesus and Phil train quarter horses and thoroughbred horses, and racing at...

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