MY TUCSON: Learning to feel at home in the arid Southwest

Herd at 29 works as an outrider.

By LEFTRICK W. HERD

 I was 28 the first time I came to Tucson. I was working as the ranch foreman and guide at a “dude ranch” in the mountains of Colorado. A friend, who was a guide and wrangler, and I were tired of the snow so we came south looking for work.

 Vision Quest, a national program for adjudicated youth that is based in Tucson, hired me. I worked on a wagon train, teaching horsemanship and animal care. I also taught groups of young men how to break wild mustangs.

 After four years of wagon train trips and adventures around the western United States, I returned to Colorado. Three years later, I came back to the deserts of Tucson with a wife and children.

 This time I worked in the copper mines for several years before going to night classes at Pima Community College to learn the air conditioning trade.

After a couple of semesters at Downtown Campus, I started a commercial refrigeration company while learning to love Tucson and the beauty of the desert southwest.

 I have spent the last 25 years riding horses and bikes on pine- and saguaro-covered mountains. I’ve had family vacations boating and fishing in beautiful lakes, and enjoyed the magnificent sunsets and clear night skies for which Arizona is famous.

When I want the advantages of “big city life,” Tucson provides me with some of the most creative chefs in the state. I can dine on a variety of cuisines and attend concerts, shows and festivals.

 Traveling around the world has shown me many countries, each with unique cities and towns. Each location offers its own beauty. I like living in the Tucson area because it has a diversity of cultures and the beautiful Sonoran desert.

 When a person leaves the asphalt, the southwest has wonderful sights to share. People from all over the United States have visited Tucson, if only for the winter months.

We stay because Tucson has become our home.

Herd at age 29 works as an outrider.

Herd, 57, still rides dirt bikes. This photo was taken on a New Year's Day Outing with his daughters.

Filed Under: My TucsonOpinion

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