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When you think Arizona

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When you think Arizona, what comes to mind first? Is it the climate changes between the hot summer sun and the cool winter breezes, Sedona and the gorgeous red rock phenomenon’s, or the Colorado River sketching the Grand Canyon? To me, Arizona is the sunsets that God paints in front of me, riding my horse through open land with the sun on my back, and popsicles. Arizona is my home, born and raised, and to me I will never know anything different.

Growing up in a small town in northern Arizona is an experience that will live with me forever. I would want nothing more then for my children to go to the same schools as I did, and grow up in the same town. When I was 10 years old, I started riding horses in local gymkhanas around the area that I live in. My family and I live by forestland, so every weekend we’d take our horses out riding by House Mountain. Our neighbors would be mowing their lawns, walking their dogs, and riding their horses as well. While riding home we would see the well-known Arizona sunset streaking purples, oranges, reds, and yellows across the sky.

While living in Cornville, Arizona and going to Oak Creek Elementary School, the closest option for High School is Mingus Union High in Cottonwood. Cottonwood is 15 to 20 minutes away, and is in the center of some of the major attractions in Northern Arizona. Mingus Mountain surrounds our valley, and the old ghost-mining town, Jerome, sits at the top. Cottonwood is also 30 minutes away from Sedona and its red rocks, and 45 minutes from the nearest mall in Prescott, which is known for its Frontier Days and the Worlds Oldest Rodeo.

Agriculture used to play a big role in our community. With a few working ranches still around and a few dissidents of old cowboys and ranchers, our community now is considered a “hick town.” I have been involved with FFA since my freshmen year of high school. Every year Yavapai County holds a fair and livestock auction for young FFA and 4H members to show and auction their animals. In FFA, a member has to have a project that they work on and can build upon. Every year I raise a pig for the Verde Valley Fair. I show them and then auction them off at the end of the fair. Our community is very willing to help the youth make a profit off their animals. Since the adults all grew up together, they love helping their friend’s children live the agricultural way of life.

Arizona is about the gorgeous sunsets, trail rides in the hot summer sun, and home. Arizona is and always will be the place I call home. Everyone needs the security of knowing where they are from and where they belong. My security is knowing that no matter where I go in life after high school, Arizona will always be where I come from, and who I am.