Lara Serbin, Buckeye Main Street Coalition It is always exciting times during Buckeye Days, January 23, 30th and 31st will be even more memorable with Bob Boze Bell, owner of True West Magazine coming to the Cattle Drive as the Grand Marshal. There are many ways to learn who this Arizona Kingman native is by reading his Raised on the Mother Road The 66 Kid: a scrapbook style autobiography which is an easy, hilarious read. BBB interjects stories of his childhood along the Mother Road with his amazing watercolors and ink sketches throughout the large print pages. Ever since he picked up his first Billy the Kid postcard during the one and only time his dad even stopped at a roadside museum trinket store BBB became one with Wild West Legends. You can find him as expert historical reference for the likes of Wyatt Earp on PBS specials, interviewed on the news or heard on the radio. Growing up in Kingman, he bought his first True West Magazine by saving up all his coins working at his Dad’s filling station. BBB fulfilled his dream by buying True West Magazine and now owns and operates the funniest, most insightful monthly publication of Western lengends. We are truly honored to have BBB come to Buckeye Days January 30th to continue the tradition of keeping the West Alive in Buckeye, Arizona!
Here are some questions and answers for you, enjoy! Do you think people will still be writing or painting with their hands in the far flung future? Machines are going to usurp more and more things we do, including art representation, but I believe when it comes to creating art, human choices and the human touch will outlive me. After that, I don’t care. What is your advice for writers block? Write every day, without hope, without despair. If you don’t feel like writing, write that. What is your latest inspiration? I am on the trail of a Buffalo Bill wannabe who shot and killed Vincent van Gogh.
Do you believe factual historic answers are linked with intuition? I believe nothing changes more than the past. What went through your head after you bought True West magazine? What kind of a crazy idiot would attempt to save a pulp magazine that is going out of business? What is your big hairy, audacious goal for True West magazine? My staff needs a place to go every day where they can have fun, be creative and be respected for it. That is my job, to make sure they get all of that and get paid for their efforts, to boot. So far, so good. What differentiates True West magazine with other Western mags? Many of the magazines in our field, Wild West, Cowboys & Indians, American Cowboy and Western Horseman do a good job of portraying and servicing the world I love. The difference is, True West has a sense of humor that I don’t think you’ll find in those other magazines. Some see this as a flaw, but I blame it on my upbringing in Kingman. Do you believe ghost towns are haunted? No, I believe we chase ghosts, until the ghosts chase us. When I was growing up, I loved it when my parents took me to ghost towns, like Goldroad, Oatman, White Hills and Mineral Park. I used to fantasize about the lives the people in those towns led, what happened to them? Where did they go? Now, more than a half century later, I see the town I grew up in disappearing and turning into a ghost town. In the end we’re all ghosts to another generation.
If you could chat with any historical figure who would it be? I have a bone to pick with Wyatt Earp. Who the hell fired first at the O.K. Corral fight? I doubt that I could penetrate his defenses, though. He was a cagey bastard, I’ll give him that. Do you ever go on long road trips? Nothing makes me happier than being on the road. My dad taught me that. The only difference between him and me is that I stop for everything, and he stopped for absolutely nothing except gas, food, oil and maybe, open wounds. Growing up in Kingman did you ever make it out to Buckeye, Arizona? We had several rivals in the Valley, especially Buckeye, Tolleson and Agua Fria. We hated Agua Fria the most because they beat the tar out of us every time we met. This was in the 1960s. Next we hated Tolleson and their crackerjack size gym and we once had to have a police escort out of town. Long story short: we were the hayseeds coming down to the sophisticated Valley and well, it was oil and water. Buckeye, on the other hand, had a better class of people, with the possible exception of the Holly family. Just kidding. Fritz Holly is a friend of mine, in spite of being from Buckeye. What’s your approach for a winning team? Funny what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit. Any one book you read more than once? The book that changed my life and altered the course of Western history is “The Saga of Billy the Kid” by Walter Noble Burns. My mother sent it to me for Christmas in 1989. It’s the inspiration for everything I’ve created since then, including owning True West magazine and the dozen books I’ve published on the Old West. I reread it every chance I get. The other book that thrills me is “Vanished Arizona” by Martha Summerhayes. A must read for anybody who lives in Arizona. If you had a blank check what would you do right now? Finance social security so me and all my geezer friends can still get our checks every month. What music score or song most sounds like the Wild West to you? “Jesus Just Left Chicago” by ZZ Top. Either that, or “Highway to Hell” by AC/DC. I’m a rocker, although Country is catching up. Eric Church is my current fave artist who samples AC/DC and the Stones, among others. My fave being “How ’bout You?” which is an homage to small towns like Buckeye and Kingman.