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Cowboy to wax poetic at Yuma Crossing Day
It's possible you'll see "Fidalgo Joe" today at the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park during observance of Yuma Crossing Day.
Wearing western jeans, cowboy boots and a 10-gallon hat and having a guitar strapped to his shoulder tends to make one recognizable.
His appearance is all part of the historical observance on the North End, and will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the prison park.
Plus, the Fidalgo character will be doing rope tricks, "which are better if the wind isn't blowing," he said, and he'll also wear a buckskin jacket with fringes if the wind blows.
"I recite cowboy poetry - I've written some of the poems. I sing and I tell jokes," he said. "It's part of my comedy routine."
Fidalgo Joe's off-stage name is Jim Thompson - who says he doesn't know what, if anything, the alias means.
For the past seven years, the entertainer has been a part-time winter visitor at Windhaven RV Park and part-time resident of Anacortes, Wash.
He said, "I'm a Westerner, as were my folks, so the cowboy routine comes naturally. I retired from the Navy, have lived in Colorado and California, but I'm not totally retired, because I play guitar at different parks and for special events while in Yuma and at home."
Thompson, along with the Pistols and Petticoats group from Apache Junction and the Degello Gunfighters of Yuma, will be entertaining at the prison park.
Today's activities for the annual Yuma Crossing Day also include a Civil War encampment and tours at the Yuma Crossing State Historical Park; Madison Avenue activities in front of the Arizona Historical Society, with individuals portraying personalities of the early days of Yuma; Yuma Valley Railway train rides; a film show at the Yuma County Library; the invasion of Main Street by the Yuma Vigilantes, and visiting hours at the Quechan Tribal Museum across the river.
Regular admission fees will be charged at the historical parks and for the train rides.
Pam M. Smith can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6856.