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Latest News in Wickenburg, AZ

NFL Network/Arizona Cardinals honor Coach Carter

Staff WriterSome of life’s most inspiring moments come via sports, whether it be through college basketball coach Jimmy Valvano’s “don’t give up, don’t ever give up” speech just months prior to succumbing to metastatic cancer, or actor Sean Astin, portraying Dan Ruettiger, being carried off Notre Dame’s football field with the crowd chanting "Rudy" to end the film of the same name.On Monday, Wickenburg High School had a “Rudy” moment of its own, as student...

Staff Writer

Some of life’s most inspiring moments come via sports, whether it be through college basketball coach Jimmy Valvano’s “don’t give up, don’t ever give up” speech just months prior to succumbing to metastatic cancer, or actor Sean Astin, portraying Dan Ruettiger, being carried off Notre Dame’s football field with the crowd chanting "Rudy" to end the film of the same name.

On Monday, Wickenburg High School had a “Rudy” moment of its own, as students, staff, and even The NFL Network honored Coach Carter Crosland, who, though being born without arms or legs, has helped coach various sports over the years in Utah and Arizona, including football. Coming upon a Wickenburg Sun article written by sports editor Kevin Cloe over the summer, representatives of football’s highest league became quite taken with Crosland’s story.

Wickenburg High School Athletic Director Matt Johnson said, “The NFL reached out to us and said, ‘We can’t help but notice what’s happened with this guy. We want to do a thing on him.’ We said, ‘Of course.’ It’s an awesome deal. I can’t say enough about that guy. He’s so willing to do anything. With the limitations he has, there’s nothing I wouldn’t ask him to do and nothing he wouldn’t do for us. We’re lucky to have him.”

Johnson, along with The NFL Network, arranged for a special surprise assembly to honor Coach Crosland Monday inside the school gym. Among those who shared their thoughts and experiences on “Coach Carter” was head football coach Ishmael MacNeil.

“He’s there with a smile on his face, ready to work,” MacNeil said. “He’s a true inspiration to us all. He’s always positive, and we appreciate that about him.”

Following MacNeil, WUSD Executive Director of Support Services Jeremy Nunn, who was often found along the sidelines during the football season, said, “Carter is a positive influence on everybody. A big thing for me is during games, a kid would come out of the game beat up and tired, hands on his knees, bent over and whimpering. Carter would roll up to him with a smile on his face and say, ‘Come on. Pick your head up and get back in there. You can do this.’ They would get some water, turn around, and say, ‘Okay, coach. I’m ready to go back in.’ His presence alone has shown these kids they can do more than they think and there’s no obstacle in their way. There are difficulties in life, but we can fight through and overcome them.”

Following Nunn’s remarks, Crosland entered the gym to a raucous roar from the students and was eventually greeted by a few members of the Arizona Cardinals organization, including former running back Marcel Shipp.

“I’ve heard Coach Carter’s story, and it is an honor just to come and meet him,” Shipp said in an interview with The Sun. “The inspiration he brings to the sport - not just football, but all sports in general – showing people there’s no excuses. There’s no reason why you can’t do something and set out and do it the right way. At the end of the day, these kids have the luxury of having him because that’s inspiration they get to see every day.”

Shipp offered more than a “bump” to Crosland when he came out to the middle of the gym, signaling to a screen, where a video montage, led by NFL players, including three-time AP Defensive Player of the Year JJ Watt, addressed Coach Carter. The video ended with a presentation of two tickets to this year's Super Bowl, which will be held just down the road at State Farm Stadium in Glendale on Feb. 12.

Describing the presentation and generous gift as “a really nice surprise,” Crosland simply stated, “I was not expecting that.”

Overseeing the tribute to Crosland, Wickenburg High School Principal Mark Gorman said, “Coach Carter is awesome, and it extends well beyond the football field. He’s a role model. Somebody the students and community can look to. He’s overcome challenges, and he doesn’t see them as challenges. He is somebody who takes on whatever is put in front of him, and it isn’t an obstacle. The Cardinals recognizing that and coming out, the NFL seeing stories and wanting to highlight this, I think it’s awesome for him, our community, and our school. It’s exciting to have them. We’re happy they’ve come out and done this, and it’s awesome he’s going to be able to attend the Super Bowl.”

Helping to coordinate the event with The NFL Network, WUSD Superintendent Barbara Remondini, reflecting on Crosland not only as a coach but as a person, said, “There are never too many good adults in a kid’s life. Somebody like coach Carter is just an amazing inspiration to everybody and an adult to which every kid and human could look up. It’s awesome he’s willing to work with our kids and our team.”

On Feb. 12, while Crosland relishes the NFL’s well-deserved gift to him, The NFL Network will be airing his segment. Check local listings and programming for time and channel.

Miss Gold Nugget returning

EditorA longtime Wickenburg tradition is being revived after a nearly 30-year absence.The Miss Gold Nugget pageant – which dates back seven decades – is set to return next year, just in time for Gold Rush Days. But for this year, the Wickenburg Chamber of Commerce is inviting past queens to attend this year’s Gold Rush Days and serve as the parade’s grand marshals. Chamber Executive Director Sheila Goode said she realizes with just a month to go, it’s a bit of an undertaking in terms of co...

Editor

A longtime Wickenburg tradition is being revived after a nearly 30-year absence.

The Miss Gold Nugget pageant – which dates back seven decades – is set to return next year, just in time for Gold Rush Days. But for this year, the Wickenburg Chamber of Commerce is inviting past queens to attend this year’s Gold Rush Days and serve as the parade’s grand marshals. Chamber Executive Director Sheila Goode said she realizes with just a month to go, it’s a bit of an undertaking in terms of contacting them. She’s hoping though social media and word of mouth to get as many of the past 45 queens to attend as possible.

“When you grow up in a town like Wickenburg, there will always still be a connection,” she said. “There is always that tie that binds.”

This year is a bit of a flashback to 1989. That year the parade also featured past queens with the pageant being revived the following year. However, Miss Gold Nugget would last just five more years and has not returned since.

“Way back in the day, it was a rodeo queen type of thing, but it was also very much a beauty pageant,” Goode said. “Back then they even had bathing suit contests so it was definitely a beauty pageant but it transformed into more of a rodeo queen. By the 1980s there was horsemanship and the speech was a big part of (the competition.) The queens were utilized as ambassadors for Wickenburg, and they attended PRCA rodeos inviting guests to come to Wickenburg.”

Goode knows a thing or two about this event as she was Miss Gold Nugget 1993.

As this iteration of Miss Gold Nugget begins, Goode said that the winner will again be an ambassador for Wickenburg, which in turn will help destination marketing, the chamber and the town as a whole. But, it’s more than just that.

“For those of us who have done it, it’s a great opportunity to get out and see all of Arizona,” she said. “It’s also an opportunity to represent a sport that we love and is a part of our lifestyle here in Wickenburg. Plus, it gives you an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone as you learn public speaking and interacting with many others.”

As Wickenburg continues to grow, it’s becoming better known for rodeos while living up to the title of Team Roping Capital of the World. Goode said this is an ideal time to again have a queen.

“With all the roping events and us pushing the rodeo events, to not have our own rodeo queen is sad,” she said.

Being that the last Miss Gold Nugget was crowned in 1995, Goode said she has some theories as to why it has yet to return.

“I think it was still looked upon as a beauty pageant, so we want to get past that in terms of how it’s phrased, packaged and put out there,” she said. “In the 1990s there was a bit of a transition. While we’ve always been known as a cowboy town, we also started becoming known as a retirement community. Thankfully, with roping becoming such a big thing here, we can capitalize on this again.”

Goode said another reason it’s been dormant for so long is that no one took ownership of it to form committees, look for sponsors and raise the funds needed. The plan is to award the queen a scholarship in order to help pay for college or to advance their education.

Since getting the word out that Miss Gold Nugget will be making its return for next year’s Gold Rush Days – with the winner being chosen weeks prior ­– Goode said the response has been very positive.

“It’s been well received, which is why I’m taking a chance and saying, ‘yeah, we’re going to run with this’ because I think, there’s enough backing without having to finalize everything just yet,” she said. “I think this is the first step – bringing all the queens back. After Gold Rush Days, we’ll be looking to form a committee, criteria and decide what it is we’re trying to achieve.”

Any past queens are encouraged to contact Goode at 928-684-5479 or by email at sgoode@wickenburgchamber.com.

Wranglers focus on highlights of 'bizarre' season at banquet

Sun CorrespondentNot spending much time discussing the 10 injuries that contributed to the seven-game losing streak at the end the 2022 season, Wickenburg High School’s football coaches instead pointed out players’ achievements during the team’s annual awards banquet last week.It started with the team receiving the 2022 3A Conference Sportsmanship Award, which was determined by a vote of game officials who made their selection based on their belief the Wranglers had shown the highest level of sportsmanship througho...

Sun CorrespondentNot spending much time discussing the 10 injuries that contributed to the seven-game losing streak at the end the 2022 season, Wickenburg High School’s football coaches instead pointed out players’ achievements during the team’s annual awards banquet last week.It started with the team receiving the 2022 3A Conference Sportsmanship Award, which was determined by a vote of game officials who made their selection based on their belief the Wranglers had shown the highest level of sportsmanship throughout the season. Sportsmanship Awards generally go to teams that didn’t experience much success but were exceptional examples on how to conduct themselves in the face of adversity. Only one Sportsmanship Award was presented in each conference (6A to 1A) this year, and there are 38 teams in the 3A Conference.As assistant coach Carter Crosland pointed out, “It’s definitely a testament to the culture you (first-year head coach Ishmael MacNeil) are building here.”The coaches and players were invited to attend the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s Open Division state playoff game last Saturday night at Arizona State University, where the team was recognized at halftime.At awards banquet held at the Mt. Hope Assembly of God Church, Coach MacNeil’s coaching staff introduced the individual team and region award winners, led by the Wranglers’ Offensive Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player Klayton Smid. The slippery and hard-to-bring down junior running back led the Wranglers in rushing with 657 yards but was sixth in the region in that category and was eighth in total offense in the region with 923 yards, so Coach MacNeil turned to the defense to get him on the all-region first team.However, he was fifth in tackles in the region as an outside linebacker with 51 but was overlooked among the four all-region first-team selections, so Coach MacNeil convinced the other region coaches to place him on the first team as a defensive back. That was a victory.Smid eventually was named to the all-region team as a running back, but as an Honorable Mention.Then there was senior wide receiver Eleazar Dominguez, who earned two all-region first-team honors. As a wide receiver, he was ranked sixth in the region with 346 yards but selected as one of the four for the first team — chosen ahead of region leader Ashton Lofton of Chino Valley with 704 yards and fourth-ranked Kenneth Clay of River Valley at 458 yards. Coach MacNeil said he was told by other region coaches that they selected Dominguez over the others because he was “a big play guy and his speed was hard to cover.” Another victory.Not known at the time of the banquet was that Dominguez this year became the ninth-leading receiver for single-season yards on the Wranglers’ all-time records chart, dating back to at least the last 22 yearsDominguez earned his first-team honor for punting after leading the region with his 36.59 yards per punt average, according to Maxpreps.com.Another unusual but positive news item from the all-region meeting was the selection of Wrangler linebackers Zack Dalley and Trace Buchert. They both joined teammate and offensive lineman Carson “Our Rock” Hone on the all-region second team. However, both were injured early in the season that forced them to sit out the rest of the year. Dalley played in only three games (only one region contest) this season due to his shoulder injury, and Buchert played in only six of the 10 games before the bone chips in his shoulder sidelined him for the rest of the year.Both were leading the team in tackles at the time of their departures, and Dalley also was used as a running back on offense while Buchert served as quarterback after season-starting signal caller Logan James missed almost the entire season with a back injury.“It was a big thing to even get them (Dalley and Buchert) on the second team,” MacNeil said. “The drop-off on the defense when we lost these guys was huge, and the other coaches saw that and respected their games and how how big they were to to our defense.” Another pair of victories.The player-voted special awards went to the following:Newcomer of the Year — Eli HeimerMost Improved — Jacob TepeyacLineman of the Year — Carson HoneSpecial Teams Player of the Year — Eleazar DominguezDefensive Player of the Year — Zack DalleyOffensive Player of the Year — Klayton SmidMost Valuable Player — Klayton SmidCoaches also selected two other award winners:Scout Team Player of the Year — Trent JepsenCoach’s Award — Luke Drescher, who played most of the season with painful shin splints.

Cyber Readiness Program at Wickenburg Unified School District

By Jeremy CourlissDirector of Informational TechnologyThe Arizona Department of Homeland Security (AZDOHS), with support of the Governor's Office, is providing cybersecurity tools at no cost to all cities, counties, K-12 districts, and tribes in Arizona.The program is called the Cyber Readiness Program and Wickenburg Unified School District is taking advantage of the tools that have been provided. These tools have been specifically chosen because they require an extremely low level of effort for deployment and operationa...

By Jeremy Courliss

Director of Informational Technology

The Arizona Department of Homeland Security (AZDOHS), with support of the Governor's Office, is providing cybersecurity tools at no cost to all cities, counties, K-12 districts, and tribes in Arizona.

The program is called the Cyber Readiness Program and Wickenburg Unified School District is taking advantage of the tools that have been provided. These tools have been specifically chosen because they require an extremely low level of effort for deployment and operationalization and the AZDOHS is providing a support structure to ensure success utilizing this program. This coincides with changes that Arizona insurance providers are implementing which require tighter cybersecurity measures in order to keep lower premiums and deductibles. The Cyber Readiness Program will ensure the district's systems and data are secure and help us meet the new requirements from insurance companies.

The district now has access to granular patch management and software deployment tools, advanced endpoint protection and a new multi factor authentication platform.I know that is a lot of technical jargon so here is a breakdown of what each piece means for the district:

Patch Management and Software Deployment: This system will ensure that all of our devices and servers have the latest security patches and all of our programs have the latest updates.This is very important because devices that are missing the latest patches are vulnerable to various attacks (malware, viruses, hacking, etc.) and can lead to systems and data being compromised.The IT department takes great care in ensuring that our systems are regularly updated and that our data is secure but this new system will allow much of that to be done automatically.

Advanced Endpoint Protection (AEP): This is basically a beefed up antivirus program.Most antivirus programs work by looking for known viruses and malware using definition files. The antivirus program will scan the computer or server and when it finds one of these virus files it will quarantine or delete the file.AEP looks at every program that is running on a computer or server (even the ones in the background) to see what the program is trying to do. If the program is trying to do something malicious (like lock out all of the files) then the AEP will cut that program off and quarantine it before it can complete the task. Since it’s not dependent on a known list of viruses or malware it keeps systems much more secure.

Multi Factor Authentication (MFA): MFA adds a second layer of security when logging into a device or service. Many people already experience this to some degree. Most bank accounts require a code to be sent by email or text message when logging in. If you have ever experienced this then you have experience with MFA. The district is required to implement MFA for all staff and will be using a platform that can send a code by email, smartphone app or hardware key as the additional form of authentication. This will ensure that even if a staff member’s password is compromised all district systems and data are still secure.

The Recon Group makes investments out of investments

Staff WriterDepending on which circle one asks, “real estate” may be the most popular answer to the question “Where should I invest my money?”Thanks to The Recon Group’s Real Estate Wealth Manager Armando Gonzalez, the investment does a little investing itself. Gonzalez, whose team of 15 agents have been together since 2017, serves clients in Wickenburg, Yarnell, Aguila, Congress, and Morristown with more than just land and property in mind.“We pretty much work as real estate ...

Staff Writer

Depending on which circle one asks, “real estate” may be the most popular answer to the question “Where should I invest my money?”

Thanks to The Recon Group’s Real Estate Wealth Manager Armando Gonzalez, the investment does a little investing itself. Gonzalez, whose team of 15 agents have been together since 2017, serves clients in Wickenburg, Yarnell, Aguila, Congress, and Morristown with more than just land and property in mind.

“We pretty much work as real estate wealth managers,” Gonzalez said. “We help clients build a legacy of personal wealth through real estate for them, their family, and their future. Whether they’re buying their first, third, or 10th home, we view each client as a real-estate investor and help them acquire property and create a little bit of a 401K real-estate portfolio to achieve retirement.”

Born and raised in Wickenburg, Gonzalez, after having a couple of kids, was ready to return to Wickenburg and “settle back into a small-town setting.” Though “hanging his brokerage license” with West USA Realty in North Phoenix, Gonzalez recognizes the local need for a team like The Recon Group.

“Understanding the tangible benefits of living in a small town and working within that community, it presented an opportunity to expand with the team and get back to Wickenburg and establish our method of personal growth and wealth,” he said. “We know Arizona is expanding and has continued with its growth but taking advantage of it and providing opportunity for the clients we run into and work with, it pretty much makes it a perfect market with which to apply this program.”

Having utilized the program himself to acquire property and gain personal wealth, Gonzalez looks to “give back” while returning to his roots.

“That’s the element I bring towards Wickenburg as far as helping out with that knowledge I’ve acquired over time,” said Gonzalez. “Being a part of the town and doing what I’m doing, it makes me that much more passionate. Wickenburg provides a nice little family orientation. When you come back, you want to raise a family. You want your friends to come back with their kids. You want to have the same environment for our kids growing up with each other.”

The Recon Group is located at 47515 N. US HWY 60 (inside Premier Landscaping), Morristown, Ariz. For info, visit rocketwealthaz.com or call (623) 512-2812

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