Celebrate New Year with a Bang at Yuma Gunslinger Reenactments January 7-8

January 5, 2017

PHOENIX - Folks who want to celebrate the New Year by traveling back in time can head to Yuma this weekend for the 19th annual Gathering of the Gunfighters.

The two-day event, which is held at Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park, features more than a dozen Old West reenactment groups from Arizona, New Mexico, California and Nevada putting on old-fashioned showdowns.

Martin Trujillo, customer service representative at Yuma Territorial Prison, said the event involves people dressed in period costumes who perform one skit each day.

“The costumes are from the time period of 1875 to 1905 and each group has its own skit,” he said, adding that the judges watch very closely to be sure everyone is dressed correctly for their time period.

“Everyone has to be really exact, from the shoes to the tassels to the buttons and hairstyles,” Trujillo said. Anyone spotted wearing anything modern will lose points.

Attendees will enjoy watching as the groups portray everything from cowboys and lawmen to town folk, saloon ladies and numerous disreputable yet highly entertaining characters.
The 20-minute skits feature plenty of rootin’ tootin’ shouting and shooting, Trujillo said, along with some dramatic “deaths” among the performers, who are competing for $1,000 in prize money.

Vendors will be on hand to sell beverages and vittles, Western wear and other themed merchandise.

Trujillo said the event, which is sponsored by the Heritage Area with the cooperation of Yuma, Arizona State Parks and Yuma’s Deguello Gunslingers, attracts visitors from throughout Arizona and other states.

“There is most definitely something for everyone. We get young kids all the way up to (age) 100,” he said. 

WHEN: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, January 7-8.

WHERE: Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park - Located at 1 Prison Hill Road, Yuma, AZ.

ADMISSION: $8, $3 for ages 7-13, free for age 6 and younger. Admission includes re-enactment competition and access to the prison and its exhibits.

DETAILS: (928) 783-4771 or www.gatheringofthegunfighters.com

For information about Arizona State Parks and the many recreational, historical and cultural programs call 1-877-MY-PARKS or visit AZStateParks.com.

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Learn More about Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park