Rock the District Celebrates Ten Years

Fundraising event to be held April 12–13

Cali Rodi

The Carefree sundial will be shining with talent as celebrity headliners, alumni who made it big, plus 30 student bands take the stage for two unforgettable evenings in April to raise money for the Cave Creek Unified Education Foundation.

Rock the District is the signature fundraising event started by Cactus Shadows High School student Melissa Nelson and hosted by the Cave Creek Unified Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization. Since its inception, it has raised more than $200,000 benefiting Cave Creek teachers, students and schools.

This year’s Rock the District celebrity headliners include country stars Ryan Sims, Chad Freeman and Cali Rodi. As an example of how this stage can be a launching pad for big-time music industry careers, Rodi performed as a student at the first Rock the District back in 2009 and was recently signed by Keith Urban to his publishing company, BOOM.

Chad Freeman

Among the alumni students returning to their roots are Tia Penny the youngest to play in Alice Cooper’s Proof is in the Pudding and Homestretch, the band that won third place. Also appearing is Promise to Myself, an alumni band whose music has been chosen by Dutch Bros. Coffee to play in their locations across the country.

This year’s special 10th anniversary event will “turn it up to 11” with:

  • Sanderson Lincoln Black Label Lounge, a swanky place to relax with an adult beverage while enjoying the show
  • VIP Tables, allowing concert-goers to see the show up close
  • General admission tickets, allowing guests to rock the night away with the crowd
  • Food trucks including Firehouse Kettle Corn, Hibachibot, Kona Ice and Munch Box
  • A silent auction, where bidding is available now online, and continues at the live event
  • Online Tipping with a “Split the Tip” feature, providing half to the student performer and half to the school district

Chad Freeman

“Rock the District will be bigger and better than ever during our 10th Anniversary show dates on April 12 and 13,” says Rock the District organizers Kesha Cardinal and Sarah Byrne. “With the headliners, it will be a chance for all of Phoenix to see these world-class acts. With the alumni, it’s a chance to see how these former students have become up-and-comers in the music industry. For the students, this will be a chance for friends, family and neighbors to see these teen bands and singers take the stage and show the world what they got!”

Rock the District will take place April 12–13, at East Sundial Circle in Carefree. Gates open at 5pm both days and shows start at 5:30pm. To learn more or buy tickets, visit

Carefree Desert Gardens Announces Annual Photo Contest

Photo: 2018 First Place winner, “Waterfall” by Doreen Florence

The Town of Carefree is again holding its annual Carefree Desert Gardens Photo Contest, with submissions being accepted beginning Monday, April 1 in several location throughout the Town. Entries vie for the popular “Peoples’ Choice Award” as voted by the public, which will be presented in the Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion Friday, May 10, in conjunction with National Public Gardens Day.

“The Carefree Desert Gardens present a wide array of spectacular photographic opportunities,” shared Mayor Les Peterson. “Opportunities abound — from the exotic desert plants sprinkled throughout to magical sunrises and sunsets; from spectacular mountain vistas to the memorable people who stroll through the Gardens. Take your pick and let your imagination and photographic skills capture a masterpiece!”

Images must be taken within the Carefree Desert Gardens in the Carefree Town Center, with no time constraints on when the images were taken. Photographers are limited to a maximum of three image entries, and all entries must be received no later than Friday, April 26. Submissions will be reviewed by a judging panel, and 12 images will be selected to compete for the “Peoples’ Choice”, with voting taking place at the Desert Foothills Library from April 27–May 5.

Entries may be submitted at The UPS Store, 33689 North Tom Darlington Drive; CVS Photo Counter, 5400 East Carefree Highway.; and at Carefree Town Hall, 8 Sundial Circle, through Friday, April 26. Entry forms are available at each location or may be downloaded at Contest entry is free, and the winning entries will have their images used on future marketing and promotional materials by the Town. See contest entry form for complete rules and usage information.

For more information about the contest, call 480.488.3686 or visit

SMoW Exhibition Features Retrospective of Paul Calle Artwork

“Power to Go” 1969, oil on panel; Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC. Copyright The Calle Family

In celebration of this year’s 50th anniversary of NASA’s successful Apollo 11 mission, Smithsonian Affiliate, Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West (SMoW), opened a new exhibition Paul Calle’s Life of Exploration: From the Mountains to the Moon Feb. 19. This exhibition shares the rich artistry of Calle’s work documenting epic moments in American history including Neil Armstrong’s first step on the moon, pioneers of the West, Major League Baseball World Series games and portraits of famous people including President John F. Kennedy and General MacArthur, among others.

The exhibition, available to the public through Oct. 20, will be on view in SMoW’s 3,550-square-foot Bruner-Messinger Gallery and features a comprehensive range of Calle artworks and artifacts, including a recreation of the artist’s Ridgefield, Conn.-based art studio.

“The Great Moment” c. 1969, oil on masonite; Collection of the Orlando Museum of Art, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. John J. McMullen. Copyright The Calle Family

This retrospective exhibition — the first-ever major showing of the artist’s work — traces the career of American artist Paul Calle (1928-2010), who was best known for drawing and painting the historic American West featuring mountain men, fur traders and Native Americans, as well as NASA artwork and postage stamp designs including the iconic 1969 First Man on the Moon artwork and stamp.

While traveling in the American West for many years, Calle established friendships with Native Americans and observed some of their events and ceremonies. Early in his journeys, he witnessed a Hopi ceremonial dance, and he always remembered that moment, which shaped how he painted and depicted the Native American people throughout his entire career. Calle sought to honor their lives and culture through his artworks.

Calle was also an official NASA artist for many decades. In 1962, he was chosen as one of the original eight artists of the newly established NASA Art Program, with a mission to chronicle history and space exploration through the eyes of artists. Calle artistically covered pre-launch activities at Cape Canaveral, aircraft carriers picking up astronauts in the ocean, lift-offs and more across all NASA missions from Gemini to Apollo. His detailed paintings and powerful drawings became synonymous with the NASA program.

The exhibition is summed up in a quote from Paul Calle in the book Celebrating Apollo 11, The Artwork of Paul Calle written by son Chris Calle and published in 2009,

“I have always likened the image of mountain man John Colter, his moccasin-clad foot first stepping on the newly fallen snow of the Yellowstone valley, to the moon boot of Neil Armstrong, stepping in the dust of the moon’s surface at the Sea of Tranquility…two worlds apart, yet each at the edge of a new frontier…”

The exhibition will include objects on loan from the Smithsonian Institution, among other museums and collections.

SMoW is located at 3830 North Marshall Way in Scottsdale. For additional information, call 480.686.9539 or visit

Mayors Proclaim March 2 ‘Dr. Seuss Day’ at the Library

Cave Creek Mayor Ernie Bunch and Carefree Mayor Les Peterson at the Proclamation signing.

‘Storytime’ events to be held throughout the month

Carefree Mayor Les Peterson and Cave Creek Mayor Ernie Bunch signed a joint proclamation declaring Desert Foothills Library’s commitment to children’s literacy and promoting reading in our community in honor of Dr. Seuss’s Birthday.

March 2 is Dr. Seuss’s 115th birthday, and Desert Foothills Library will celebrate throughout March with a full month of Dr. Seuss themed programs. Programs will include the March 2 Birthday Party at 2pm and Saturday morning “storytime” each Saturday March 9–30 at 10:30am. These storytime events will each feature a special guest, such as the Phoenix Herpetological Society, Cave Creek Firefighters, green eggs and ham breakfast with Carefree Mayor Les Peterson, and Mother Goose Reads Dr. Seuss. All events are free and take place at Desert Foothills Library, 38443 North Schoolhouse Road, Cave Creek.

In addition to support of Carefree and Cave Creek mayors, March’s programs are sponsored by Arizona nonprofit First Things First and local family Diana and Richard Deely.

For additional information, call 480.488.2286 or visit

Supporting the Arts Never Tasted Better

2019 Burger Battle and more

The Scottsdale League for the Arts, which was formed in 1978, is a nonprofit volunteer organization that support artists, arts programs and arts education by presenting food-oriented fundraising events throughout the year. The League awards all net funds raised to a variety of arts focused organizations through a grant program each summer. This year’s grant funding supports thousands through the 25 selected organizations, serving at-risk youth, hospitalized children, young composers, aspiring playwrights and more.

This month, burger aficionados are invited to cast their vote in the People’s Choice competition at the 2019 Burger Battle. Guests at this all-inclusive event (21 and over) will enjoy unlimited burger tastings, fries, milkshakes and beer; live music, lawn games and more. Restaurant contenders also compete for a Golden Ticket to the World Food Championships and title of “Best Burger” through an anonymous presentation to a panel of celebrity judges and culinary experts. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Scottsdale League for the Arts.

Also this month, join the League for its newest event, Mixed: A Cocktail Culinary Series, at The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa. See story on page 13. The League’s premier event, the Scottsdale Culinary Festival, is the longest-running festival of its type in the nation and will be held April 13–14 at Scottsdale Civic Mall. The weekend tasting festival features more than 35 restaurants and 18 live local bands, national music acts, beer garden, chocolate and wine sampling, spirits tasting, family zone and more.

The 2019 Burger Battle will be held March 22, 7–9:30pm, at Scottsdale Waterfront at Southbridge, 7135 East Camelback Road. VIP tickets are $85 for private lounge seating and bar, and early entrance at 6pm. General admission starts at 7pm and costs $65. Tickets may be purchased online.

For up-to-date information on all Scottsdale League for the Arts fundraising events, visit

Enjoy Two Weekends of Fun During Cave Creek Rodeo Days

Whether you grew up on a ranch or moved here from a big city, you’ll love the excitement of Cave Creek Rodeo Days.

Now in its 42nd year, with Sanderson Ford as the 2019 title sponsor, the rodeo performances will take place at Cave Creek Memorial Arena March 22–24 with three thrilling PRCA rodeo performances featuring top-ranking Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA) and Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) contestants.

This year’s event kicks off Saturday, March 16, starting at 9am with the festive Cave Creek Rodeo Days Parade through town. The fun continues that day at The Buffalo Chip Saloon with Mutton Bustin’ at 1pm. (sign up is at noon). The Buffalo Chip Saloon is also sponsoring the Kick-Off Dance that night.

On Monday, March 18, the Cave Creek Rodeo Days Golf Tournament will take place at Tatum Ranch in Cave Creek.

Ride to and from town to participate in all the exciting events going on and be sure to take the bus Saturday if you are going back to Harold’s Corral for the Official Rodeo Dance March 23.

Rodeo weekend, the town will be packed as locals and visitors take advantage of the free shuttle buses to the rodeo grounds. (Buses run Friday and Saturday only). Gates open at 5pm both Friday and Saturday, March 22 and March 23, with PRCA performances starting at 7:30pm. Gates open Sunday, March 24, at noon with the PRCA performance starting at 2pm. 

Rodeo tickets purchased in advance cost $22; premium seating is also available in the Ranchero Club for $50 with a Yetti Cooler drawing (value of $400) for all who purchase seating in the new Club. Ranchero patrons will also have a finger food and two free drinks included in their ticket purchase. Finally, there is the ultimate experience enjoyed by event sponsors in the Stockman’s Club. Limited tickets are available for $150 per person, which includes a full dinner, drinks (hosted bar) and exclusive seating on the arena for an up-close rodeo experience. The Skybox is also available on Saturday and Sunday for $5,000 includes private bar and food service in Stockman Club. All tickets at the gate will be $5 more per ticket.

While parking at the rodeo arena is free, taking the free shuttle bus from town is easy, plus save $3 when purchasing tickets on the bus. Pick-up locations are in Downtown Cave Creek and also at the corner of Cave Creek Road and Carefree Highway. Check the website for specific locations and departure times. Ride free, with or without a ticket.

To purchase rodeo performance tickets, go to and click the ticket button.

For up-to-date information, please visit, call 480.304.5634 or email

For more coverage on the 2019 Cave Creek Rodeo Days check out our special pull-out edition and events calendar on the centerfold.

Show Some Love for Your Library in February

Matching grant gift to support youth and teen services

Desert Foothills Library announced February as “I Love My Library Month.” The event was initiated in response to an anonymous matching grant gift to raise up to $15,000 to enhance youth and teen educational services and programs at the library.

With just four weeks to raise these funds, the library is asking for donations from supporters and advocates to help rise to the challenge. Desert Foothills Library is a member-supported library that relies on the generosity of its members, community and local donors for funding. The library provides a variety of quality services and programs to the community, making it a valued Cave Creek institution that serves the entire Desert Foothills area.

Everyone is welcomed to visit the Library during the month of February to discover the vast array of services, programs and resources offered to the community. Library staff invites residents to, “Come in, browse the shelves, check out a book or two, sit down and read or attend an event — fall in love all over again.”

Beyond donating, library supporters can make a difference by sharing their enthusiasm about Desert Foothills Library through social media, on Facebook or Instagram (@dflalib). Everyone is invited to share why they love the library and encourage others to donate during “I Love My Library Month.”

Desert Foothills Library is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All donations up to $15,000 will be matched dollar for dollar. Donations are tax deductible.

The library is located at 38443 North Schoolhouse Road in Cave Creek. For additional information, call 480.488.2286 or visit

Cactus Shadows Boys Basketball Heads to State

In mid-January, Cactus Shadows High School (CSHS) Basketball head coach Zach Washut, who is a Cave Creek resident, shared that CSHS Falcons Boys Basketball is having a great season. The team was tied for first in the Region, No. 6 overall in the State, and headed to the State tournament.

“We are currently 15–2 and this is the best start in program history,” said Coach Washut. Last season we went 21–5 and reached the Elite 8 of the state tournament and have built off that momentum.”

This is Coach Washut’s eighth year coaching high school basketball and his second as head coach at Cactus Shadows. Reaching the Elite 8 in the 2017–18 season marked the second time in school history the program has accomplished 20-plus wins and made an Elite 8 run.

Of the players, Coach Washut says, “This team is senior heavy, with nine seniors. We have three guys that average 12 points or more and have a well-balanced attacking team. We’re excited to finish the season strong and make some noise in the state tournament!”

The State tournament playoff bracket will be available Feb. 6 for residents who would like to check out a game and cheer on the Falcons.

Cactus Shadows High School is part of the Cave Creek Unified School District. Follow the District on Facebook @CaveCreekUSD. Learn more about CSHS at or visit to learn more about the Basketball program.

Delicious Inspiration: 2019 Girl Scout Cookie Dessert Challenge


Click a photo to learn more about participating restaurants and their creative desserts.

For the sixth year in a row, chefs from some of the state’s most popular restaurants will use their culinary prowess to re-imagine one of the beloved flavors of Girl Scout Cookies — Do-Si-Dos, Samoas, Savannah Smiles, Tagalongs, Thin Mints and Trefoils — into a custom dessert menu item during the Girl Scout Cookie Dessert Challenge.

Each restaurant will feature its dessert on their menu Feb. 1–28, with a portion of the proceeds from each dessert sold directly supporting Girl Scouting in Arizona.

Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council (GSACPC) is thrilled that both Rusconi’s American Kitchen and The Thumb are taking part again. They’ve been with us for all six years and are major supporters as a result,” says Susan de Queljoe, senior associate of marketing and communications. “It’s also so inspiring to see Original Gravity, PNPK, ZuZu at Hotel Valley Ho, The Herb Box and Lovecraft taking part since they are all either proud woman-owned businesses or have female chefs in the kitchen.”

First-time challengers this year include Babbo Italian Eatery, Jake’s Unlimited and The Phoenix Ale Brewery Central Kitchen.

In year’s past, the Dessert Challenge Champion was decided by dessert sales. This year, the Council is hosting a poll at

But beyond conceptualizing, creating and offering the desserts on their menus, this year the chefs are also partnering with the Girl Scouts on several enhanced elements of the challenge.

“Last year, we got the idea to have a few girls join us in the kitchen to see all the moving parts that goes into both running a restaurant and delivering food to the table,” says chef Lance Whipple of Proof at the Four Seasons Scottsdale Resort Troon North. “It was such a hit that we are hosting ‘Girl Scout Field Trips’ with some local troops this year to really get them excited about the art, math and science behind what we do. Maybe there are even a few future chefs in our mix!”

Similarly, Aioli Gourmet Burgers, ZuZu, PNPK and others will bring girls behind the scenes this cookie season. And several partners are helping troops to set up formal boothing stations outside their venues, allowing our girls to sell cookies in what is the largest girl-led entrepreneurial program in the world: Girl Scout Cookie Season.

All the chefs hope not only to raise funds to support local Girl Scouting, but also to inspire home cooks across Arizona to buy an extra box or two this season to create their own desserts. Girl Scout Cookie season runs through March 3 this year. Locations of cookie booths can be found online at


Cave Creek Unified Education Foundation “Grants the District”

Members of the Cave Creek Youth Education Foundation and CSPress

The Cave Creek Unified Education Foundation (CCUEF) is best known for its yearly showcasing of musical talent, Rock the District, which not only grows, presents and applauds our students’ musical talents, but raises much needed dollars for our classrooms.

Last semester, CCUEF celebrated the Cave Creek Unified School District (CCUSD) teachers whose grants were funded with Grant the District and brought along members of the CCYEF (Cave Creek Youth Education Foundation) and two reporters from CSPress (Cactus Shadows High School’s award winner student-run newspaper). The annual Grant the District event has a CCUSD school bus traveling to the schools of the teachers receiving grants. Teachers and their classes are brought to the front of the school and surprised by the CCUEF Trustees who jump off the bus with a giant check, balloons and flowers. This year, a student group from Cactus Shadows High School — CCYEF, also rode the bus, along with a CS Press reporter and photographer and local dignitaries. Here are the 2018 winners:

Ms. Cardin, Ms. Taylor and Ms. Steward (Black Mountain Elementary) $2,302 for kindergarten Chromebooks

Ms. Hendrie (Lone Mountain Elementary) $2,250 for preschool

Ms. Camarasa (Desert Willow Elementary) $2,500 for El periodico

Ms. Bayless (Desert Willow Elementary) $2,268 for iPads for the art studio

Ms. Kerschbaum (Desert Sun Academy) $2,500 for “Don’t Put Your Health in a Pickle”

Ms. Stumpo and Mr. Nielson (Sonoran Trails Middle School) $1,000 for French 1 & 2 library

Ms. Lindstrom, Ms. Dahlke, Ms. Watts and Ms. D’Ambrosi (Sonoran Trials Middle School) $1,844 for Special Education Technology

Mr. Conklin, Ms. Fauss, Ms. Knuteson, Ms. Petrine, Ms. Skinner and Ms. Spiess (Sonoran Trails Middle School) $2,500 for adding technology to the Science lab.

CCUEF’s four pillars are: Classroom Supplies (including Technology); Music and the Arts; Health and Wellness; and International Learning.

Superintendent Burdick said, “CCUEF is a group of dedicated, hard-working volunteers who only want the best for our students and schools. They make sure each year that teachers have the opportunity to access additional resources for their classrooms and CCUSD is so grateful and lucky to have this small but mighty foundation supporting our mission, Inspire Excellence, through their four pillars.”

For more information on CCUEF, visit their website at

%d bloggers like this: