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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Tombstone: ‘Too tough to die’ or long dead ?

    Rattlesnake Crafts, owned by John and Sandy Weber is a southwestern gem 15 minutes outside of Tombstone. Surrounded by a myriad of desert relics, it is a must-see.
    ‘Rattlesnake Crafts,’ owned by John and Sandy Weber is a southwestern gem 15 minutes outside of Tombstone. Surrounded by a myriad of desert relics, it is a must-see.

    Tombstone might as well be a story from “”Goosebumps.”” From robot cowboys to corny cemeteries, the town has all the makings of an entertaining children’s horror novel. I initially got this impression from the very first tourist attraction I encountered in town, the legendary Boothill Graveyard.

    As I stepped out of the car I was shocked by zombies aimlessly wandering to and fro, er, I mean the old people – a lot of them. For some reason Tombstone seems to be where people come to die. Not once during my time in town did I notice someone that appeared to be under the age of 1,000. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the elderly, but these were the spiteful kind that wonder what you’re doing being so damn young.

    The first thing you realize when entering the graveyard is that it is indeed legendary, in a humorous sense. This epic cemetary consists of multiple piles of rocks to indicate where bodies are laid. At the head of each rock pile is a respectful polyvinyl chloride pipe with a small piece of wood nailed to it. Each piece of wood displays an often questionable name, like “”Stinging Lizard,”” painted in cute wild-west letters.

    Thoroughly entertained by my first stop in town, I continued to the next tourist trap, the O.K. Corral. Historically known as the place where the Earps shotdown and killed the Clanton gang, the first thing you notice about the corral is the wall. The site is now surrounded by a 10-foot wall. For $5.50 you are allowed to see the place where the gunfight happened, $7.50 if you want to see a live dramatic re-enactment. As far as I’m concerned if you’ve seen one gunfight you’ve seen them all, so I went the cheap route and paid the $5.50.

    At first glance the O.K. Corral is unimpressive. It looks a lot like nothing surrounded by a wall – that is until you notice the stationary figures at the back of the lot. To my delight, I realized that you still get a re-enactment for the reduced price of $5.50. These aren’t just fake cowboys acting out the fight, however, they’re fake humans! At the push of a button a voice drawls out of an intercom narrating the fight as eight robot cowboys come to life. By come to life, I mean they raise their arms when the narrator mentions someone getting shot: still exciting though!

    By this point in the trip I was having so much fun that I found myself drinking. The Longhorn Restaurant features margaritas made with cactus jelly as a sweetener, but all I tasted was the tequila.

    Mildly buzzed, I wandered out to the dusty town to search for more noteworthy sites that college students would be interested in. I found nothing. Instead, I walked around the town merely observing. I feel this is the best way to experience Tombstone. Instead of spending $5 to see the “”World’s Largest Rosebush”” or $20 for a novelty photo of the West, just taking in everything that makes up this preposterous town is a far better trip.

    From the impressive street performers to the sheer novelty of such a ridiculous tourist trap, there is enjoyment to be found. Merely the thought of an entire city based around playing cowboy for ancient tourists is enough for a chuckle.

    If you have nothing to do, $20 for gas and looking for a laugh, Tombstone, just a little over an hour out of town, is a good place to check out.

    Another nearby attraction

    Perhaps cooler than all of Tombstone is a small pale-blue trailer, 15 minutes east of town. After following the rugged, unpaved West Gleeson Road for 20 minutes you’ll find yourself in the middle of nowhere. You will also find a damaged, old, wooden sign pointing out that Rattlesnake Crafts is another two miles down a separate dirt road. At the end of this road you will be met with a startling, albeit frightening, sight – a trailer surrounded by loudly clanging … things. Loads and loads of broken, sharp, strange, crooked, odd, old, antique things hanging off of racks. All of this shit, just blowing in the wind.

    At first glance this seems to be the natural time to turn around and pray that the inbred inhabitants of this hellish place have not noticed your presence. Resist this urge, get out of your car and look around: you will be fascinated. The inhabitants are actually artistic geniuses.

    Upon closer investigation, all of this stuff is relics that have been collected in the surrounding area by the John and Sandy Weber, owner and artists of Rattlesnake Crafts.

    Once you have spent time checking out the myriad of antiquities outside, it is time to head into the trailer to see the main attraction.

    Inside the trailer you can find anything your heart desires covered in rattlesnake skin. I mean anything: knives, swords, pipes, canes, beard trimmers, eye-patches and athletic cups, anything your heart desires.

    Any of these products can be purchased at affordable prices. As the trailer is not generally manned, purchases rely on the honor system – putting money in a wooden box.

    If you are anywhere near Tombstone you must check out Rattlesnake Crafts. The drive is rough and tedious, but well-worth it.

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