A Snowball’s Chance

Arizona Charlie

Abraham Henson Meadows was born under an oak tree in a snowstorm. After his family moved to Arizona in 1877, he grew into a big-strapping cowboy, standing at six feet six, and competed in Payson’s first cowboy contest in 1884. Five years later, Buffalo Bill Cody saw Tom Horn and Meadows rope in Tucson and offered them both a job with his Wild West show. Horn declined, but “Arizona Charlie” ended up touring the world, eventually launching his own show. When he trekked to the Yukon Territory for the gold rush,
he built the Palace Grand Theatre in Dawson, which is still in operation. After he cashed out, he retired in Yuma, thinking the city’s hot clime would allow him to beat his premonition that he would die as he was born, in a snowstorm. On December 9, 1932, a freak snowstorm hit Yuma, and Arizona Charlie died after operating on his own varicose veins with a pocket knife. He was 73.

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