Photo: Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock

7 Rites of Passage All Arizonans Go Through

by Angela Orlando Dec 5, 2018

Rites of passage usually involve a ceremony after a sacrifice of some sort, and Arizonans’ rites of passage are no different. In fact, ours might seem a little extreme — this is a rough-and-tumble kind of state! Here are seven rites of passage we all have to go through in order to make it as a full-fledged Arizonan.

1. Your first rodeo

Whether you’re roping, riding, or just ringside, all Arizonans have to go to the rodeo. You might sympathize with the angry bull, the cowboys and girls who wrangle them, or the clown. Regardless, once you’ve gone to your first one, you earn the right to say, “This ain’t my first rodeo.”

2. Venomous bites

Not every Arizonan is going to get bitten by a snake, much less a venomous rattler. But all Arizonans who have been here long enough have witnessed a person being bitten, or heard scary stories about killer diamondbacks. And we’ve all had unwanted contact with a scorpion or four — that’s how you learn.

3. Frightful sunburns

As Arizonan children, we were slathered with sunscreen. We played in the sun 300 days a year. But in our early teens, SPF 50 became uncool and we stopped using it, resulting in the inevitable sunburn from hell that we deserved. Those of us who don’t learn from this are destined for facial wrinkles and melanoma.

4. Tequila hangovers

There are hangovers, and then there are Arizonan hangovers. This rite of passage usually occurs on the evening of one’s 21st birthday after downing way too many tequila shots (and maybe having to eat the worm). Unfortunately, we seldom learn from this and often have to go through it again and again to learn our lesson.

5. Parallel parking lessons

Every Arizonan who has passed their driving license practical had to learn how to parallel park. However, everyone knows that there are very few places where we have to parallel park in the state. It would be much more useful to have to demonstrate our four-wheel-drive capabilities.

6. A broken air conditioner

Usually on the hottest day of summer, the air conditioning will fail. Whether it’s in the house or the car, it’ll leave you sweating and cursing. Surviving through this extreme torture is yet another rite of passage that just serves to toughen us up, and perhaps teach us to change the filter once in a while.

7. Dodging bullets

Dodging a drunk person’s bullets that they shoot off at a desert party is a quintessential Arizona experience. Talking down the wasted NRA guy in the chaps as they spray their .45 everywhere is one of the more dangerous Arizonan rites of passage, but it’s the mark of a true desert dweller.

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