One of my favorite things to do in life is read the Sunday newspaper. I have been doing this since I was around 10 years old. I always read the comics first, but that has diminished as most of my favorite comic strips are long since retired. However, in The Arizona Republic, one of the first things I read every Sunday is A True West Moment by the legendary Bob Boze Bell.
Bob was born in Forest City, Iowa in 1946. His father, Allen P. Bell, moved his family to Kingman, Arizona where he immediately opens “Al Bell’s Flying A” on Route 66. When he’s not playing right field for the Odd Fellow Yankees (little league), Bob ices jugs for tips in his father’s station.
During his high school days, the high school baseball coach calls him “Bozo” for running backwards to first and second base in a game with Needles, California. Cruel team mates pick up on this, and shorten the moniker to Boze. It sticks.
In February, 1986, KSLX radio in Scottsdale offers Boze a job to do to the news what Ferdinand Marcos did to the Philippines. “The Jones & Boze Show” is born. Boze spend eight years at KSLX (I was an avid listener to “The Jones & Boze Morning Show”).
In 1999, Boze would take over the legendary True West Magazine. Launched in 1953 by the legendary Joe “Hosstail” Small in Austin, Texas, True West is a popular history publication with a loyal, core readership, and the oldest, continuously published Western Americana publication in the world. Thanks to the proliferation of TV Westerns in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the magazine enjoyed broad circulation (200,000+ newsstand sales). But, as the market and his health started to decline, Joe Small sold out in 1974 and over the next decade, the magazine bounced around the Midwest, finally settling in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Unfortunately, the Oklahoma owners did not have the capital to stay current with the changing times and the magazine began to lose significant market share, as newer, slicker titles such as Cowboys & Indians and American Cowboy came into the marketplace. By mid-1999, the publication, along with three other titles, was for sale, and the current owners came to the rescue. True West Publishing (including assets and trademarked names of True West, Old West, Frontier Times) moved to Cave Creek, Arizona, in October 1999. [SOURCE]
In 2003, the magazine celebrated its 50th anniversary. The year also marked the incorporation of True West Publishing and an increase in the magazine’s frequency to 10 issues. True West now also publishes an annual shopping guide called the Best of the West Source Book.