July 28, 2009

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Zip It: Winslow, Ariz. 86407

by Andy Krauss | Special to Lacrosse Magazine Online

A Winslow (Ariz.) lacrosse player poses next to the statue of Don Henley in new apparel after the program won a makeover contest sponsored by Great Atlantic and Warrior.

 © Gordon Beyer

Almost 40 years after the Eagles put Winslow, Ariz., on the map, Gordon Beyer is working on putting his town on the lacrosse landscape.

Before Beyer put his stamp on Winslow, the town of slightly less than 10,000 hardly knew the difference between a lacrosse stick and a popsicle stick. Since 2005, the fast-talking native Long Islander has been working hard to change that.

Beyer played the game growing up in the 1980s at Smithtown (N.Y.) High School, Fishburne Military School in Virginia and on the club squad at The Citadel. He moved his family to Winslow in 1996 to become a state highway patrolman.

In 2005, his 8-year-old son Kurt became curious of his STX X2 wooden sticks that were hanging on the wall. Gordon took him into the backyard, and he immediately knew that he had a monster on his hands.

That fall, Beyer decided it was time to bring the sport he loves to Winslow. He created the Winslow Warriors Lacrosse Club, which has been made up primarily of boys ranging from eighth to 12th grade.

He started with 10 boys practicing two or three times a week wherever they could. Although the other parents were novices of the game, they were more than willing to help out in any way they could.

The community spirit of Winslow has helped the club survive and grow over the years, reaching as many as 23 players on the team. In the spring of 2008, the schedule grew to 17 games, mostly in tournaments. The Warriors took on local teams from Flagstaff and Scottsdale, as well as out-of-state clubs from New Mexico and Utah.

With the urging of his wife, Catherine, Beyer entered his club in a contest, sponsored by Great Atlantic and Warrior, to win a free “makeover.” They took pictures in his backyard in which players put paint buckets on their heads and substituted lacrosse heads for fishnets and catcher’s masks.

Beyer then took a Sharpie and wrote a100-word essay on a McDonald’s cheeseburger wrapper as to why they deserved the makeover.

Sure enough, Winslow won the grand prize consisting of 30 jerseys, 30 pairs of shorts, two cases of game balls, 30 helmets, 30 bags and 30 performance t-shirts.

Beyer dreams that the sport he loves will one day turn become a sanctioned high school sport in Winslow with local recreational leagues to boot, but knows that there is a ways to go. With continued persistence, he knows it can happen.

Quick Sticks

Zip Code: 86407
Destination: Winslow, Ariz.
Location: Northeast Arizona on I-40, just 53 miles east of Flagstaff
Elevation: 4,850 feet
Population: 9,832
US Lacrosse Members: 23
Lacrosse Contact: Gordon Beyer
Record High Temperature: 109
Record Low Temperature: -18
Claim to Fame: If you’ve turned on a radio, chances are you’ve heard the song. If not, turn your car radio on the local classic rock station and soon enough, you’ll hear the Eagles’ 1972 hit that propelled them into rock and roll immortality.
“Take it Easy” brought Winslow to the consciousness of the nation almost 40 years ago and is still what the town is best known for today. The song was written by Jackson Browne and the Eagles’ Glenn Frey, who is the main vocalist.
The first four lines of the second verse may be the song’s most recognizable. They’re certainly the most important lines for Winslow.

Well, I’m a standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona
I’m such a fine sight to see
It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford
Slowin’ down to take a look at me.

The town has since erected a bronze statue at the corner of North Kinsley Avenue and West 2nd Street in downtown Winslow. It depicts a man leaning against a lamp post with an electric guitar. Behind him is a mural painted on a large wall. A storefront is depicted in the mural, featuring a window that shows a flatbed Ford, driven by a blonde-haired woman in its reflection. An actual red flatbed Ford stays parked on the side of the street, sans the girl taking a look. It’s all part of “Standin’ on the Corner Park.”

Every fall, the town hosts a “Standin’ on the Corner Festival” at the end of September. It features Eagles tribute bands among other musical acts.

Winslow was once a major stop on Route 66, before the construction of Interstate 40.

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