Archery Golf in Sunsites

The photo above is courtesy of Edith and Jerry Muir of Sunsites and shows Jerry Muir taking his turn while playing archery golf.

Jerry Muir and John Mathias tried out archery golf after a regular golf tournament in the spring of 1987.

In March 1988, two teams demonstrated the sport in the first organized archery golf tournament in Sunsites. Playing on the small executive course, John Mathias (golf) and Jim Cramer (archery) paired up to play against Troy Wilmoth (golf) and Jerry Muir (archery).

Although the teams were playing for fun, about 50 spectators followed the men around while they played.

If you have photos or stories to share about Sunsites, please email them to

Published in: on January 11, 2012 at 9:49 pm  Comments (2)  

It’s Sunsites’ Anniversary Year!

The Sunsites golf course attracts migratory ducks and birds. Ray Harrison goes out every evening to feed the resident ducks and the "winter visitor" ducks.

This is it. This is the year for Sunsites to celebrate fifty years.
I want to say thank you to everyone who has subscribed to this blog and for your support.
The Pearce and Sunsites book has exceeded expectations. Now the Sunsites Memory Project has begun work on the Volume II book that picks up where Harry O’Neil’s book The Land Before Horizon leaves off.
Every day I look around Sunsites, and I give thanks for the wonderful life I have here and the small moments that make a difference.
How special to drive, walk, or bicycle down our quiet streets and to have everyone speak and wave and call you by name!
Mary Adams, our bank manager, and her staff go out of their way to provide space for history exhibits and for book signings. Our Great Western Bank makes such a difference in our lives. It’s not just a bank, it’s a gathering place…and even doggie customers are welcomed with dog biscuits.
Our postmaster Bill Bothman and his staff give a personal service that you rarely find in a post office. Another gathering place, the post office is the place to head when you have a question. Check out the Sunsites Community Association’s popular bulletin board next to the post office building, and visit with everyone who comes by.
The community library draws people from all over the Sulphur Springs Valley. Our librarian Louise Sirois, along with volunteers and the Friends of the Library, has created one of the best little libraries in the area.
Activities that range from exercise classes to BINGO fill our beautiful community center from morning to night. The adjacent Stronghold Area Recreational Park hosts ball tournaments and has a beautiful playground.
Our excellent fire department and highly trained EMTs give us a sense of security, and the community just completed our brand new heliport.
We are so fortunate to have our wonderful small businesses. You’re instantly recognized when you walk in the door.
Our golf course, designed for the enjoyment of the entire village, has endured through good times and bad. With its trails and ponds and green spaces, it attracts winter visitors from around the globe, and migratory ducks and birds join our year-round feathered residents.
You can help us celebrate Sunsites’ fiftieth anniversary by posting comments here or by sending photos and memories to
I hope to hear from you, and thank you for your support.
Anna Nickell
Sunsites Memory Project

2011 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,200 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 37 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Published in: on January 2, 2012 at 8:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Book Signing Debut

The Pearce and Sunsites authors greet their first customer.

We authors couldn’t have asked for nicer weather for the first book signing for “Pearce and Sunsites” at Sunsites’ St. Jude’s Catholic Church Festival on Saturday, Oct. 29.
Standing, from left, are authors Naaman Nickell, Anna Nickell and S.M. “Susan” Ballard with our first customer of the day.
Susan was also signing her books. View her website at
If you would like to purchase a signed copy of the Pearce and Sunsites book, and you live outside of the Sunsites area, contact me at
We’ll be having more book signings in and around Sunsites.
Old Pearce Preservation Association will sell books from their booth at Old Pearce Heritage Days on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Published in: on November 1, 2011 at 10:51 pm  Comments (1)  

Why Is the Pearce Post Office in Sunsites?

In 1967 the Pearce post office moved to Frontage Road in Sunsites.

This photo of the Pearce Post Office was taken by John Pearce in the early sixties.

When did the Pearce Post Office move to Sunsites?

Heres’s the answer to an earlier trivia question.
The Pearce United States Post Office relocated to Sunsites and opened its doors on January 16, 1967.
According to Horizon Corporation literature, the growing population in Sunsites, combined with the need to replace outdated equipment, brought about the move.

The new building was stocked with new equipment. Gladys McLeon continued to serve as Pearce post mistress, a position she had held since 1934.

Published in: on October 7, 2011 at 12:13 am  Leave a Comment  

Remembering Billie Lally

Billie, far right, and her friends enjoy the sun in Sunsites.

One of Sunsites’ pioneers passed away on August 4, 2011. Billie typified the type of unique personalities who gravitated to our small village in the sixties and seventies. She and her first husband “Mac” McDonnell moved to Sunsites in 1970.
Although she grew up on the Mather family homestead in Montana, she was not content to let life pass her by. She rode in Montie Montana’s Wild West Show before she enered the Women’s Army Air Corps in World War II. She and “Mac” moved to Sunsites from Maryland.
Once she moved to Sunsites, she quickly jumped into the busy life of socializing and volunteering. She trained to become a volunteer EMT for the fire department, and she served on nearly every board from the library board to the homeowner’s association to the cemetery board.
She and her second husband John Lally were honored for their work with the Lion’s Sight and Hearing Foundation.
Billie was my mentor and my muse. She introduced me to people I might never have met on my own. She never grew tired of taking car rides down back roads and looking at the mountains and the skies around us.
It was hard-working people like Billie, most of whom are now gone, who understood the meaning of “community” and of community service and who created the foundation for Sunsites.

Published in: on September 1, 2011 at 8:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Magical Day in Sunsites

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It seemed like everyone in Sunsites crowded into the building that was once the Sunsites Community Center to enjoy ice cream sundaes, to view history displays, to hear music by Frank and Anni and especially to meet Apolino and Bibi.

Published in: on July 12, 2011 at 11:25 pm  Comments (1)  

Magicians Apolino & Bibi To Pay Tribute To Howard Shonting

Apolino & Bibi

There’s magic in the air this week in Sunsites.
A very special young couple is arriving to grace our village with their generosity and their talent.
Until the Sunsites Memory Project contacted them, they had never heard of Sunsites or of Howard Shonting.
With their amazing sense of adventure, they are coming here to pay tribute to a man who was equally generous and talented.
We look forward to rewarding them with Sunsites’ own special hospitality. We can’t offer them payment for their time, but we hope to give them wonderful memories, lots of applause, and a brief moment of fame.
Please tell them “thanks” in person at their performance on Sunday, July 10th, or take a moment to view their websites: and

Published in: on July 4, 2011 at 6:33 am  Leave a Comment  

Howard Shonting, a Sunsites Tradition

When Howard Shonting arrived in Sunsites from New York, he brought his magic with him. Not only was he a well-known performing magician and entertainer, he was a skilled and articulate businessman. He led the citizens of Sunsites through many accomplishements, including winning an Action Arizona cash prize of $10,000, awarded to Sunsites for community-wide improvements. He also was one of the primary leaders of the very popular Way Off Broadway group that entertained audiences all over Southeastern Arizona.
On Sunday, June 10th, magicians Apolino and Bibi will perform on the same stage where Shonting so frequently stood to entertain his Sunsites friends. This special tribute is part of the countdown to Sunsites’ fiftieth anniversary, sponsored by the Sunsites Memory Project.

Published in: on July 4, 2011 at 6:19 am  Leave a Comment  

Sunsites book on Amazon

Check it out!
The Pearce and Sunsites book is now available for pre order on Amazon. Tell your friends and spread the word.

Published in: on June 10, 2011 at 4:09 pm  Leave a Comment