Submitted By Don Decker, Yavapai-Apache Public Relations
You’ve seen them down the highway–trucks that pick up disabled vehicles and are hauled off for repairs. Perhaps you may have witnessed a repo of car getting picked up next door to you on the rez. Regardless of any situation with a vehicle that doesn’t run, A.R.T. (Arizona Recovery Towing) can haul away any obstinate mechanical beast.
Meet Henry Smith of the Yavapai-Apache Nation who heads the operations for A.R.T. Smith is the son of Norman and Priscilla Smith who own A.R.T.
Now in operation since 2011 when the company was bought out, this family operation has met with some great successes. There are a total of 7 trucks with 5 roll back flat bed tow trucks that can literally pick up a vehicle.
Since the interstate goes through Camp Verde, its not unusual for A.R.T to receive roadside assistance. “If they break down, they call us and we can take the customers anywhere such as body shops or to their residence at their request,” says Smith.
Interestingly, if one looks for an auto tow in Camp Verde on the cell phone, A.R.T. is the very first towing company that shows up and that pleases Smith.
A.R.T. is opened 24/7 and it’s a perfect place to work with a total of 8 employees. Of these, there are 6 Indians working for the company.
“We do semis with the 2 wreckers that can haul an 18 wheeler,” said Smith. In addition, there are 2 medium duty wreckers that can pull smaller RVs. And the rest are the flat-bed trucks that makes for easy pickup.
Smith said that A.R.T.’s recognition is so widespread that when he was on vacation in Alaska this past year, a person from out of the crowd recognized Smith instantly recalling A.R.T.’s response to a broken down vehicle on I-17 near Camp Verde.
Smith says persistence pays off and that one has to believe in what one is doing and that it takes lots of time and effort (to make a success out of a business). “It’s something that I learned from my mom and dad,” says Smith. The elder Smiths own a service station in Camp Verde and a smoke shop in Middle Verde across from the casino.
Other ventures proposed
It is this kind of persistence that drives the young Smith to turn up other stones of opportunity such as his intended sports arena he is proposing to the Nation’s council.
The sight that he is looking at is where the Clover Leaf Pivot Fields are located some 2 miles southwest of the Nation’s administration building.
Smith has had 2 meetings with the council in 2014 and has a revised plan that may address some of the concerns of the tribal council. “We are asking for a long-term lease-that is all we are asking for” said Smith.
In the fall 2014 meeting with the council, Smith was informed that the land in question for the sports arena was planned for the housing program of the Nation.
Now, Smith has the support of the engineering department program of Northern Arizona University to assess the viability of building the sport arena with the assistance of engineering majors to develop a plan for the sports arena and to conduct market surveys for the business venture.
Smith said that the town of Camp Verde had already approved a .01 tax years ago to support a similar venture but the completion has been placed on hold to see what the Yavapai-Apache Nation is going to do.
“Basically, it will be 4 softball fields back to back with portable fences that will come down to accommodate larger events such as concerts, biking events, and car shows,” envisions Smith. Along with that, a Go-kart track and 2 rodeo championship arenas that will host national events.
“By working closely with the Native American Softball Association and getting the sanctions together and let them know what we’re building and give them the road map,” said Smith. “These teams can get out of Phoenix because it is very expensive for them to lease the fields there. It’s too much for them and they can’t afford a better rate and still be competitive”.
Smith said there are hundreds of independent teams traveling the country and by holding the national qualifiers tournaments on the Nation’s lands, it would draw large attendances. “The tribe can go in and not only do they gain from the large paying crowds but get that indirect revenue (through taxes).”
It’s an ambitious economic plan for Smith as he believes thousands will be drawn to the new sports arena that will feature 30/60-team tournaments. He mentioned the booking of hundreds of rooms with the Nation’s new hotel at the casino.
Smith is the varsity softball coach for Camp Verde High School.
The other advantages of the sports arena is that the reclaimed water from the holding tanks that are located near the proposed area and from the Tunlii housing collection pond would be utilized to water the grass fields and other indigenous plants that will be planted around the sports fields. Smith said that by obligating the reclaimed water, the Nation would have one less thing to worry about.
Other benefits of the sports arena include employment for field groomers and groundskeepers that will tend to the grassy fields and indigenous plants that will require attention.
“We need new money in Verde Valley and by putting on these events, we will bring in new people,” said Smith. He is almost sure that the infusion of new capital into the new ventures proposed will increase the earning income of workers in the area and have impact the casino as larger crowds will come to the new sports arena.