Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona on January 25, 1983 · Page 41
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Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona · Page 41

Phoenix, Arizona
Issue Date:
Tuesday, January 25, 1983
Page 41
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ALL EDITIONS The Arizona Republic Tuesday, January 25, 1983 1 , ' , xt e,"lft , i i&Zr&t stents' -v1"' yM''-mv,, , Pete SchwepkerRepubhc Bert Sprague walks along Arizona Highway 260 with a dead skunk. His hobby is collecting the animals from roads, taking them home and skinning them. l ts iiWf1 1 $ Retiree follows nose in pursuit of pastime By Sam Negri Republic Staff STAR VALLEY A man who collects dead skunks for the fun of it lives in a large, rectangular box pushed into the side of a hill in Star Valley. This man is Bert Sprague, a former Arizona state treasurer. His real name is Hulbert Y. Sprague, but that would come as a surprise to friends who knew him when he was running cattle. Those friends knew his brand as a, backward BS. "It stands for brown sugar," Sprague said with a mischievous grin. Sprague is 73 years old and Sprague and ms aog, Ranger, stroll across part of his Star Valley ranch, which has a 70-year-old barn retired, but not retiring. He usually is busy skinning skunks or contemplating improvements to his home, a rectangular metal building tucked into the side of a hill. He gradually is covering the house with dirt. Although Sprague lives in the country about 5 miles east of Payson, there are few live skunks around his property. "There are too many dogs around here," he said, explaining the unusual scarcity. Rather than reduce the dog population, Sprague goes out and collects skunks off the road during his frequent trips between Star Valley and Payson. "I get 'em off the road, and I . n)iJiiii.n.iiiiinuiinmni.jj m mwmmmmmimgggmmim uiiiiiiim wimp murium L ; hlfMJi&li J A l. r : MSg bring 'em home and skin 'em," he S; T -i .&i)f jclfx?; "Ld?K?.mX In6!1?7!8 ! Sprague, 73. is a former Arizona state treasurer and rancher, but today Z Jt ; in a bwl of tomato juK h6 SpendS his time C0"eC,in9 Skunk pel,S and WOrkin9 on his houSe-The acidity kills the smell." He then leaves the pelt on his front porch, which sometimes smells as though the tomato juice has not done its job very well. And what does Sprague do with the dried pelts? "Nothing," he replied. Sprague also has lived in Tucson and in Phoenix when he served as state treasurer. His time in state government does not seem to have made a deep impression on him. "I think I was elected in 1958. 1 forget who was governor at the time," he said. While living in Phoenix, Sprague maintained a ranch in Star Valley for many years. But he gave up ranching a few years ago. His wife suffered from arthritis, and, he said, "I couldn't ride two horses at the same time." -.Skunk, B7 jJEarth even,ualy Wl" cover ' lne ron' ' 'hs house Sprague built on his property.

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