As we all know, the crown jewel of all U.S. sporting events is the National Football League’s Super Bowl. This weekend, Phoenix, Ariz., hosts Super Bowl LVII featuring the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles. 

SMART Transportation Division’s own Gary Hayes, vice local chairperson of Local 113 (Winslow, Ariz.), played a very special role in making this year’s big game possible. A conductor and engineer for BNSF, Hayes wears many hats. In his case, one of them happens to be a Stetson. 

Hayes has been a member of the Hashknife Pony Express for nine years. This organization carries mail on horseback the 180 miles from Holbrook, Ariz., to Scottsdale, Ariz., in late January or early February every year to culminate with the beginning of the Parada Del Sol Rodeo in Scottsdale — the traditional start to the state’s rodeo season. 

This year, the roughly 30 riders in the Pony Express carried about 20,000 pieces of mail in their three-day run. Unbeknown to the public, these riders had one very special delivery among their haul. The Super Bowl Host Committee had mailed the official Super Bowl LVII football to be hand-delivered to them in Scottsdale. 

When they arrived to the Museum of the West in Scottsdale on the third day of their ride, Brother Hayes was chosen by the captain of the Pony Express to do the honors of delivering the football to Jay Parry, CEO of the Super Bowl Host Committee. 

“This 180-mile special delivery was a little different than my normal run from Winslow, Ariz., to Belen, N.M., but I got it there on time,” Hayes said. 

SMART-TD would like to congratulate Brother Hayes for his recognition, and though he was preparing for a train when we got to talk to him on Saturday, we hope that he has a quick tour of duty so he can get back home in time to watch the game that he helped make possible!

For more information on this story, and on the Hashknife Pony Express itself, please visit the organization’s website via the link below. 

Wade Carlisle, a loyal member of Local 113 (Winslow, Ariz.), died in a non-work-related accident May 1 at age 50.


He was a member of our union for six years, and worked as a trainman/brakeman for BNSF.
He was vocal on worker safety issues and participated in an in-depth interview with the Arizona Daily Sun in 2018 regarding train automation and the importance of maintaining two-person crews.
Brother Carlisle ran for political office in 2018, narrowly losing a race for the Arizona State Senate, District 6 seat by a little more than 1,700 votes to a Republican incumbent. He also was a minister, small business owner, a city councilman and most importantly, the husband to Sandy and father to Emma and Abbey.
“Wade was very passionate about selfless service to his community,” Arizona State Legislative Director Scott Jones said. “One of his most-impressive qualities was how he kept a very calming demeanor when talking with constituents about issues they were very passionate about.”
Brother Carlisle is survived by Sandy, his wife of 22 years, his two daughters, his mother; two brothers; and a number of nieces and nephews.
A viewing and services will be 10 a.m. Saturday, May 8, at First Baptist Church of Holbrook, Ariz. Interment will be at Burton Cemetery in Show Low, Ariz. at 4 p.m. Donations may be made to Youth For Christ of Holbrook online or by check written to Youth For Christ with 31045 in the memo line which can be given to a YFC leader or Pastor Nathan Heller at the service.
His complete obituary can be read here.
SMART Transportation Division offers its heartfelt condolences to Brother Carlisle’s family and friends and his brothers and sisters of Local 113.

SMART TD member and former railroad conductor, William “Butch” E. Young III died at the age of 74 on Feb. 15, 2017, in Chino, Calif. Family was his main priority, and Butch was a loving husband, father and grandfather.
He is survived by his wife Carol; son Mike, daughter-in-law Lisa and their boys Nathan and Garrett; son Danny and daughter-in-law Julie; and his sister Dianne Howard and brother-in-law Jim Howard.
Young served his country in the Vietnam War as a tank commander and rose to the level of sergeant. After his military service, he spent the rest of his life devoted to helping others in both his personal life and in his professional life. Most knew Young as a dedicated union man who loved his job and the people that he worked with.
He served as the UTU local chairperson for Local 113 in Winslow, Ariz., for 15 years and finished his career as the Coastlines general chairperson. He will be missed by his many friends and his family who held him so dearly, and he will be remembered always.
Memorial Services were private. Click here to leave condolences for the family.

UTU members are stepping up to the plate in the fight to preserve collective bargaining rights, Amtrak, workplace safety, Railroad Retirement, Social Security and Medicare by mounting a counter attack on political extremists intent on destroying organized labor and all it has achieved for working families.

Hundreds of active and retired members — individually and through their locals, general committees and state legislative boards — have contributed to the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund and the UTU PAC.

A $10,000 contribution to the Collective Bargaining Defense Fund was made by Amtrak General Committee of Adjustment 769 and delivered by General Chairperson Roger Lenfest.

In Arizona, , the 292 members of UTU Local 113 in Winslow recently almost doubled their monthly PAC contributions. “They have a lot of pride and they talk about the UTU PAC at every meeting,” said State Legislative Director Greg Hynes. “All the officers of this local are dollar-a-day PAC members or more — and some contribute $50 monthly.”

Three of Local 113’s officers made clear why they are active in the UTU PAC:

Alternate Delegate Chris Todd: “PAC is our political voice. Without it we’re just rolling the dice on our future.”

Local Chairperson Jim Polston: “I was able to convey to our membership the importance of PAC. Once you do that our members are proud to help out.”

Treasurer Mike Branson: “I contribute to our UTU PAC because without action there would be no union.”

In the wake of UTU members — in solidarity with brothers and sisters from other labor organizations — demonstrating against state legislative action to destroy organized labor, anti-labor bills have been slowed and education of the electorate and the media has generated public outrage.

In Wisconsin, six state lawmakers who led the fight to strip public employees of their collective bargaining rights now face a recall election; and an injunction against implementation of the legislation was ordered by a state court, with the law now facing state supreme court review.

In Ohio, a petition drive led by union members placed a similar law as Wisconsin’s on hold pending a voter referendum this fall.

The UTU Collective Bargaining Fund is providing assistance to UTU members who are engaging in demonstrations and other voter outreach activities nationwide.

The UTU PAC, meanwhile, is helping labor-friendly state legislative and congressional candidates prepare to mount challenges against political extremists who have declared war on working families and organized labor.

The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that since 2009, 729 anti-labor bills have been introduced in 48 separate states. In Congress, a bill is pending to invalidate a National Mediation Board ruling that representation elections be decided on the number of votes cast, without counting those not voting as having voted against union membership.

A U.S. Supreme Court decision known as “Citizens United” opened the door to unlimited political donations by corporations for political advertising that will accelerate attacks on organized labor. While labor unions cannot match such donations, labor-union PACs can make a difference on behalf of labor friendly candidates; and our primary strength is in getting out the vote — and then casting ballots — on behalf of labor-friendly candidates.

It is well established that union families are more likely to vote in elections, and the combination of PAC contributions to labor friendly candidates, voter outreach by union members and union families casting votes for union-endorsed candidates is a powerful response to corporate interests and their candidates whose intent is to destroy organized labor.

For more information on the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund, click on the link at the end of this article, and please consider increasing your UTU PAC contributions. If you are not yet a UTU PAC member, please consider joining.

As President Mike Futhey has said, “If you believe in something strong enough, you fight for it. Together, in solidarity, we can and will win this fight and emerge stronger than ever.”

PRESCOTT, Ariz. – John Stevenson can relate to the thousands of people who flock to the Peavine Trail each year to take in the imposing views of Granite Dells, the Daily Courier reports.

In a completely different era, Stevenson also spent plenty of time walking and riding through the scenic corridor. Only, for him, the trips were not recreational, and they occurred either alongside a train or on one.

Even though the Peavine route was a regular one for Stevenson in his years as a railroad brakeman on the route, he said the views were not lost on the crew.

“It was beautiful – especially when you got into the Granite Dells area,” said Stevenson, 73, now a retired railroad worker living in Clarkdale. “We had to get out sometimes and walk it. I remember walking alongside the train, looking at the views.”

(Stevenson is an Alumni Association member and retiree of Local 113, Winslow, Ariz.)

Some of those memories likely will be front and center this week when Stevenson and a group of several dozen of his former Peavine coworkers meet for a reunion at a restaurant in Prescott.

“It’s an annual get-together of all of the guys who worked on that railroad,” Stevenson said noting that the Peavine stretched from Phoenix to Williams. He expects about 40 former employees to gather for the event, including a number who still live in the Prescott area.

Stevenson, who retired in 1998 after working for the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad for 44 years, began his career in 1954, when Prescott was still the major base for the line.

For a time in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Stevenson was one of the 50 to 60 people who lived in Prescott and worked on the railroad.

He vividly remembers the day in 1960 when railroad officials announced that the company would build a new route that would bypass Prescott.

“We were pretty despondent,” Stevenson said of hearing the news. “We thought, ‘Prescott’s going to dry up.’ The town just went ballistic.”

Stevenson also recalled the event in one of several historic essays he wrote about his days working on the Peavine. “I felt bad that Prescott would probably become a ghost town, Whiskey Row would dry up, and Buckey O’Neill would ride off into the sunset,” he wrote.

By 1962, the new bypass route through the Drake area was complete, and the Prescott route became a “spur line,” which Stevenson said got less and less use. Ultimately in the 1980s, he said, “God intervened,” and a major storm washed out sections of the Prescott spur, leading the railroad to abandon the line.

Even so, Stevenson maintains that there is value in remembering the Peavine route’s heyday.

“When I was young, I used to love listening to the stories” from the older railroad workers, Stevenson said, noting that some of his early coworkers began their careers when Arizona was a still a territory.

“The Prescott portion of the Peavine was an important part of Yavapai County history,” Stevenson said, adding “there are very few people left” with personal experience working the route.

The Peavine reunion will take place at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the China Buffet Restaurant at 201 Walker Road.

(This item appeared Aug. 9, 2010, in the Daily Courier. Additional information added by UTU editors.)