There are many places on Route 66 that are better known, more flamboyant, historically more important, but my heart has always taken by Bert’s Country Dancing in Valentine, Arizona. I’ve written about it elsewhere on this blog and I never pass up an opportunity to stop, just to reassure myself it’s still there.

I never knew Bert’s Country Dancing when it was open – Bert Denton, the eponymous owner, was gone a decade before I started travelling Route 66 and I’ve missed the very rare occasion on which the bar has re-opened briefly, although even that hasn’t been for years now. But I think Bert would still recognise it all as his place. He wouldn’t approve of the dust gathering on the bar top or the grass growing over the benches out back, but it has changed little since his death nearly a quarter of a century ago. Not much changes around these parts and when it does, it does it very slowly. Why would anyone clear out the bar? It’s not as if the space is needed out here where you never see another soul. And who knows, one day there might be a call for a bit of country dancing in Valentine again.



  1. Was (or is) Valentine a small town or just a place on the map? Where would the clientelle have come from in past times and what sort of folks would they have been, farmers, ranchers, oil people or people travelling through?


    • Nowadays it’s little more than a place on the map, but Valentine once had a post office, several gas stations, a store, two schools (the Indian school and the Red House) and a small motel, the Chief, which was next to Bert’s and closed the day that the interstate opened as well as the 7-V Ranch Resort in Crozier Canyon. However, Valentine has straggled about a bit in its time (as well as having had a couple of names before it was called Valentine in 1910) and the main part of the village was originally where the Keepers of the Wild park is now, a mile or so further east of Bert’s bar.


  2. Great place. I spent a lot of time at Bert’s County Dancing, because Bert was my grandpa. Grandpa Denton would play his fiddle that was held together with a piece of wire and we would all dance. I think the average age of the band must have been 75 to 80 years old. He would make a big fire in the fire pit out back and we would all hang out and enjoy listening to his stories. His legs were so bowed from all the years he spent on a horse it was hard for him to dance but he always made a point to dance with granddaughters. I loved the time I spent there and the great memory at Bert’s County Dancing.

    Liked by 1 person

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