Cave Creek, Ariz., is the kind of bedroom community where there are more saguaro cactuses than people.
When last month's Town Council race ended in a two-way tie, Mayor Vincent Francia thought it should be settled cowboy-style: "The two candidates would assemble downtown Cave Creek at High Noon and go at it with paintballs."
Instead they turned to Arizona law, which says tied local elections may be determined by chance: rolling dice, flipping a coin or cutting cards.
Cave Creek Magistrate George Preston, dressed in his black robes, shuffled the deck of cards Monday night that would finally decide the race. About 60 people crowded council chambers, including a few lawyers who had hashed out two pages of rules for the drawing.
The candidate drawing the highest card would be declared the winner.
"Here's to the good citizens, the town of Cave Creek and a Western tradition," said Thomas McGuire, the incumbent in the race. McGuire drew the six of hearts.
Then challenger Adam Trenk stepped forward for his turn. He pulled the king of hearts, and McGuire politely conceded. Trenk pocketed the card as a keepsake.
"It's a little disheartening that seven months of hard work would be decided by a game of chance," Trenk said. "But I understand that that's the law of the state."
In the end, Trenk said he still felt he had been elected by a vote of the people — with a little help from Lady Luck.
Rene Gutel reports for member station KJZZ.