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post A Special Bunkhouse

November 17th, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:22 am

A Special Bunkhouse

by Penny McQueen

As I work on the complex task of bringing our HC cast, crew and fans home to the High Chaparral I sometimes think about John Cannon.  These days juggling a to-do list that won’t end, managing Sam Butler’s appearances and Wind’s social media/website plus what seems like a thousand other Chaparral tasks….I understand Big John a lot more than I did 45 years ago!

Then there’s the financial responsibility.   After personally guaranteeing contracts and a budget for the Reunion that’s many times larger than my house mortgage I probably would have told Blue ‘no new boots’ too!  

Here’s something that would make Big John’s ledgers fail to balance: the per person registration fee everyone pays doesn’t cover the total cost of the Reunion.   That means without extra cash from somewhere each year we could be in the red…..and cause Big John’s blood to boil.
Why don’t we go belly up?   Sponsors.  Fans who think it’s important the High Chaparral comes home to Tucson.  Fans who believe there’s value in having Manolito Montoya, Sam Butler, Wind, and the man who kept them all together – Big Daddy Kent McCray – in the same room, re-living their HC days.   Fans who still, after almost 50 years, believe in John Cannon’s dream that all people can learn to live together in peace and harmony and who want to see that dream made real, on John Cannon’s ranch, with people from all over the world together as one family.

93% of fans who attend the Reunion are Sponsors.   That’s incredible, and humbling, and all kinds of amazing things.

But even more humbling and amazing is fans who CAN’T attend but still believe in the values of High Chaparral and love it enough to be Sponsors too.   They’ll never set foot on the ranch we get to celebrate, but they still send money.. Every time it happens I’m like Blue – tongue tied and in tears.  What do you say to loyalty, bravery and commitment like that?

When you watch High Chaparral, pay attention to all those bunkhouse boys.  They chose to stand with John Cannon, to make a stand with the ranch because it meant something important.   I think that’s what you say about fans who Sponsor even though they can’t attend.   You say they’re just as heroic as those ranch hands and bunkhouse boys.

I’ve always called these incredible people ‘Non-Attending Sponsors’.   But from now on they’re our Reunion Bunkhouse, and they’re with us every step of the way.

When Big John hired his bunkhouse he told them, “you get $30 a month and chuck.”      We’ve always had just one Sponsorship level of $100 that comes with a list of thank you gifts.  Now there’s a $30 one too, in memory of Big John’s $30 a month wage.  When you join up with the Reunion Bunkhouse you help bring The High Chaparral home to Tucson.

You can also use that $30 to honor someone like a High Chaparral cast member or a relative . Your name and the person you honor will be listed in the program at The High Chaparral Reunion, because I want you to be WITH us there in Tucson, on The High Chaparral.

Don Collier, High Chaparral ranch foreman Sam Butler, was one of the first in line to sign up in honor of Bobby Hoy, his brother Joe Butler.   I’ve got honors for Leif Erickson/Big John Cannon, Don Collier/Sam Butler, Bob Hoy/Joe Butler, and Rudy Ramos/Wind.  But in my book the REAL heroes are the fans who step up, just like the bunkhouse boys, and make sure we get the work done.  You can join the bunkhouseand be a part of The High Chaparral today.

I’ll see you in Tucson,

-Penny .

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