March 3rd, 2015
by Ginny Shook
The deep, dark secrets of Penny McQueen and The High Chaparral Reunion.
Did that title get your attention? Of course it did. Usually a story that reveals deep, dark secrets is just the oil on the fire of gossip. We all like to hear a little gossip, some insider news, the “truth” behind the story. Even the best of us, who try to focus on substantiated truth, can’t help it. We’ve learned there are more than two sides to every story. We can pick and choose what we want to believe.
This is my truth.
Penny McQueen wears many hats. She is a High Chaparral fan, like you and me. Not the biggest fan, or the most important fan, just a lover of the TV show, its values and the people that created it. She started watching the show when it first began. She joined the HCDG (High Chaparral Discussion Group – the precursor to Faceook) in about 2003, about the time that I did. We “sat” on the sidelines and let the more-experienced fans do all theposting until we got brave enough to pipe in now and again. For a long time, the older members thought I was another member in disguise. Then they thought Penny and I were the same person in disguise. Talk about gossip and rumors! Maybe we did seem like two people with the exact same thoughts and feelings. Sisters separated at birth! Regardless of the gossip, it was fun to be online with other High Chaparral fans and indulging in discussions about the episodes. And Penny and I became great friends.
With the help of an HCDG member, I took over Don Collier’s website. It was luck. It was fate. It’s a long story and this isn’t about me. I created a website for Bob Hoy. Don introduced me to him. I attended a festival with them and offered to take over their bookings and start a photo selling business. Bobby brought Linda, Henry, Rudy and Ted along for the ride.
She did this as a fan who loves The High Chaparral, and who, having experienced first hand what it was like to get to know the cast and crew, wanted to extend that experience to all the other High Chaparral fans.
The amount of work was tremendous. Her life revolved around it. The fear that the event would end up in the red and she would end up paying out of her own pocket was a very real possibility. It continues to be – it is not a money-maker but was not
created to be. Still, think of the love for the fans that she must have to dedicate all her free time and a lot of money upfront for the reunion to continue.
There were many fans back then, and still are today, that take a look at the well-run event and think it must be easy and effortless. Its not. In the beginning, Penny did most of the work herself. Over the years she has gotten better about delegating to other fans who get that this is a business. Just ask them how much work it is!
Yes, The High Chaparral Reunion is a business. It’s incorporated. There are contracts to be signed, and money needed to back up the promises those contracts make. Penny would love to make special considerations for all the fans that need it. It kills her to say no. But business is business, and without the rules that have had to be put in place thereunion would not be successful.
How does she manage? By being open, and fair, and always telling the truth, and treating everyone the same – with loving kindness. And that’s regardless of how she is treated in return.
Thank goodness we have Penny to put on The High Chaparral Reunion and make it an outstanding event year after year. Thank goodness she is my friend.