Henry Darrow at the 2009 High Chaparral Reunion
It's a fan-run event, not for profit, and so it's focused on forming a personal connection with the HC guests. When you attend you help bring all the special folks who made the show back home for a reunion, and they genuinely appreciate being our guests.
This is your chance to meet the artists who brought the Cannons, Montoyas and Bunkhouse Boys to life! Past guests include Henry Darrow (Manolito Montoya), Don Collier (Sam Butler), the late Bob Hoy (Joe Butler), Rudy Ramos (Wind), Ted Markland (Reno), and Kent McCray and Susan McCray (producer and casting) —along with a long list of guest stars, production and crew members.
It's a true reunion for the cast and crew, and a one of a kind time for fans of the show to meet their heroes. The weekend is filled with one-on-one time with the stars, backstage stories, watching episodes with the people who MADE them (imagine getting to hear exactly what happened when the script was shot, told by the person who was right there), question and answer time, dinner with the cast, camaraderie and fun.
Cast and crew at the 2009 High Chaparral Reunion
A highlight is the Reunion at the Ranch at the original Cannon ranch house, located at Old Tucson Studios. During the 2009 Reunion an unbelievable number of former HC family came to meet fans, reminisce and marvel at the hundreds of people on the set. "It's just like the old days," was heard often. Since the house still stands, we lucky fans still get to visit the real ranch, right where the show was filmed. It's a unique experience and one you won't forget.
With beautiful uncut episodes, photo and autograph sessions (free hugs are frequent all weekend), new friendships with other fans and the stars of the show, a trip to the special Halloween event 'Nightfall at Old Tucson', and much more, it's a chance to make new memories, new friends, and celebrate your favorite western, The High Chaparral.
In the mid-90’s a group of Western TV fans chatted online in Yahoo’s groups, sorting themselves out into areas of interest. The High Chaparral Discussion Group (HCDG) and High Chaparral Fan Fiction groups were small but retained a longstanding love of the show.
Bob Hoy at the 2005 High Chaparral Reunion
In early 2003 two visionary HCDG members decided it was time for cyber-friends to meet in person. Denise Lynch and Denise Billen-Meija planned a fan meeting at Old Tucson’s HC ranch set, hoping a few others from the HCDG would join them. “Denise Lynch knew Bob Hoy and asked him about it,” recalls Denise Billen-Meija, who ran The High Chaparral Reunion from 2003-2007. “He suggested we meet in Los Angeles and said he’d bring a few of ‘the guys’ for brunch. We thought about it for maybe three nanoseconds. Who would want Tucson instead of our heroes?”
With Bob Hoy on board and enthused, plans accelerated quickly. “It was Bob who suggested The Sportsmen’s Lodge,” Billen-Meija said. “He said everyone knew it and they did a great Sunday brunch. I think people don’t know everything Bob did to create that first reunion.” As Bob contacted celebrities fan excitement grew. Andy Klyde gave permission to use the show’s name and suggested David and Rose Dortort attend.
The High Chaparral Reunion was now a reality.
Andy Klyde and Denise Billen-Meija at the
2003 High Chaparral Reunion
Denise Billen-Meija ran three successful Reunions in 2003, 2005 and 2007, each larger than the last. The Sportsmen’s Lodge, a history-filled Hollywood gathering spot, became the official home of the HC Reunion, with a weekend culminating in an afternoon brunch with the stars, production crew and anyone associated with the show.
Denise and her committee defined many Reunion staples – meeting other HC fans, viewing uncut episodes, good food shared with the cast and crew. Most importantly, her vision of a time for fans to honor and thank the talented artists who created The High Chaparral set the standard for all future events.
Fans at the
2003 High Chaparral Reunion
But after the 40th Anniversary Reunion in 2007 it was time for the founder and chief organizer to pass the baton. Planning for the next event started almost as soon as one ended and the details were all-consuming. “I promised my family last year that I would not do any more,” Billen-Meija said.
Fans and celebrities were asking – what about 2009? Penny McQueen helped Denise manage invitations for the ’07 event and she was publishing The High Chaparral Newsletter. “It obviously couldn’t be allowed to stop, and I’ve got project management experience so I thought with the right people it could be done. I’d never organized an event like this but I knew I had good people willing to work so I closed my eyes and jumped in.”
The good help was a dedicated committee – Ginny Shook, Rusty LaGrange, Tanja Kostanstaki, and Marian Panter. The team looked at location first. “Since the fans pay for everything, including the guests, we ran a survey and asked them where they wanted to go. The answer was unmistakable. Tucson. Let’s go home to the ranch.”
At the 2009 Reunion, Henry Darrow (Manolito Montoya) studies vintage cast photos on The High Chaparral ranch set, Old Tucson Studios.
Destination Tucson 2009 continued many High Chaparral Reunion traditions. “That was important to us. Honoring the cast and crew, special one on one time with the stars, showing uncut episodes, fans meeting each other and forming friendships. We wanted to include all of those things.”
Tucson and especially Old Tucson provided new opportunities for special events. “We had newspaper and TV coverage, and Tucson still remembers High Chaparral. There were well over a hundred people at the ranch set! Like the old days when the show was filmed – very exciting for everyone and the cast loved it. For the fans it was an emotional moment, walking up the hill to the ranch, seeing the stars gathered at the Cannon ranch house.” Fans came from all over the world; such faraway places as Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, England, Australia and New Zealand to share in the celebration of this special show.
For 2011 The High Chaparral Reunion continued to grow and mature. Before the Reunion Penny McQueen, project manager, said, “Early indications are attendance will increase, Old Tucson is gearing up to welcome us back, the fans and stars can't wait. We’ve learned a lot and are planning improvements, better ways of handling things. There are some surprises in store. And we’re looking at what we can do that’s special for our sponsors, because without them the Reunion wouldn’t happen.”
Copyright © 2010. The High Chaparral Reunion, Inc
"Admittance to The High Chaparral Reunion is available on a paid basis - not open to the general public."