The High Chaparral Celebrates 10 Years of Reunions

Manolito Montoya, Sam Butler and Wind Ride Again with Fans from Around the World
Henry Darrow & Don Collier
Henry Darrow & Don Collier
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* The High Chaparral
* TV Westerns
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* High Chaparral Reunion
* Vintage TV

* Entertainment
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* Tucson - Arizona - US

TUCSON, Ariz. - April 25, 2013 - PRLog -- The High Chaparral Celebrates 10 Years of Reunions

(April 11, 2013, Tucson, AZ)  Members of The High Chaparral television series celebrated 10 years of reunions over the weekend of March 22-24th in Tucson, Ariz.  Penny McQueen, function organizer, said the reunion was a joyful gathering to recognize the impact the show has had on tens of thousands of people over the years.

“The High Chaparral began airing on TV in 1967,” McQueen said, “and we started doing the reunions in 2003.  At first, they were every other year, but this time only a year and half since the last one.  Now, here we are, 46 years later, gathering to remember the show, the actors, the crew, the storylines—the whole program—which made such an indelible mark on all our lives.  Plus now,” she continued, “it’s being shown in syndication on INSP network, which is exposing this landmark series to yet another generation of fans.”

McQueen said approximately 150 attended the three-day event, which featured original cast members Don Collier who played Sam Butler, ranch foreman; Rudy Ramos, who played Wind, a half-white/half-Pawnee Indian in the final season; and Henry Darrow, who played Manolito Montoya, brother to Victoria and brother-in-law to Big John Cannon, played by Leif Erickson.  Darrow has recently released his autobiography, Lightning in the Bottle, co-written by Jan Pippins.

Also on hand were Kent and Susan McCray.  Kent McCray was the show’s production manager and wife, Susan, was involved in casting.  Susan’s father, Oscar-winner Harry Sükman, composed the majority of the show’s Emmy-nominated music.  The McCrays also worked very closely with Michael Landon in Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie and Highway to Heaven.  

Kiva Hoy, widow of renowned stuntman/actor/director Bob Hoy, who played Joe Butler, and Marc Mitzell, nephew of Cameron Mitchell, who played Big John’s brother, Buck, were also on hand.

According to McQueen, some guests came from as far away as Ireland, Germany and New Zealand.  “One of our international guests shared how the show gave her hope as a girl growing up under the regime of Francisco Franco in Spain,” McQueen said.  “Some of the fans’ stories just bring tears to your eyes.  It changed a lot of people’s lives and now, the show seems to have a life of its own still,” she said.

In addition to fans being able to meet, talk, and pose with the guest celebrities at the reunion, the guests of honor held question-and-answer panels, revealing behind-the-scenes stories of practical jokes, production challenges and bloopers.  Rudy Ramos also gave a first live-reading from his new project “Geronimo.”

The Reunion activities also included a visit to Old Tucson Studios near Tucson, Ariz., where much of the show was actually shot.  The original hacienda set still exists, having survived the studio’s fire in 1995.  Even former Old Tucson owner, Bob Shelton, joined in the fun at the event, participating in the question-and-answer panel and attending the Friday night banquet.  

Sondra, from Denton, Texas, said she attended because she watched the show as a youngster from her family’s ranch.  “We were living the life that was realistically portrayed on the show,” she said.  “I fell in love with Manolito Montoya.”  She met Henry Darrow in person at the reunion.  “Manolito put his arm around me. I must have been in shock, because I don't remember it happening,” she said.  She’s already signed up for the 2014 reunion.

M.J. from Houston said she came because the cast really seemed to like each other.  “I got to hear firsthand stories about the fun and work they put into it,” she said. “I wish I had heard about these events years ago so I could have met more of them (cast/crew). It was also fun meeting other fans…A lot of us are staying in touch and planning to go next time, too,” she said.

McQueen has been involved with the cast and crew of the show since 2004.  She thinks of organizing the reunions as a heartfelt project.  “I am a fan for life I’m afraid, and I’m proud of what High Chaparral accomplished, particularly in how it promoted Latino actors at a time when many acting opportunities weren’t open to them.  I’m also proud of how all ethnicities – Latino, Native American - were portrayed with respect on the show, especially at a time when the Civil Rights Movement was at its height,” she said.  “High Chaparral was ahead of its time in minority hiring, casting Latino’s in starring roles, accurately casting minorities as extras, supporting parts and bit players.”  

McQueen said plans are already in the works for the 2014 Reunion which will be held in Tucson, again.  Visit for more information about the group and reunion or join them on Facebook at https://www.facebook/

For more information contact:
Penny McQueen
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Tags:The High Chaparral, TV Westerns, Cowboys, High Chaparral Reunion, Vintage TV
Industry:Entertainment, Event
Location:Tucson - Arizona - United States
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Page Updated Last on: Apr 25, 2013
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