Select Sundays in October & November
Back by popular demand and in celebration of the Blazin’ M Ranch enjoying its 20th anniversary, the ranch is again offering up A WOMAN’S HAND, a special live theatrical production filled with music, laughter, tears, and a whole lot of pioneer women’s soul. Written by Dev Ross, the show enjoyed a successful sold out run earlier this year. Audiences will again get to experience this show starting October 5th when it will play every Sunday through November 9th. Along with the Blazin’ M’s signature chuck wagon dinner, pre-dinner activities and attractions, guests can engage with colorful Old West living history characters that will showcase the hard work, challenges, triumphs and everyday hardships of women in the 1800’s.
The result of tireless research by Dev Ross and historian Kate Ruland-Thorne, the show features women who helped weave the fabric of Sedona and the Verde Valley. Their stories are heartwarming, often heartbreaking, and rich with spirit. Audiences will enjoy hearing directly from these historical women who come alive on stage. Meet the first African-American woman to own a business in Jerome, a saloon hall Soiled Dove from Flagstaff, a Chinese singsong girl, Latina Apolonia Chavez and Sedona Schnebly.
Lori Mabery, Managing Partner at the ranch beamed with excitement when describing the show. “We are so proud and excited to be featuring this great musical production, “A Woman’s Hand” again at the Blazin’ M Ranch. It’s truly a local history lesson coming to life right before your eyes, with the added bonus of dinner and all the regular western activities and attractions we’ve always offered here at the ranch! Back in March the cast & crew spent weeks modifying the stage by adding lighting and recreating historical scenes where living history characters who perform in the show can interact with guests prior to dinner.” Mabery continued, “We’ve got a powerful and talented cast, the show is amazing and it’s a great compliment and addition to our regular cowboy dinner show. We feel this production strongly appeals to locals who love our community as well as tourists who are so often interested in the history of our area while keeping the memory alive of some of our great pioneering Arizona women!”
Along with Dev Ross, one of Sedona’s favorites, Shondra Jepperson, a singer, songwriter, actor and half of the entertainment duo Tom & Shondra, is also a producer as well as an actor in the show. Jepperson commented, “It’s been a thrill to see this show go up at the Blazin’ M Ranch and to be an actor in it with my creative partner Dev Ross and such a great cast. The actors that we share the stage with are extremely talented and it’s a pleasure to work alongside them. Our audiences have really expressed their appreciation for sharing a lot of unknown history of the women who held their own during a very tough time in history in the Verde Valley. I’m thrilled to be running this show again!”
Both Jepperson and Ross tout a long list of leading role credits in plays and productions throughout southern California as well as in Sedona and the Verde Valley. In the past several years, both have also successfully co-produced and acted in murder mysteries penned by Ross with sold out performances at the Blazin’ M Ranch.
Dev Ross commented, “My producing partner, Shondra Jepperson, and I had discussed putting the play up for years but had no venue for it until the Blazin’ M Ranch. Having my show play there is a dream come true. Lori Mabery and her team at the ranch shared our vision, added to it, and are helping to bring more theater back into our community. We had a terrific run last March with sold out shows so we know this run is bound to sell out quickly.”
The other three cast members joining Ross and Jepperson are well known to Sedona audiences and have also enjoyed success in theatre and film. Tricia Greer, has been cast in leading roles in Shifting Gears, Lion in Winter, Glass Menagerie, Proof and 37 Postcards here in Sedona and has extensive theatre resume of lead roles in theatres throughout California. Movie fans are familiar with stage and film actress Michele Lamar Richards, known for her role as Whitney Houston’s sister in Kevin Costner’s, The Bodyguard. Richards is currently working as a writer, producer, director and professional acting coach for studios. Talented James Ball is thrilled to be accompanying this talented group of women. James is well known in the Verde Valley for teaching Choir, Music Theory, the Director of the Musical Theatre Dept. at Mingus Union High School and has performed across the nation.
John Reynolds is the director of the show who, besides his directing resume, has an extensive background as a special effects lighting director for major motion pictures including E.T., Twilight Zone, Towering Inferno just to name a few. Reynolds replied, “Directing A Woman’ Hand at the Blazin’ M Ranch is the perfect venue. After having this experience, I am excited about the potential to do other programs there. It’s a perfect environment for a director. Great support, great team, warm environment, and it feels like home.”
ponsored by National Processing Solutions, Inc., the series of six Sunday performances of this historical production open on Sunday, October 5th. For dinner and show reservations call (928) 634-0334 or book on-line at blazinm.com. Gates open at 5:00PM for pre-show activities and actor/audience interactions. Dinner is served at 6:30PM. The hour-long show starts at 7:30PM. Adults: $35.95+tax, Seniors: $32.95+tax, Children (3-12). $19.95+tax.
Celebrating 20 years of FUN!
The path from raising cattle and organic vegetables to entertaining hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world was a bit rocky in the beginning, but the deep roots at Blazin’ M Ranch made such a transition possible, all while contributing to the local economy and helping put the Verde Valley on the map worldwide.
Now the good folks at Blazin’ M want to say “Thank you!” to the local communities as they celebrate 20 years, with an Old West Fest, free and open to the public on October 18. Plan now to stop by the ranch between 11 AM and 2 PM for good old-fashioned activities for the whole family. In traditional Blazin’ M style, there will be cowboy music, roping lessons, tractor pull and visits to the critter corner as well as added child-friendly carnival games, a bean-bag toss, and potato sack races with the Blazin’ M staff being ably assisted by volunteers from Buena Vista Children’s Services. Lunch will also be available for purchase with a portion of the proceeds going to BVCS.
“We would never have gotten started, much less maintained a viable business for 20 years, were it not for outstanding community support,” says Lori Mabery, Managing Partner for Mabery Ranch Company, the family that founded Blazin’ M. “We want to say thanks to our communities and make this an annual event in October.”
Before they started the entertainment venue, family patriarch and community icon Chuck Mabery owned the property, upon which he grew organic vegetables. After the 100-year flood literally washed out the irrigation system in 1993, the family decided to open another family business. “We thought it would just be a part-time enterprise,” says Lori, “but within a few short months, it took on a life of its own.”
Though Blazin’ M is only open 150 days per year on average, nearly a million people have enjoyed this family-friendly western village and dinner show so far. Before the show, guests can enjoy the museum, saloon and activities ranging from target shooting, to shopping to old-time photography. Situated on the banks of the Verde River behind a rustic ranch fence, the Blazin’ M Ranch welcomes visitors from as far away as China and as nearby as their Old Town neighborhood to enjoy dinner and see the show. With its beautiful and unique setting inside Dead Horse Ranch State Park, along with the recreated Old West town, the 9-acre ranch feels like a step back in time, yet situated within a mile off Main Street in Cottonwood.
These days, in addition to the western music show, which is liberally laced with gentle cowboy comedy, and great music, there are other activities and seasonal events available throughout the year that utilize the venue in unique ways, such as line dancing lessons at Boots ‘n’ Boogie, community theater productions such as the critically acclaimed “A Woman’s Hand” and hosted events such as the ever-popular Chamber of Commerce Regional Mixer.
According to Casey Rooney, Economic Development Director for the City of Cottonwood, this family-run venue has always been, “…on the leading edge of establishing Cottonwood as a destination location versus being just a town to drive through on the way from Sedona to Jerome.”
In addition to contributing to the Verde Valley economy by employing a wide variety of talented individuals in their 20-year tenure, Blazin’ M Ranch has served as the “first job” opportunity for hundreds of local high-school students. Former employees return to see the show on a regular basis, says Mabery, many of who were teenagers when they worked at the ranch, and now bring their own children for the fun.
With five full-time and 25 part-time employees serving as shopkeepers, ticket takers, servers, singers and cooks, some employed for more than 15 years with the ranch, everybody pitches in to make the evening enjoyable for all involved.
“All our own children, some who are still partners in the business, and now grandchildren, have helped us at the ranch throughout the years,” says Mabery. “When Chuck was still entertaining, many evenings we would have four generations working here all at the same time. Family and staff alike consistently get kudos from our guests about their visit. We all work together to make this a memorable experience, a place where people want to be and can’t wait to return.”
Supporting the community is a big part of the Blazin’ M philosophy over the years. Fund raisers wherein Blazin’ M donated the food, the facility and staff time have raised tens of thousands of dollars for local charities including Rainbow Acres, the Sedona/Verde Valley Fire Fighter Charities and many other area nonprofits.
Noting that family-run businesses that withstand the test of time seem to be “few and far between”, Mabery says that Blazin’ M has flourished because they have tried to listen to their guests and changed with the times.
“Saying thank you is more than a gesture,” says Mabery. “Some of our best ideas have come from customer recommendations.” Mabery says with a smile, “The suggestion box is always open.”
For more information on Blazin’ M, contact Lori Mabery at 928-634-0334 or go to the website at blazinm.com.
Company parties and groups
Book the Blazin’ M Ranch in Cottonwood for your most memorable holiday event yet! The halls will be decked beautifully, and cowboy music with the spirit of the season with award-winning live entertainment fills the barn. Options for groups of all sizes and private customized events for up to 280 are available! Add Western activities and attractions including shops, museum, Old-Tyme photos, shooting gallery, saloon, and tractor pull, and you’ll be this year’s holiday hero!