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Chuckwagon Cookouts

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.

Yesterday I told you about a great Kanab business, Denny's Wigwam. Today, let me tell you about another great enterprise that is a spin-off from Denny's.

Chuckwagon Cookouts is located right behind the Wigwam. It was started by Dennis Judd to provide a requested and needed service to foreign visitors who really wanted to experience the Old West. In 1981, a vacant lot adjacent to the store was secured, cleaned and fixed up, and a Dutch Oven Cookout was made available to the tour buses.

The cookout and program was an immediate hit, becoming so popular that it needed to be a separate company. An employee, Tony Wright, leased the operation in 1996 and has watched it grow and prosper to become a "must" for Kane County visitors.

It was fun for me to watch the guests. Not only do they enjoy a great Dutch Oven dinner of salad, biscuits, potatoes, beans and roast beef, they also see and participate in a western melodrama called "How the West was Lost."

Tony welcomes visitors, usually with the aid of an interpreter, and tells them how Kanab has become "Little Hollywood" because so many Western movies have been shot in the area. He tells how John Wayne and many other popular stars filmed movies in the area.

Tony then enlists volunteers to take part in the "making of a movie." Sophisticated German gentlemen become cowboys. Shy, giggling ladies become dance-hall girls. Costumes transform the visitors into cowboys, Indians, townspeople and the sheriff. The sets include a saloon, wagon, hogan and livery stable. The tourists really catch the spirit and play their parts with gusto. Tony employs a cameraman to shoot still photos of the performance, which visitors can purchase as a fun and unique souvenir.

Yes, Tony, with the help of his sister, Lonnie Kirby, makes certain the Chuckwagon Cookouts offer much more than great Cowboy Grub. They also provide lasting memories.

For Zions Bank, I'm Fred Ball. I'm speaking on business.

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