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The 1st Annual Young Riders Reunion

The Incredible True Life Adventures of Eight Girls Who Went West!

Disclaimer: The following story is true! No events have been exaggerated or misinterpreted. All accounts were actually lived by the individuals who experienced this great journey to the Wild Wild West. If you are faint of heart, suffer from a nervous condition or are prone to outbursts of hysteria, perhaps these adventures are too much for you to handle. In this day and age, it is hard to believe that something like this took place, but I assure you, it did! All characters of this story are real, but to protect the innocent, some names may have been changed. If you wish to see more pics with the stories around it, just click on the pic! Now, on with the adventure!

After a year of somewhat careful planning, I found it had finally come for me to take my journey out west. It had been calling me like a dream, so I knew I had to go. So I got my good friend, Pam, to share in my adventure, even if she did not share in my vision! And so we decided to drive from Houston, Tx to Tucson, Arizona.

We decided to leave at 3:00 in the morning of June 17th. We packed the car with clothes, snacks and the essential traveling music for just such an adventure. We figured we couldn't go wrong with the soundtracks to Thelma & Louise and Boys On The Side. And of course, I just couldn't leave my home without bringing along my Queen collection, much to Pam's dismay!

The ride across Texas was quite nice. Given the fact that I had never left the eastern part of the state in my 24 years of life, I was having a grand old time just looking at the scenery. Now, anyone who has ever lived in Texas or familiar with its folklore, you should know there is a little old wive's tale that it takes a full day to drive across this great state. And according to my Yahoo Map Finder, we were looking at least a 19 hour drive before we reached the New Mexico border. Well, we proved it wrong! We crossed the border in 12 hours flat. To celebrate this special occasion for myself, I decided to pop in "Blaze of Glory". After all, I was entering the state of one of my western heroes, Billy The Kid. I had to do my own ritual to pay my respect. Incidentally, the pics that I took of the drive didn't come out. (Never trust those disposable cameras!)

It took us another 2 1/2 hours to drive across New Mexico. Again, I was in awe of the scenery. I was also impressed with the fact that New Mexico does not have any kind of fireworks law. But enough of that.

Driving into Arizona was also a momentous occasion, but unfortunately, I didn't have a song for it. I just listened to Queen and I was happy. It took us another 2 1/2 hours to get to Tucson, and boy was my excitement rising. I kept thinking, "This is it!! I'm here! I am in the town where Josh Brolin lives!" Unfortunately, the closest I got to seeing Josh was a short appearance on "Entertainment Tonight", where Mini Driver is denouncing the rumors of their engagement. (Hey Mini, as we Americans say, "If you don't want him, I'll take him!")

Let me now say that Tucson is amazing. It's HUGE!!! Once we passed the city limits, it still took us about 30 minutes to get to the middle of town. I was impressed with the scenery and the mountains. Everywhere you look, there is a mountain! Coming from Houston, this was a great awakening.

Since we had figured it would take us a full day to get to Tucson, we were very happy that we would get there a day early. We really didn't have reservations anywhere for that night, but thanks to the good desk clerk at the Ghost Ranch Lodge, we were able to get our room that night. We got to Tucson at 6:30 pm(EST), which put our drive at exactly 17 hours. Needless to say, I was pooped! So was Pam. I knew that Shannon would be in Tucson already, but I was so tired that I decided to wait till the next day to find her. I just wanted to take a shower and go to bed.

After about 2 hours of relaxing and just about dozing off, I get a call from Cass. Now, the only person I had really communicated on a near daily basis with up until this point was Shannon, so it was interesting to finally find out that some of our troop was there already. Cassie was with Jessica, and they had been looking for others also, so I told them to come on over. At this point I got a little nervous. I realized that no one else knew me and I wasn't sure if I would live up their expectations. But as soon as Cassie & Jess entered the room, we all hit it off. We had the most interesting conversations about the show, life and our trips. (hey Jess, how is Father Shauggnessy these days?) Strangely enough, many of us introduced ourselves by what web site we ran!

After another hour of bonding with Cass and Jess, I get a call from Shannon. She was with Kirsten & Anna, who I could hear giggling in the background. (I'm still not sure what the joke was) But they also wanted to come over to my room. So 45 minutes later they showed up. Again, everyone hit it off, which I was greatly relieved about. So we all talked for about another hour, until I was just too tired. I had been up for about 36 hours and could barely see straight. We called it a night and decided to meet up in the morning.

My first morning in Tucson was amazing. For some unGodly reason, I woke up at 7am, and decided to watch the sunrise from my hotel door. Only did I later realize that the sun comes up at 5am in Tucson. I personally thought it was crazy. But after an hour of this, I fell asleep again. The night before, Cassie, Jessica, Pam and I had decided to drive to Tombstone. We invited Shannon, Kirst and Anna to come along, but they decided to check out Old Tucson Studios early.

But as they say, not every plan is perfect. Due to some gross miscommunication, Cass & I missed each other by 1 minute to leave for Tombstone. After realizing that they may have already left, Pam and I jumped in the car and decided to chase after them. It took us about 2 hours to find them. After walking the streets of Tombstone, we saw them and yelled out!! And just like a great old movie, we were reunited in the middle of the street of Tombstone. (this is where the music plays!)

I really enjoyed my time in Tombstone. It is a small ghost town taken over by gift shops. Ironically enough, the entire town has a huge marketing scheme surrounding the movie Tombstone with Kurt Russell & Val Kilmer, but not a single shot was filmed there. Go figure? While we were there, we visited the O.K Corral, The Birdcage Theatre and the Boothill Cemetery. We also watched a reenactment of the shoot out at The O.K. Corral. It was fun to watch, but it's hard to fill time around a 1 minute gun fight. Needless to say, we were back to walking the streets again.

We also visited another little show put on by some locals, (I think). It was funny and it was a good way to pass the time. But only after we left, we realized that the main actor also did stunt work for The Young Riders. Missed opportunity already.

It soon started raining, so we decided to head on back to Tucson. Cass, Jess, Pam and I then went out to eat. After that, Jess, Pam and I decided to hit the Tucson night life. We soon came to the conclusion that Tucson really didn't have a night life. We found a tattoo parlor since Pam was thinking about getting another tattoo. We cut that short because it was getting late and decided we would have to come back the next day. Suffice it to say, we settled going back to the hotel with a bottle of Malibu Rum. We got back to the Ghost Ranch and met up with Shannon, Kirsten, & Anna again. We chatted for about an hour before hitting the hay. Tomorrow would be the day for great adventure and we all needed our beauty sleep.

And now for the good part. We got up early Saturday morning and worked out our plan for meeting up. After the grand continental breakfast of fruit and muffins, we headed out to Old Tucson Studios! Again, the scenery was breathtaking! And we all were beginning to feel rather spiritual about what we were about to encounter. This was the place! This is what we had been waiting for! We were entering the domain of where The Young Riders had filmed various episodes!

We hung out at the entrance for a while because we were still missing a part of our group. Tanya showed up a short while later with her boyfriend and we were finally all together! Our circle was complete!

As we toured the park, we reminisced of our favorite episodes and visited every locale where the show was filmed. We first went to the saloon and sat down for a good old fashion show and had a round of Sarsaparilla. Pam discovered the new love of her life, a security guard by the name of Jason. We enjoyed the rest of the show and decided to check out the rest of the sites.

We then made our way to another show. And yes, this is where Jess and I found the new love of our lives. (sorry Ty & Josh, but you couldn't be found and a woman has needs!) Our eyes first saw Xavier and Noel in a gunfight show in front of the Wells Fargo Bank. Xavier rode in tall on his horse and Noel came in from the side. Xavier can be best described as a Buck look-alike. Noel can be best described as a Jimmy look-alike, so of course I fell in love. What can I say? He was a tall drink of water and I needed a refreshment! Jess & I watched the show and wondered how we could get them home. Coincidentally, we are currently planning the wedding. (shh...don't tell my boyfriend!)

After that we made our way to the Town Hall Museum. Again, we searched high and low for any mention of TYR. We found some really interesting pictures and some displays of the lives of Hickok and Cody. We found a courtroom that reminded us of "Speak No Evil", albeit, it was rather small.

We then made our way to an old timey photo studio and had our pics taken. Pam and I were a gambler and a cowboy. I wanted to look like Hickok, but of course, it didn't come out that way. Anna, Cass, Shannon and Jess were dressed up like saloon girls and Kirsten and Tanya were dressed up as fine ladies. The pic came out great! Everyone looked their part. It was perfect!

At this point, Tanya had to leave. Kirsten bided her farewell for us since we missed her. We then deciding to take in another show. Jess and I met up with our newly acquired friend, Chino. (psst...don't tell Shannon, but I think he had a crush on her!) Anyway, he caught on to the vibe that Jess was giving to Xavier and decided to use his power to bring these two lovebirds together. As we sat down for the next show, Mark (another actor, and btw, a kind sweet man!) picks Jess out of the crowd to participate in the show. She was great! I've never seen a more authentic actress and I still think it's a shame she got passed up for the Oscar! There's just no justice in show business! After the show, we met up with the guys again for some more pics. Xavier, Noel, Greg & Gedi were more than willing to put up with our antics! But we had to end it and let these fellas get back to work.

We wandered around for a little while longer and made our way to the High Chaparral set, which was also used as Ft. Reunion. (my favorite episode!) Actually we followed Mark there because we had another mission at hand. He was great! We explained our purpose in Old Tucson and he was more than willing to share his knowledge! And I was just so excited because I was in the same place where Josh had filmed an episode. I even collected a few rocks just for the purpose that Josh may have stepped on it. But leave it to Shannon and Cassie to show me up. They snuck into the Men's Room and took pictures of the urinals just because the guys may have......oh well, you get the idea.

We then felt maybe it was time to leave, so we headed down the road. But fate soon intervened. Here came Xavier and Noel walking toward us, and after a personal invitation to their next show, we couldn't refuse! We followed them for a few minutes before we stopped them and explained our mission at Old Tucson. If you could see the looks on their faces when we told them that we had traveled from all over the country to come here, you would have thought someone had told them we were escaped mental patients. Xavier looks at us and says "Don't you know that show went off the air 10 years ago!" (but at least he was cute when he said it.) We assured them we had not escaped from the mental hospital, and we had a nice little chat. I think this is where me and Jess fell more in love with them! So we followed them back to the fort and enjoyed their next show.

So our time in Old Tucson was coming to a close. But our efforts were not at all in vain! When we were about ready to leave, Xavier and Mark found us again and told us to wait where we were. They came back and gave us a few presents for our journey. What can I say? These guys were amazing! Words cannot express the gratitude we feel towards Xavier, Mark, Noel, Chino, Greg & Gedi! They truly made our day!!

So we left Old Tucson Studios. Jessica, Pam and I cried endlessly because we had to leave behind our new loves. But our hearts will only grow fonder as we await till next year's reunion!

We decided then to go back to the tattoo parlor to let Pam get her new tattoo. Cass wanted to stay for moral support as the rest of us girls went to find something to eat and I also wanted to find a guitar shop. We had a great dinner. We laughed and cried and formed a great bond. We got back to the tattoo parlor a couple of hours later to get Pam and Cass. Pam got a great wrap-around tat on her ankle and Cass got a cute paw print on her ankle as well. We commended their bravery for going under the needle and headed back to the hotel for a TYR marathon. Well, it actually lasted for 2 episodes since we all exhausted. Shannon had to leave the next morning and so we said our farewells! We had a great time with Shannon, and hated to see it end. Our group was getting smaller, but Shannon left us with some great directions to Mt. Lemon, so we decided to make that our mission on Sunday.

We headed out the next morning to take in the sites of Tucson and to go to Mt. Lemon. Pam had decided to stay in for the day and dream of Jason, so Cass, Kirsten, Jessica, Anna and me piled into the car, and headed for the sights. The drive itself was fun as well. We all sang to 70's songs and Jess and I bonded again over a splendid rendition of "Fat Bottomed Girls". We soon found ourselves at Mt. Lemon. I'm not sure whose idea it actually was to hike to the top of this mountain, but we made it to the top (well, most of the way at least) It was breathtaking!! We were on top of the world looking down on Tucson! We had a great time again reenacting some scenes from the show and snacking on Twizlers, Do-Nuts, and Chic-o-Sticks! I stood on the mountain and proclaimed my love for Josh and I think Jess proclaimed her love for Xavier. When you are 6000 ft. up, the mind gets hazy.

We soon headed back down the mountain and found some wooded areas. We did more scenes from "The Sacrifice" and I had my 1881 Colt replica, so we knew our acting had to be believable! I think the bears thought so at least.

We drove through Tucson for a few more hours before heading back to the hotel to pick up Pam. We went out to dinner to a mexican restaurant, where Pam, Kirsten & Jessica got the mariachi band to sing Happy Birthday to Cassie. (How old is she again?) We went back to the hotel again for another 2 episode marathon of TYR. Cass had to leave the next morning, so again, we said our good-byes. Our group is getting smaller again.

Monday morning, we decided to get up at 5:00 in the morning to ride horses. Since we had missed our appointment the day before, the guy who runs the place showed up 30 minutes late. After waiting around for him to get the horses ready, we were finally assigned our horses! I had my faithful steed, Remington; Kirsten had the lovely Newt; Jessica had the ever trusty Comet; Anna had willful Rebel and Pam had Casper, the friendly horse. The trail ride started out great. It was a lovely area to ride. Again, mountains, cacti, rattlesnakes and rocks! We passed the time by singing trail songs, which our trail guide joined in on. We were considered novices at riding since most of us had not been on horses in 10 years, so we weren't allowed to run the horses and throwing mochillas at each other was out of the question. So we rode & Kirsten and Anna relived dialogue from TYR. And we all came to the conclusion that we would chase down outlaws if they stole our horses. If Kid did it for Katy, then we were up to the challenge as well!

After about an hour of this, we are making our way up a pretty steep mountain and Jessica somehow made it to the back of the herd. At this point, Pam yells out, "Stop! Jess fell!" We all look back to find Jess sitting on a cactus. Thankfully, Comet didn't leave her! Our trail guide, who's name is Armor, gets off his horse to rescue her. I think we soon realized she wasn't hurt and we started cheering her on because the cowboy was rescuing her! He helped to get some of the needles out her backside and she was back in the saddle in no time. The Ghetto Cowgirl Rides Again. (By the way, Jess, where is your shower cap?) We made it back to the ranch without any other fatalities, with the exception of sore bottoms. And we wondered for a while how the guys did that for so long!

So now it is about 9:30 in the morning and we went out for breakfast. This is our last morning together and we want to make it last, but it couldn't go on forever. We got back to the hotel and packed up our stuff. Pam and I waited for the shuttle to pick up Kirsten, Anna & Jessica. We said our "See ya later"s and made our separate ways! We were so sad now. We didn't want it to end and I'm sure we all had a good cry after leaving each other.

Pam and I had now planned to drive to Albuquerque, but fate intervened again. My car busted a hose and we had to stay in Tucson another night. I took as a sign from above, again, Pam did not see my vision. But we found a nice hotel and got our rest. Thanks to the nice guys at Percell's Automotive, we made our way out of Tucson on Tuesday afternoon. Ironically enough, I found the guitar shop about an hour before we left. We headed back to Texas and made it in Wednesday morning, another long and peaceful drive.

What can be said other than I had the greatest adventure of my life!

Here's my special dedication time. Shannon, without you, this trip never would have made it to reality. I know we were for the most part kidding around a year and a half ago when we came up with this idea, but WE DID IT!!! Very few had faith in us,(no names!) but we pulled it off! I'm so glad we finally got to share time together. Just wait till next year! Cass, we met on short notice, but it was like we had know each other for years! Thanks for opening my eyes to the new fan fiction out there! Jessica, you crazy spice girl! Get thee to a nunnery, Go! You be careful in California! You have to make it back next year for our double wedding! Kirsten, you were the youngn', but you are just as crazy as us old folks. Keep an eye on Jess! I don't want to bail both of you out of the Santa Monica jail! Anna, it was great meeting you. Sorry I didn't know you at first, but you kept me laughing. Next year, bring hiking boots! We will take you back to the promised land! Tanya, I wish we had more time to get to know you. We Jimmy fans have to stick together! The others are conspiring against us you know! And Pam, thanks for putting up with me for a week. Next year, you get to drive!!

What else is there to say that I haven't said already about these ladies I spent my life with for a week! We shared one Hell of an adventure and I wouldn't have wanted to share it with anyone else. I feel we created an unbreakable bond. I miss you guys already and I take great pride in calling all of you my friends. We never said good-bye, only see you next year. So, until then.............

The Adventures of the Kirsten Kid!

Cassie Takes on Arizona!

The Ghetto Cowgirl Rides Again!

Tanya's Tales of Tucson!

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