Brown treats guests to a bit of the West
Alan Brown ’82 is living every boy’s dream. He gets to play cowboy each evening at the supper club he and his wife, Valerie, own and operate. At Bar M Chuck Wagon in Moab, Utah, they feed and entertain hungry tourists in an Old West setting. They’ve been doing it for 10 years and are still going strong.
Brown sings, plays the guitar, stages a gunfight skit and even cooks all of the food himself at the Bar M. “I’m head cook and bottle washer,” he says.
Guests can have a drink or two in the saloon, browse through the gift shop or play a game of horseshoes in the tiny western town. After that, they mosey outside for a real live shootout featuring Brown as the town sheriff. Dinner is next-- roast beef, barbequed chicken, baked beans, potatoes, biscuits, applesauce and cowboy cake. The food is served on metal plates and cups. A stage show featuring the music and comedy of the “Bar M Wranglers” follows supper.
“The dining room seats 330 people and has a stage on one end where our five-piece band plays songs like ‘Ghost Riders In the Sky’ and ‘Happy Trails to You.’ We yodel and serenade the audience,” Brown says.
Brown is a native of Maroa, Ill., and studied music and European history at Millikin. While at MU, he spent a semester in Vienna through the Institute of European Studies. He was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and still keeps in touch with his SAE big brother, Steve Ferguson ’79, of Mattoon.
“The teachers who stand out the most in my mind were Dr. Provan and Professor Wesley Snyder for their advice and council, and the Hofflands (Richard and Kay Hoffland, professor emeritus of music and his wife and accompanist) for their devotion to music and for setting an example of how a husband and wife can work together as a great team.”
The Bar M is located between two national parks, the Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. The town of Moab is in the desert, with a view of the La Sal Mountains in the distance.
“The natural beauty of the area is mind boggling. I always wanted to live out west, but I never pictured myself doing what I’m doing. It is a great place to wake up in every morning. The desert, the rocks, the cliffs and wide open spaces are beautiful,” he says. Perfect scenery for a cowboy.
The Browns website is located at http://www.moab-utah.com/chuckwagon.
Article appeared in summer 2002 issue of Millikin Quarterly magazine.