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The High Chaparral hopes to make its mark on north Dickinson property

NORTH OF DICKINSON--A local businessman is about to launch a new venture at a property that's seen its fair share of turnover. The High Chaparral is holding a grand opening on July 1, nearly a year after Bob Tuttle, the venue's sole operator, sta...

Bob Tuttle hopes to win community support with the grand opening of The High Chaparral event center and bar north of Dickinson.
Bob Tuttle hopes to win community support with the grand opening of The High Chaparral event center and bar north of Dickinson.

NORTH OF DICKINSON-A local businessman is about to launch a new venture at a property that's seen its fair share of turnover.

The High Chaparral is holding a grand opening on July 1, nearly a year after Bob Tuttle, the venue's sole operator, started working on the property to get it ready to handle events like weddings and concerts, along with a regular bar clientele.

The property, located just about eight miles north of Dickinson, isn't new to the local business scene. One management cycle ago, the farm-style plot was the Boars Nest, owned by a Fisher Group subsidiary known as Great Western Builders. Before that, it was the independently owned Joy Haven and hosted many weddings and get-togethers.

Tuttle said he's now leasing part of the property, including its 300-person occupancy quonset, from Great Western Builders. Tuttle said he came across the property through his disc jockeying business, Entertainment Explosion.

"We'd do a couple teen dances out there," he explained. "I'd get sponsorships from Pepsi and we'd charge a cover, the kids would come in and get all the free pop, water and pizza they wanted through the night. After visiting with the owners of the place, we decided to take it up a notch."

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For nearly a year now, Tuttle said, a small crew consisting mainly of himself, along with family members and some part-time staff, have been sorting out and putting together the leased property.

Emily Tuttle, one of Bob's two daughters who have been helping at High Chaparral, said she's been assisting her dad "since the day he got the idea."

A senior at Dickinson High School, Emily said she'd attended the teen dances and helped promote the events among her friends.

"It's nice, down the road, to be able to say you helped your father with something like this," she said of the business.

She added that she'd enjoyed the dances and believed her friends had too.

"We've gotten about 50 to 100 kids out here," she said. "It's nice. It gives them something to do around town."

Tuttle's hope in raising the business' involvement means taking a run at operating the place as a full event center and bar, the latter of which would also provide a complimentary taco bar.

The grand opening weekend is indicative of some of the range of events Tuttle would like to host.

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Local band Weekend Crisis takes to the stage Friday to kick off the High Chaparral's music scene. When the night is over, Tuttle said, the band will break down its setup and the floor will be rearranged for a Saturday wedding reception.

The wedding amenities, in addition to the hall, also include a bridal suite, an apartment for members of the wedding entourage and a restaurant space, which could allow clients to cater their own events-all of which Tuttle believes are key assets.

Beyond the more conventional slate of events, Tuttle said the venue has already hosted a murder-mystery party and is looking into hosting a kids' carnival type event complete with inflatables.

For the adult side of the business, he said the High Chaparral will offer a free sober bus to get visitors home safely. The venue recently secured its liquor license from Dunn County officials.

Though he's looking forward to future prospects, Tuttle said his business plan for the property would more closely follow Joy Haven rather than the Boars Nest.

"We're looking to run the model more like an event center, instead of focusing just on the bar," he said. "When you've got that much potential out there and don't use it, it kind of goes to waste."

The bar aspect won't be left to the wayside though.

Tuttle said he hopes to regularly host live bands and DJ sets to bring in weekend crowds looking for a night out.

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Scott Wax, The Fisher Group's general manager, said the Dickinson company was pleased with Tuttle's interest in what Wax described as a "great piece of property."

"It's exciting that somebody has the same hopes and dreams we had," he said. "He's just going a different direction and we hope everything turns out great."

Wax said The Fisher Group subsidiary purchased the land and business from previous owner Ken Kubischta in the spring of 2013 and operated it under a separate Boars Nest LLC. By the end of 2014, that venture came to a close. The business and its 12.3-acre lot are now listed for sale, a fact which Wax said Tuttle is aware of.

"I think he hopes it works out and we hope it works out," Wax said. "We just have to move forward and see how it performs for him. I'm not opposed to anything there. I'm open to all options."

Tuttle said the grand opening weekend will help to provide an indication of the kind of community support the High Chaparral might hope to receive.

If the concert and wedding events this weekend go well, Tuttle said, he could look to expanding his event schedule.

"We're going to see what happens," he said with a laugh. "We'll see what direction it goes in. ... If it's beneficial to be in this business, maybe we can sign a longer-term lease. If it's not, well then we'll see."

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