I SO wanted to like the "new" Rawhide. I grew up with many happy times at the Scottsdale Rawhide, and was saddened to see it razed. Today, we met out-of-town guests at the "new" Rawhide, and all of us felt the visit wasn't even worth the gas money to get there. I was terribly disappointed. The buildings have no charm; the attractions are overpriced (seriously? $10 to climb a fake rock wall, or to ride a broken down mechanical bull? Are the owners smoking crack, or what?) and the role-players are lackluster. I'm a western buff, and my home and barn are full of western paraphernalia of all sorts -- but there wasn't a single item in the shops that I wanted to take home. T-shirts and Jelly Belly candy doesn't compare to the site-made rock candy and hand-forged items from the former site.
The food was good, but overpriced; for $21 a steak should include a salad and a decent side other than mushy ranch fries. The grounds were cheesy, though; the "live zombie paintball" booth didn't do much for us, and there was really nothing to see. I was surprised and saddened. I wanted to find the Rawhide town I loved before, with a certain energy and a vitality. I'd hoped to see the farm animals roaming the street (but no, they're locked in a petting zoo where you must purchase another ticket to see them), and riders on horseback making their way through town -- but that is all a memory.
The staff were pleasant, but unremarkable. The main bathrooms were out of paper when we arrived, but within a couple of hours, someone was attending to the tissue issue.
The town could benefit from a makeover. I'd suggest they add a bawdy house, with painted ladies (role-players, not tourists from Scottsdale) beckoning from the upper balcony, and a couple of recreations of historic western buildings, such as the Ellis House from Lincoln, NM, or a historic court house. A gallows would add a dark but appealing edge. Come to think of it, there's so much that needs to be done there -- it probably isn't even worth trying. Rawhide missed the mark.
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