Monday, May 16, 2016

The O.K. Corral

September 24, 2011 © Thomas J. Kollenborn. All Rights Reserved.

Many of our readers have heard of the O.K. Corral. However, your recollections will probably conjure up memories of Tombstone and the Earps. Well, Apache Junction has its own O.K. Corral. As matter of fact Apache Junction has had an O.K. Corral since 1968.

Ron Feldman traveled west in the mid 1960s to search for gold and lost treasure. During this search he found the old West was still alive. He set out to become a part of this tradition. The establishment of the O.K. Corral in Apache Junction was part of Ron’s dream.

The O.K. Corral’s Ron Feldman leads a group of riders through the desert near the base of the Superstition Mountains.
 The first time I recall Ron Feldman in the Apache Junction area was around 1967-68. Ron was using a burro named “Phoenix” to do his packing while he searched for the Lost Dutchman Mine in the Superstition Mountains. Occasionally he would pack a customer into the Superstition Mountains for few dollars to help cover his expenses.

His wife, Jayne, told me how Ron got into the stable business. According to Jayne, Ron was boarding his burro at DeWitt’s Riding Stable in Mesa for twenty-five dollars a month. Ron decided to buy an acre and a quarter of land that had been advertised for twenty-five dollars down and twenty-five dollars month. Ron figured his boarding bill would pay for the land. Sometime later another person offered him some horses he could rent hoping the rentals would pay for the horses feed bill and make him a little money.

Ron was born in Buffalo, New York, on March 27, 1944. He eventually moved to California. While in California he became interested in the Dutchman’s Lost Mine and the Lost Adam’s Diggings. The first chance he got he headed for Arizona to search for the Dutchman’s Lost Mine and the Adam’s Lost Diggings. Both stories had intrigued Ron, and he continues to search for lost mines today.

When he first arrived in Arizona Ron found some work with Robert Simpson Jacobs (Crazy Jake). Ron will tell you those days working with Robert Jacobs educated him about the mountains, its characters and their environment. Ron always considered Jacobs the man with the golden tongue. Jacob could talk just about anyone out of anything. This was Ron’s introduction to treasure hunting in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona and he learned a valuable lesson about salesmanship.

Ron soon realized he needed some type of gainful employment to survive in the Apache Junction area. This is when he decided to start his own pack outfit. Ron started the O.K. Corral in 1968 with a shoestring budget and a dream. He implemented his idea with the burro named Phoenix.

At this time Ron began packing customers into the Superstition Wilderness Area with his burro. Ron struggled for years building his business. While striving to build his business he met a beautiful and charming lady name Jayne. He gave her horseback riding lessons and they soon fell in love and were married on July 4, 1973.

The office for the OK Corral was out of the cab of Ron’s pickup. His truck office was followed by a travel trailer, then finally a small board shack near his corrals. The OK Corral began to grow and Jayne soon was Ron’s business partner, wife and the mother of his two fine sons Jesse and Joshua. Together this family has built a fine business on values of good entrepreneurship, integrity and honesty.

The OK Corral caters primarily to Dutch Hunters and hourly riders. Ron and his two sons continue the search for gold or treasure when time permits. Both Jesse and Josh were part of recent reality show that searched for gold and rubies in the far north of Greenland.

Land became an issue in the late 1970’s and Ron purchased Desert Dolly’s property that was next door to his own. This gave Ron 2.5 acres to expand his business. As the years progressed Ron and Jayne developed their business into a very productive and profitable company. The Feldmans included hayrides, wagon rides, cookouts, Mineral & gift shop, pack trips, trailer park for horse people and lectures about their business.

Ron Feldman has always been a natural born salesman and storyteller. He could easily sell refrigerators to Eskimos.

Ron penned his first book titled Crooked Mountain written in 2000. He wrote his next book, Deep Fault in 2005. His books have experienced very good reception from the reading public. Feldman is the type of man that controls his own destiny. Today Ron enjoys a very successful family business with his wife, Jayne and two sons, Jesse and Joshua.

Ron has lived a life of adventure most of us only dream about. There is always just one more adventure down the trail or over the hill. These adventures are what keep Ron’s heart young and strong. Ron is a very fortunate man to have a wife and two sons that support him one hundred per cent in his quest for that lost gold.

The OK Corral caters primarily to Dutch Hunters and hourly riders. Ron and his two sons continue the search for gold or treasure when time permits. You might say, “Today’s memories are yesterday’s adventures” when talking about Ron Feldman or his two sons.

Today, if you visit the O.K. Corral Pack Outfit and Stables in Apache Junction, you will find it located just off the Apache Trail north of Goldfield Ghost Town. At the O.K. Corral you will probably meet one or both of Ron and Jayne’s tall, handsome wrangler sons, Jesse or Josh. Ron has retired from running the horse business and his son’s Jesse and Josh who now operate the stables. There is also a good chance you will see or talk to Ron or Jayne. Ron now runs his rock shop out of the new business location at the Mammoth Mine. They are both always up front at their business. Ron came to Arizona looking for gold, but found a life that he loved and a wonderful family.

The OK Corral made a big move this past October, 2015. The business is now located on the Apache Trail (State Route 88) just north of the Bluebird Mine. The corral and rock shop are located at the old Mammoth Mine claim and site, truly a historical setting along the Apache Trail. The Mammoth Mine was the biggest gold producer in the region in the 1890’s.

Today, when you ride out of the OK Corral you are riding out of the pages of Arizona Territorial history, The view from the all-new OK Corral is absolute awesome and stunning. Superstition Mountain towers over their new business location just off the Apache Trail.

The Feldmans have done a fantastic job preparing this new site that required almost six months to complete. Stop by the new O.K. Corral and say “Hi” and see a part of Arizona Territorial history that is still alive.