By Linda Bentley | JANUARY 6, 2016

Creekers show up en masse to Buffalo Chip fundraiser

CAVE CREEK – On Wednesday, Dec. 16, Creekers and supporters poured into Frontier Town to attend a fundraiser for the 120 Buffalo Chip employees who became suddenly unemployed when a Thanksgiving Day fire, which is being investigated as arson, burned the Buffalo Chip Saloon and Steakhouse to the ground.

A silent auction, live music, T-shirt sales, grilled burgers and hot dogs, beer, and more all contributed to the fundraiser, which sprawled throughout Frontier Town.

Representatives from the Cave Creek Museum and Foothills Food Bank were also on hand helping to make the fundraiser a success.

Buffalo Chip owner Larry Wendt stated it’s all about taking care of his employees and said if there were any businesses looking for help, he had great staff now looking for jobs.

Beverly Peagler, whose family built Frontier Town, said her son Marc was keeping a list of businesses looking for help and employees looking for work, in an effort to help match them up.

Wendt, a retired MCSO deputy, received support in the way of an appearance by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, as well as his former MCSO colleague Russell Pearce, a long-term public servant who has served as legislator and as president of the Arizona State Senate.

Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, which is investigating the fire, is also the contracted law enforcement organization for both Cave Creek and neighboring Carefree.

Arriving to the fundraiser on horseback was Chris Potter, owner of Arizona Cowboy Concrete, who was often seen on horseback at the Buffalo Chip helping out with security during bull riding and other events in the rear barbecue/arena area.

Mayor Vincent Francia jokingly attributed the fire to 60 years of people “burning up the dance floor” at the Buffalo Chip.

Just days earlier, the Silver Spur Saloon (formerly the Smokehouse) hosted a gift-wrapping party to wrap Christmas gifts collected by Rural/Metro Fire as part of its annual toy drive for the Buffalo Chip employees’ children.

Approximately 2,800 people attended the event which, as of this writing, raised about $42,500.