What’s New

Red River Under the Stars

Over 200 western movie fans attended the planned  outdoor screening of Red River at Empire Ranch Headquarters on July 13, 2019.  Due to the weather the movie was shown in the Adobe Haybarn.  Retired stuntman Bunker DeFrance told a few filming tales prior to the showing.  Many enjoyed the chuckwagon dinner provided  by EZ Cattle Company Cow Camp Cafe’ Chuck Wagon Catering!

Special thanks are due to The Loft Theater, Tucson, for making this free event possible as part of their Loft Film Fest on the Road series.


Updated  7/17/2019

National Day of the Cowboy

Plan to celebrate National Day of the Cowboy at the Historic Empire Ranch on Saturday July 27, 2019, 9am-1pm.  It’s a FREE family event with demonstrations, presentations, ranch tours.  Rex Dalton’s chuckwagon lunch fixin’s will be available for purchase.

Click here to view photos of the the 2018 celebration.


Posted 4/20/2019


The Empire Ranch Foundation is proud to present Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones starring in “Oklahoma” as our 2019 Western Movie at the Loft Cinema in Tucson on September 15th. Doors open at 2:00 pm, with a special exhibit of the “Surrey With The Fringe on Top” that was used in this musical, followed by the 3:00 pm show time.

Tickets are $15 for ERF members and $20 for non-members.  Click here to purchase tickets online at Eventbrite or call 888-364-2829.

Posted 5/23/2019

New Timeline and Families Exhibits

An updated “Timeline” exhibit  for the Living Room of the Victorian Addition replaces the Timeline
first developed in 2004. The new Timeline details significant events that occurred in the history of the Empire Ranch between 1870 and 2000, illustrated by photos from the ERF archives.

A “Families” exhibit in the Master Bedroom replaces the “Who Lived Here” exhibit developed in 2010. It features photos and descriptions of Empire Ranch owner families (Vail and Boice), families who have ranched the Empire under lease arrangements (Donaldson and Tomlinson), and other families that
lived on the Empire during the Vail and Boice eras.

Posted 5/22/2019

Volunteer Appreciation Dinner

Pioneer Hall at the Santa Cruz County Fair Grounds proved to be a great venue for the ERF Volunteer Appreciation dinner dance on Saturday, April 27th, attended by over 80 volunteers.  A highlight of the evening was the delicious dinner prepared by the Board of Directors, especially the BBQ beef cooked up by Steve Boice. The John E. Mann band played wonderful western tunes throughout the evening, and the competitive bidding at the Silent Auction raised over $700 for the Foundation.

It was a wonderful evening and a special opportunity to express our heartfelt thanks to the volunteers that contribute so much to ERF’s mission.

Posted 5/22/2019

2019 Cowboy Festival

Be sure to put the Empire Ranch Cowboy Festival on Saturday, November 2, 2019 on your calendar. Program details will be posted by August 2019.  Click here for the 2018 program listing, and  here to see photos of the 2018 Festival.

Updated  5/4/2019

Docent Tour Reservations

During the summer months (June-August) reservations are required for docent-led tours.  Tours are scheduled for 11am on the second and fourth Saturday of the month.  Click here to make a reservations or  call 888-364-2829.  Reservations are due by 5 pm on the Friday before the tour.

Posted 4/16/19

Getting the Word Out

The Foundation’s outreach volunteers had a busy 2018 staffing booths at a variety of community events. Over 800 individuals learned about the historic Empire Ranch and the Foundation at events and through presentations.

During 2019 the Outreach and Education committee hopes to participate in community events monthly, and provide more presentations to local audiences. If you have events to suggest or want to request an ERF speaker for your group or organization contact Marti Conroy by email: Wrangler4504@gmail.com or phone: (520) 247-6097.

Posted 2/25/2019

Are You an ERF Member?

Did you know that in 2018 membership dues provided 36% of the Foundation’s income?   ERF’s first membership drive was held in 2002 to implement one of the Foundation’s strategic planning goals– to expand the number of interested, contributing members to provide a continuing source of funds for preservation and outreach programs, and to participate in Empire Ranch Foundation programs and activities.  Current membership in 2018 totaled 367.

A strong membership base is as critical to ERF’s success today as then.  If you are not a member, please consider joining by clicking here.   If you are a member we hope your membership is current.  If you’re unsure of your membership status contact Lahsha Brown, ERF Administrator.

Updated 2/24/2019

Special Milestone Celebration

Over 250 guests attended the Empire Ranch Foundation special milestone celebration on Saturday, March 23, 2019 to commemorate the stabilization and preservation work on the historic 1876 Empire Ranch House.  Click here to view photos of the event.

Updated 3/24/2019