By Robin Sewell | Television on the highways of Arizona
TOMBSTONE – Arizona has come a long way since the days of the Wild West and its storied past. There are still plenty of cowboys out there, you can always leave when the sun goes down, but no more “break everything in its place” saloon fights, sleazy lawmen and the infamous gunmen who took the law into their own hands. hand.
We may not have that kind of vigilante justice anymore, but the Old West mystique is still alive and well in Tombstone, known as the town too tough to die.
The shootout at the OK Corral only lasted 30 seconds, but it was enough to put Tombstone on the map and ultimately make it a thriving tourist destination.
On October 26, 1881, four men in long black coats walked down the dusty street of Fremont. Around the corner, behind the OK Corral, were six cowboys.
In a fateful 30 seconds, thirty shots were fired at point-blank range killing three people, wounding three others and becoming the most famous shooting in the history of the American Wild West.
One hundred and forty-one years later, the streets of Tombstone are still the same, but different. You can witness the daily re-enactment of that infamous shootout between Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Virgil and Morgan Earp against the McLaurys and the Clantons on the streets of the Tombstone Theatre.
Allen Street is still packed with saloons like Big Nose Kates and the Crystal Palace, but new concessions have also been staked. There are now tasting rooms by local wineries and an award-winning brewery on Tough-Nut. Old or new, one thing is for sure, Tombstone is one of a kind.
Take Johnny Fields for example. He’s a former RV salesman turned Salseparilla Slinger. He first made a name for himself walking around town with his dog. People would ask who is this guy and what does he do? One guy replied, “It’s John and his dog.” It goes on for months when another girl says, “Who is this guy, I see him all the time.” Another guy replied, “it’s Johnny One Dog”, hence the name stuck.
During his walks, Johnny One Dog said an idea came to him when he passed a small general store on 6th and Allen and saw a display of Sioux City Sarsaparilla. He thought, “Tombstone is more famous than Sioux City, Iowa, they should have their own Sarsaparilla.”
After some research, Johnny teamed up with a micro-brewery in Kansas City to make sarsaparilla especially for him. He scooped up enough money to buy a palette of specialty sodas and made labels and packaging emblazoned with the likes of Doc Holliday and the Earp Brothers.
He picked up a second-hand fridge, turned a rolling TV cart into a bar, and moved into an old stagecoach repair garage across from the OK Corral.
“All of a sudden I have 20 accounts. I’m selling, oh shit, maybe 5,000 bottles a month,” Johnny said.
He now has customers who come from five other states to buy his cases and he sells about 50,000 bottles a year, but Johnny says he has no plans to go mainstream.
“It turns into root beer. You go into mass production, and it screws everything up.
Johnny prefers his one-man business and enjoys personally delivering his own bottled soda. Just like the good old days when Tombstone was still a one-horse town.
New mixed with old. Tombstone will always be connected to its historic past, but like Johnny One Dog, there are a few new places that hope to be part of the narrative.