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Ripon VFW murder mystery dinner Saturday
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A partial cast of the Ripon Veterans of Foreign Wars Murder Mystery presentation of “Gravestone” includes, front row, from left Miguel Valdez, Dean Uecker, and Wayne Wright. Back row; Leslie Alday, Doc Van Wagner, Joanne Velez and Rosa Torres. - photo by GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

Ripon’s Veterans of Foreign Wars is staging a Murder Mystery Dinner at the post home on West Ripon Road at Olive Avenue on Saturday night, April 6.

 The no host bar opens at 5 p.m. with the $15 tri-tip dinner and slapstick comedy at 6 p.m. 

The play is about the state of affairs in Gravestone, Arizona, where the mayor fears for his life and hasn’t seen the sun for six months.  With the last three sheriffs having been mysteriously shot in the back, Gravestone had become a lawless town run by a bunch of outlaws known as, “The Ranchers.”

Wylie Arp, the sheriff of Duck City, Kansas, left his career as a lawman and traveled west to Gravestone with his brothers and friends.  He had planned to sink his life’s savings into a business and live out the rest of his days free from the stress of law enforcement.  Little did the Sheriff know what was waiting for him in Gravestone.

Soon after Wylie and his group arrived in town, the mayor asked Bella Starry to invite everyone in town for a celebration.  The mayor had high hopes that Wylie and his brothers would consider taking over as the law enforcement agents in town and getting the Ranchers under control or better yet .  .  . running them out of town.

Everyone in town gathered at the Gravestone Saloon – even some of the Ranchers and other outlaws.  A reward poster surfaced and rumors of secret codes hidden around town leading to a hidden treasure in a Gravestone cave flew around the room.  In order to avoid conflict at the saloon, the towns people enjoyed cocktails and appetizers and Bella got the celebration going with party games.

A delectable wild west dinner was served followed by more fun challenges enjoyed by the guests until someone was discovered to have been murdered in cold blood.  The townsfolk rallied together to investigate the homicide. 

Former Ripon Mayor Dean Uecker comes dressed as U.S. Army Scout Calamity Janie – a tall-tail telling force to be reckoned with.  A one-time Great Plains cattle herder turned U.S. Scout, who had proven herself as a rugged lady and used to be a trick shooter in Bronco Bill’s traveling Wild Western Show.  Cowpokes say this gal you should never be double crossed, as she’s not called Calamity Janie for nothing. 

Wayne Wright is playing the part of the historic American outlaw Jesse James who has always veered on the wrong side of the law since he could walk.  He’s a member of the Jesse-Young gang made up of a band of brothers.  During the Civil war, they engaged in guerilla warfare.  Today there is a huge reward out for his capture by the U.S. government for his many crimes and bank robberies, horse thievery and even murder.

Doc Van Wagener is in the part of Doc Galaday and is Wylie Arp’s right-hand man as a deputy.  Doc rides the fence on both sides of the law. His reputation has made him a terror in the hearts of the lawless.  Doc is a physician by trade but his tuberculosis has drastically reduced his number of patients.  He often supplements his income with gambling. 

Josephine Marco plays the part of entrepreneur and girlfriend of Wylie Arm.  Josephine made a fortune as an entrepreneur in the California Gold Rush when she was only 15.  She later traveled in her stagecoach through the Wild West in search of the next boom town.  She eventually met her true love, Wyle Arp.  Every since these two met, they’ve been inseparable.  She’s the main reason Wylie left his career as the Duck City Sheriff.  They moved to Gravestone to settle down, get married and raise a family. 

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To contact Glenn Kahl, email