Pizza, ice cream, soda pops
“If you have a pizza place, tell them to get ready,” says Cahill. “The Scouts seem to love that pizza. And hamburgers.”
“They come to town and it’s hamburgers, pizza and ice cream,” says Kutz, whose old-fashioned soda fountain popular among Scouts.
The junk food, she says, is a refreshing change from what they’ve been eating.
“They’ve been on the trail for 10 days eating dehydrated food.”
It has become something of a rite of passage for Scouts to make a meal of pizza in Cimarron after their rigorous hike at Philmont is over.
Simple Simon’s Pizza is their go-to dinner spot. A franchise with locations across the southern Midwest, Simple Simon’s sells the usual pizza, calzones, wings and sandwiches in “a fun-filled, family atmosphere.”
They are also open year-round, which locals appreciate during the winter months when crowds dwindle.
“We have everything from fine dining to fast food,” says Saunders of Cimarron’s restaurant landscape, but she admits there aren’t a ton of options.
She has capitalized on the situation by partnering with a local restaurant, The Porch, to offer catered meals and sack lunches to the Scouts who stay at her inn.
Offering “some kind of food that’s native to your area” near The Summit would be smart, she says.
Given Cimarron’s southwest flavor, perhaps it’s no surprise that Burrito Banquet is another popular place for local meals.
Its owner sells burritos during lunch hours from a food truck for three summer months out of the year and makes enough cash to help support her life as a potter the rest of the time.
Beds and bunks
Often the first opportunity for Scouts to impact Cimarron’s local economy is their choice of where to bed down for the night before they check in at Philmont.
Sometimes they arrive one or more days before a backpacking expedition begins, in which case they stay at the ranch or at a local accommodation.
During the summer, Cimarron’s lodging businesses stay very busy.
RV parks, tent camping areas and hotels do their best to meet customers’ needs, which includes offering a variety of set-ups at a variety of price points.
“They have a range of budgets,” says Saunders. “Some can afford to sleep two Scouts to a room, and others are looking for a bunkhouse situation.”
She says her inn bends over backward to cater to the Boy Scouts, who most often come in groups of 12. After her first year in business, she realized that in addition to regular lodging, there was a need for a bunkhouse.
So she built The Casita — which sleeps 12 and offers a full kitchen for $20 a head — specifically for Scouts, though it is also used for family reunions and groups of hunters.
“A lot of the things you do will translate to being available for other guests, too,” she says.
A huge piece of the puzzle is promoting what there is to see and do in the surrounding area, aside from a visit to Philmont.
When people make a trip this far out, they usually want to see other area attractions. Other regional draws include four ski resorts, a huge arts community in Taos and a vast National Rifle Association shooting range.