Annual chuck wagon event coming to Tumbleweed Ranch

SanTan Sun News Staff

Chandler’s Tumbleweed Ranch will host the Chandler Chuck Wagon Cook-off November 11-12, offering a unique family-friendly event that features a Dutch oven cooking competition in which 1880s style chuck wagon teams cook five courses, meat, potatoes, beans, bread and dessert, over a wood fire.

The Ranch is an event space within Tumbleweed Park, 2250 S. McQueen Road.

While the main culinary competition is on Saturday, this year’s event has expanded into Nov. 11 with a sunset dinner.

People can watch the sun set over the chuck wagons and enjoy music from DJ Figueroa and a catered dinner by Chandler’s own West Alley BBQ. Appetizers and desserts will be prepared by the chuck wagon teams. Tickets are $45.

On Saturday, the Chuck Wagon Cook-off runs from 10 am to 2 pm with free parking, admission and activities. Meals are served at noon.

Meal tickets are $15 and can be purchased in advance at the Pardners of Tumbleweed Ranch website. Each wagon cooks 50 meals, and the tickets always sell out quickly. Judges will reward the best meals with cash prizes.

Tickets for both the Friday evening event and Saturday lunch are available at

The Chuck Wagon Cook-off is hosted by the nonprofit Pardners of Tumbleweed Ranch, and the Chandler Museum. Funds raised help develop educational outreach opportunities at Tumbleweed Ranch.

“Think of the Old West chuck wagon as the first food truck and the black iron pot, called a Dutch oven or camp oven, was the original slow cooker,” said Dave McDowell, President of the Pardners of Tumbleweed Ranch. “The whole family will love the nostalgia of this event and the delicious comfort food prepared by some of the Southwest’s best chefs.”

Saturday’s activities include trick roping with Cowboy Steve, a Lil’ Rustlers kids’ game area and more.

“The Chandler Chuck Wagon Cook-off is one of the Valley’s most unique culinary events,” said Chandler Museum Administrator Jody Crago. “We have worked with Pardners of Tumbleweed Ranch for over a decade and it’s exciting to see how much the event has grown in popularity.”

For over ten years, this signature culinary event has provided attendees with the rare experience of the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of authentic 1880s chuck wagons. Teams from across the West compete using slow-cook, wood-fire methods from the time period.

The Pardners is a group of volunteers who help interpret Chandler’s agricultural heritage through programs and events, while also enhancing Tumbleweed Ranch’s amenities.