In 1961, The Mining Camp Restaurant, a family-style steakhouse in Apache Junction, became a favorite to locals and Superstition Mountain tourists alike. In July 2017, the business tragically burned down, and the community quickly pulled together at Hitching Post Saloon to support employees who had lost their jobs overnight.
“We live two miles from the Hitching Post Saloon and less than one mile from Mining Camp Restaurant,” said Karen Smith, Willmeng Superintendent Patrick Smith’s wife. “We were shocked and horrified when we heard the news about the restaurant that we frequent at least once a week. We wanted to do something, but didn’t know what.” When Patrick and Karen learned that employees of the Hitching Post Saloon shared the same sentiment, the idea of a having a fundraiser was born.
Patrick went to Willmeng President James Murphy for support. He jumped at the opportunity to have Willmeng become the sponsor of the weekend festivities that were complete with live music, bull riding, an auction and 50/50 raffle. Bands that performed included Barking Dog, The McNasty Brothers, The RJ Band and High Noon.
“The Barking Dog loves playing music and helping out the community in time of need,” said Willmeng Superintendent Don Gleash, the band’s lead singer and guitarist. “We enjoyed our day with all the musicians and Willmeng staff, and look forward to playing at the grand opening of the new Mining Camp Restaurant.”
The fundraiser drew the community together and raised more than $20,000 which was donated to the owners of the restaurant to help their employees. The restaurant has since announced plans to rebuild.
“We have to say a special thank you to James. He is an amazing guy,” said Karen. “He made a huge raffle donation and showed his support in so many ways.”