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Cy Scarborough, co-founder of Bar D Chuckwagon, dies at 93

Iconic Durango entertainer was also a husband, father and grandfather
Cy Scarborough, center, co-founder of the Bar D Chuckwagon, tells a story before playing a song with the Bar D Wranglers in 2017. Scarborough, 93, died Monday from natural causes complicated by underlying health conditions.

Cy C. Scarborough, a businessman, comedian and entertainer who performed for millions of guests at Durango’s iconic Bar D Chuckwagon, died Monday of natural causes complicated by underlying health conditions, his family said.

He was 93.

Friends and family remembered Scarborough as a Durango icon with a big heart, big smile and enduring sense of humor.

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Owner Al Harper said Scarborough became one of his closest friends when Harper moved to town about 24 years ago.

“He went out of his way to come to the railroad to meet me and introduce himself, just telling me how much he loved the railroad, and he wanted to be my friend,” he said. “Anything I needed to establish in the community, he was there for me.”

Harper said Scarborough was an “icon, a tremendous asset for this community,” and if there’s one thing he will remember him for it’s Scarborough’s big heart – and that he could entertain an audience like nobody’s business.

“He was kind to everybody. I never ever heard him say a bad word about anybody or anything,” Harper said. “He always had a smile and something good to say, and that’s a rare commodity. But then after that, what an entertainer! He just grabbed an audience – this is one of Durango’s greatest losses in a long time. He’s just a terrific guy.”

Cy Scarborough, center, tells a story before playing a song with the Bar D Wranglers in 2017. Scarborough, 93, died Monday from natural causes complicated by underlying health conditions.
Cy Scarborough, center, co-founder of the Bar D Chuckwagon.

Scarborough was born Jan. 12, 1927, in Horatio, Arkansas, to Maude and Wilbur Scarborough. He moved to Colorado Springs in 1946 after serving in the U.S. Army and marrying his “hometown sweetheart,” Charlotte Averitt. They were divorced in 1958.

In 1965, he married Mary Naranjo, and when that marriage ended, he married Jeanne Mayer in the late 1970s.

Scarborough moved to Durango in 1969 after entertaining at the Flying W Chuckwagon for 25 years. He, along with Jim Blanton and Roy “Buck” Teeter, founded the Bar D Chuckwagon Suppers north of Durango that opened in 1969 and continues to operate today, drawing tourists from around the world.

Scarborough said in a 2018 interview celebrating the Bar D’s 50th summer season that the idea of the Bar D was based on the traditional cowboy chuckwagons.

“A chuckwagon followed the trail ride with the chuck on it – with all the food,” he said. “The chuckwagon would meet up with the trail drivers where the cows were every night, and they would have dinner, and the next morning, they would have breakfast and take on off with the cows.”

Scarborough stopped entertaining for the summer shows of the Bar D Wranglers in about 2010, but he made guest appearances on numerous occasions performing comedy tunes through 2019. He retired from managing the Bar D the same year.

Scarborough was preceded in death by his ex-wife, Charlotte Scarborough, and son, Michael Scarborough.

Scarborough is survived by his wife, Jeanne Scarborough of Durango; sons Rick Scarborough of Durango and Kevin Scarborough of Wisconsin; grandchildren Ellie and Andrew; and four great-grandchildren.

“He will be missed as a well-known Durango businessman and really funny comedian and entertainer who performed to more than 5 million chuckwagon guests at two chuckwagon businesses over 75 years, and as a caring and loving husband, father, grandfather and ‘best friend’ to so many in the Durango community,” his family said in a written statement.

A graveside memorial will be held for the immediate family, and a private celebration of life for close family and friends will be held at the Bar D Chuckwagon at a later date.

katie@durangoherald.com

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