The Arabian Nights show, part of the entertainment on Wednesday evening of RCMA 2008 in Orlando, made me curious. Who came up with the idea of a dinner show that stars horses? Well, it turns out the Arabian Nights saga began a long way from Orlando — in the American Southwest.
It wouldn't be a good idea for me to found a horse show. I don't know horses, and I'm no entertainer. But it made sense for Mark and Galen Miller. Mark was surrounded by horses as he grew up; I'm talking about really nice horses. Noble horses worth a lot of money. Horses whose coats glisten and whose muscles ripple, even when they're standing still.
Mark's mother, Bazy Tankersley, is a nationally acclaimed breeder of Arabians; she owns Al-Marah Arabian Horses in Tucson. Mark, too, wanted to spend his working life around horses, but his business idea was a little different from his mom's.
Mark's goal was to create an entertainment palace where hot-shot riders and skilled trainers from all over could work with horses of all breeds. Mark would charge admission and serve the patrons a great meal. The result was Arabian Nights, a dramatic dinner show that features beautiful horses from around the world. Arabian Nights is performed in the world's largest indoor equestrian arena for a permanent show.
The business idea has been a terrific success. Its honors are many, including: “Best Themed Restaurant” from Orlando magazine, “Best Dinner Show” (Florida Living magazine), “City's Best Theme Restaurant” (AOL Cityguide), “City's Best Family-Friendly Restaurant” (AOL Cityguide), and The Odyssey award (Travel Industry of America).
But this might be the show's greatest feat: It has become the most honored show of its kind while remaining a family business. And now the next generation has joined the business; Mark and Galen's daughter Hanna recently joined the show as executive vice president of entertainment.
One more thing about the Millers: They have a sense of humor. The Arabian Nights show opened February 29, 1988. Only people who like to have a laugh would open their business on February 29.
With this issue, Let me know what you think of the new look!is wearing a new suit of clothes. RCM has been redesigned in a bold, professional, energetic style that I think you will enjoy. The design was created from the enthusiasm and talent of art director John Herr, and the attention to detail and knowledge of RCMA possessed by assistant managing editor Kristen Payson. Going through a redesign is like running a marathon, sans blisters and cheering crowds: scary, crazy, exhilarating, exhausting, but a whole lot of fun.