Known as the oldest and largest sightseeing company in the world, Papillon Group is extending its services to include Buck Wild Hummer Tours with custom built Humvee excursions.
After 50 plus years of serving the Grand Canyon, Jake Tomlin, President of Buck Wild Hummer Tours and Grand Canyon Scenic Airlines (subsidiaries of Papillon Group), wanted to offer service from the beginning to the end. “We’re always thinking of the best ways to add value to our customers’ experience and this seemed to be an excellent fit.”
The first step was Hiring Stoney Ward, general manager of Buck Wild Hummer Tours. “We needed somebody who is fun, adventurous and knows what they’re doing,” said Tomlin. “Stoney’s years of experience with ground tours and adventurer operator was exactly what we were looking for.”
“I’m an adventurous guy and love the outdoors,” said Ward, who owned an outdoor recreation company in Las Vegas. Prior to his position with Buck Wild Hummer Tours, Ward was a white water instructor, ropes course and zip line trainer, professional guide and life coach. He also completed a survival course with Bear Grylls Survival Academy.
Based in Tusayan, the Buck Wild Hummer Tours offers repurposed military Humvees customized with theater-style (forward-facing) stadium seats with the capacity for 13 passengers. “You get the full sight of the canyon with no heads blocking your view,” explained Ward.
The open air and big window seating allows for airflow in the spring/summer months and offers the capability to fully enclose for the cooler fall/winter months. A heating system both in front and back provides warmth, plus blankets are also an option for cooler days.
Woods says his goal is to make every tour special. “We offer both private and commercial trips and we focus on our clients’ needs. Our tour operators are trained to work with children and we’re looking into translation devices to assist with our foreign visitors.”
He added that every tour is customized and not designed with prefabricated dialogue. “Some guests just want a private tour of the Grand Canyon with nothing but music playing, and that’s fine with us.”
“I highly recommend these guided tours,” said Emily Hetner, a California customer who rode the two-hour Signature Sunset tour, which visits panoramic sites along the South Rim. “It was breathtaking and I really loved the narration. In particular, I enjoyed having a guide.”
Laura Chastian, general manager of the Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce, is excited to have a new tour company serving the area. “When people take a tour as part of their Grand Adventure, their appreciation and understanding of the Grand Canyon is increased. Increased awareness will help us take care of this natural wonder for generations to come.”
According to the Buck Wild Hummer Tours website, Humvees first debuted in 1985 with U.S. soldiers referring to them as Jeeps on steroids. The versatile vehicle served as troop carriers, command centers and ambulances. Arnold Schwarzenegger became smitten with the beefy Hummer and is credited for bringing the vehicle to the public’s attention.
When asked, “why Hummers,” Geoff Edlund, president of Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopter and Vice-President of Wild Buck Hummer Tours, says he really likes the comfortable ride. “I experienced a Hummer tour at Catalina Island and the layout of the vehicle and theater seating was really nice. It’s also interesting, from a historic standpoint, how the vehicle has been used.”
Though the two terms overlap, Hummer refers to the civilian models and Humvee refers to the military models, according to online resource. FBN
By Veronica Tierney, FBN
The Signature tours offered by Buck Wild Hummer Tours are sunset, private, sunset private and customized. For more information, visit buckwildhummertours.com or call 928-362- 5940. The Buck Wild Terminal is located at 469 State Route 64, Suite A in Tusayan.