The Boss Lady, Marilyn Kelch Gubler, and her family are bonafide Westerners.
Her parents settled in Las Vegas in 1939 to realize their dream of putting down roots in the mysterious Mojave Desert. Real Vegas pioneers, they started the first radio station in the Las Vegas Valley KENO. Maxwell and Laura Belle Kelch are listed in Las Vegas history books among the most important early citizens.
Marilyn started keeping her own horse when she was in 7th grade, often riding it to school. Now, she has a remuda of 21 horses, several colts, 70 long-horned cattle at last count (the darn things just keep multiplying), numerous pigs, goats, and chickens, plus the able staff to support them – all at Sandy Valley Ranch.
In 1997 Marilyn bought 160 acres of mesquite and Joshua tree-covered range and began to carve SVR out of the hidden valley formed by the graceful mountain ranges that guard the entrance to the Las Vegas Valley. “When, I drove over the Columbia Pass into Sandy Valley, I knew: This was it. The whole place reminded me of the western spirit of my childhood,” she concludes.
Once SVR was christened and mapped, Including a Piute Indian “smudging” ceremony to encourage good spirits, The Boss Lady and her team started construction, leveling the desert, hauling in gravel, installing power, water and telephone lines. Construction began on April Fools’ Day, 1999 – a date whose irony is not lost on any of The Boss Lady’s quirkier friends. SVR opened for business officially in February, 2000.
In 2017, Marilyn was honored with a Legacy Award from the Nevada Lung Association, for her years of hard work and dedication to their cause.
SVR is a family affair. You’ve heard of Spaghetti Westerns? Well, Thomas DiGiacomo (He prefers to be called Tommy D), Marilyn’s husband, is SVR’s very own Italian Cowboy. He hails from Newark, New Jersey, where he got his style roaming the streets of the city with a band of trouble-making friends. He’s an avid golfer and has created an unusual driving range in SVR’s cow pasture, complete with special SVR printed flag sticks. He can be seen frequently on Las Vegas television and plays pursuing his passion for acting.
Laura Dahl, Boss Lady’s daughter and part owner of the Ranch,is a former New York fashion designer creating the brands “Wifebeader” and “Laura Dahl,” that were sold at Nordstrom’s Savvy, Anthropologie, and hundreds of boutiques.
Now she and her husband, Timothy Dahl, have founded the popular family website Built by Kids. As Laura explains, “It doesn’t take a lot of money or a contractor’s license to connect with our children and make lifelong memories together. It just takes a little inspiration, some good old fashioned elbow grease and time.” The site provides parents with everything they need to create “Do it Yourself” projects with their children. The site was recently one of 5 nominees for the Academy Awards of the internet in the parenting category of the Webbys. They’re very proud to be in the company of nominees like Sesame Street.
Laura and Tim now have their own “kid,” Boss Lady’s first grandchild, Hunter Presley Dahl. Boss Lady bought Hunter a mini-horse that he is already riding. They visit Nevada often, getting back to fashion with their Wranglers and, spurs and the official blue denim of SVR.
Laura’s husband, Timothy Dahl, created the original SVR website and has gone on to work on the websites of This Old House, Elle Decor, Metropolitan Home, Woman’s Day, and Popular Mechanics. He is also the founder and editor of Charles & Hudson, a premier DIY home renovation site and Tool Crave.
And Matthew, the Boss Lady’s son, enjoys a career as a director/artist/songwriter and actor. His credits include the character Nico in Wes Anderson’s “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and “RV” with Bill Murray. For all the Chipmunk fans, he is the voice of Simon in the 4 movies. He had a supporting role in “500 Days of Summer,” the Sundance winner that premiered in the summer of 2009. He has been seen for ten seasons on CBS’ “Criminal Minds” playing Dr. Spencer Reid. He has directed eight of the CM episodes. Matthew wrote, directed, and produced music videos for the song Reagan by Whirlwind Heat, Soko’s First Love Never Die and the Killers’ 2008 Christmas video, “Don’t Shoot Me Santa,” all of which were filmed at the Ranch. He also owns CornStalk Recordings. For more on Matthew, check out his websites at Gublerland.com.