Nigel Turner and The Historic Grand Canyon Ranch Resort "In the News" from around the world:

Daily Star - UK

Las Vegas, Nevada

Viva forever

Daily Star Sunday Logo Daily Star Sunday Article

The bright lights of Vegas delighted as much as the ride over the Grand Canyon

And Vegas nudged further ahead in the tourism duel the next morning with a visit to one of the world's most awe-inspiring natural beauty spots right on its doorstep.

The Grand Canyon - two billion years of the Earth's geological history exposed in a 277-mile long, 18-mile wide and one-mile deep cavern - is just a two-hour car drive away.

But the best way to see it - and Vegas' famous five mile Strip containing 19 of the world's 25 biggest hotels - is by air.

Heli USA Airways run chopper rides from Vegas airport to the Canyon and their own buffalo ranch on the west rim from $169 per person.

Boss Nigel Turner is a Stockport-born. Sandhurst Royal Military Academy graduate who, after quitting the Army Air Corps, headed to the US to pursue his childhood dream of being a ranch hand.

Known locally as The English Cowboy, his fleet of helicopters will whisk you to the Canyon in 45 minutes - then plunge you 1,500 feet for nerve-jangling close-ups.

Lancashire Evening Post - UK

What happens in Vegas...

US first timer David Coates finds a few surprises when he flies to Sin City

Lancashire Evening Post Logo Lancashire Evening Post Article The Grand Canyon

WILD WEST: The Grand Canyon, only a 50-minute flight from Vegas

There is probably not another city in the world which has as many catchphrases and clichés written about it as Las vegas. If it's Sin City that you seek, you will have no problem finding it once you touch down in the middle of the Nevada desert.

But, if this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip, don't let yourself leave Nevada without jumping aboard a helicopter into neighbouring Arizona to check out the iconic Grand Canyon. I took the trip with HeliUSA, owned by Manchester-born Nigel Turner, which offers not only a great view over the Canyon, but also a trip to the Englishman's own ranch out there.

This is true Wild West stuff with genuine cowboy's lasooing cattle, horse-back rides through the desert and a chance to see the ranch's own herd of buffalo.

If the bright lights of vegas doesn't appeal one night, you can even stay out on the Western rim of the Grand Canyon in a pine lodge or Indian tipi.

Las Vegas can be a once-in-a-lifetime visit or, if you have the money, a more regular stay but there is no doubt it is a place with something for everyone and nothing within reason - cannot be found.

Essentially America - UK

Two Generations Discover the 'New' Las Vegas

An exhilarating experience

Essentially America

If the dam and the Vegas strip are manmade wonders, the Grand Canyon is one of Nature's marvels. A helicopter flight there with Heli USA - owned by former Army pilot Nigel Turner from Stockport - was an exhilarating experience, particularly when we plunged into the abyss to the strains of Thus Spake Zarathustra, before soaring along the canyon.

For a complete change from the non-stop action of Las Vegas, we stayed overnight at Heli USA's 106,000-acre Grand Canyon Ranch. Known as the Diamond Bar Ranch when it was owned by Tap Duncan, an outlaw who ran with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, it is overlooked by the mystical Spirit Mountain. After a sunset horseback trail ride, we headed back for a cowboy meal, songs round the campfire and a restful sleep in our pine cabins.

Daily Express- UK

Riding back to the Wild West

The piece de resistance

We arrived for our Wild West adventure after a heart-stopping 45-minute helicopter ride from Las Vegas, over the towering Hoover Dam, the vast Lake Mead and the extinct volcano, Fortification Hill, in the Nevada Desert.

We even passed over an old wartime landing strip that ends at the edge of a cliff, made famous in the final scene of hit movie Thelma and Louise.

But the piece de resistance was the Grand Canyon. It was even more awesome than I had imagined, a staggering mile-deep, 277-mile-long and 10-mile wide scar in the desert landscape.

We descended into the canyon, more than a thousand feet below its rim, soaring past towering stone buttresses and columns of every conceivable colour, before heading west to Grand Canyon Ranch, a 165-square mile working cattle station.

Our trip was over all too quickly and we wished we were staying overnight at one of the ranch's traditional log cabins (there are also tepees during the summer) rather than jetting back to the Strip.

Lancashire News - UK

No place like Vegas

And, now you can fly direct from Manchester Airport

Fabulous Las Vegas - there is no place like it on earth.

Amazing hotels and some of the best restaurants and shows in the world. And, now, getting to Sin City is easier than ever if you live in the North West, thanks to a new direct flight by Virgin Atlantic from Manchester Airport.

I am a seasoned traveller to the bright lights of Vegas, having first visited 21 years ago, and I can tell you that being able to travel the 5,000 or so miles in one flight, rather than changing airplanes in the UK or the USA is a massive advantage, especially if you are visiting for just a few days and you want to make the most of everything this 24 hour city has to offer. I was lucky enough to be invited on Virgin's inaugural flight from Manchester earlier this month.

Whether you are seated in economy, luxurious premium economy, or the super luxurious upper class cabins, the 10 hour journey - during which you are well looked after by the friendly cabin crew - literally flies by.

News of The World - UK

What DOESN'T happen in Vegas?

Spas, shopping, dining - Sin City has it all

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I had joined Virgin Atlantic's inaugural flight from Manchester earlier this month. With large comfy seats and friendly and attentive staff, it rated as one of the best flying experiences of my life.

And the following day I had the most exhilarating trip of my life... on a helicopter tour over Vegas (click here for more details).

I have to admit I was very nervous beforehand until the pilot explained his decades of experience.

As we swooped through the air above the glitzy famous Strip he pointed out the stars' homes and near life-size replicas of the Eiffel Tower, Venice's Grand Canal and Rome's Colosseum.

After 45 minutes I found myself hovering over one of the seven natural wonders of the world - the immense Grand Canyon - before descending straight into it.

Flying low through the massive split in the earth and passing through the colourful, rugged canyon walls was an unforgettable experience.

We landed at the Grand Canyon Ranch five miles away (www.grand canyonranch.com) which has a rich history of the Old West and is a working cattle ranch.

If you fancy getting a flavour of the John Wayne lifestyle, you can bed down in a pine cabin, eat buffalo burgers and listen to stories around the camp fire.

Sunday Mirror - UK

I Dude

How to Wed... in Vegas

Sunday Mirror Article

The Classic once in a lifetime experience in Las Vegas is a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon. Nigel Turner is from Stockport, Greater Manchester, but is an all American Success Story now. He owns Heli USA and his own dude ranch in Arizona. He is a former British Army Helicopter Pilot whose passengers have included former Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher. His guests fly in a fleet of luxury Pegasus helicopters from Las Vegas airport across the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead before they arrive at Nigel's Ranch in the Middle of the Grand Canyon Area. It's a magical Experience, rounded of with a horse ride and a chance to see the herd of buffalo that Nigel has re introduced into the wild, Helicopter Tours start at $169pp (£100) and rise to $499 (£300) for a day trip to Diamond Bar Ranch.

Sport & Fitness Magazine - UAE

Beyond the Lights

Exploring the Canyon in Style

Sport & Fitness Cover Sport & Fitness Article

No trip to Vegas would be complete without a trip to the Grand Canyon...

Heli USA are one of the most established operators when it comes to exploring the canyon in style, namely in a helicopter! After first fearing the trip may be somewhat 'gimmicky' we ended up with an experience that will live long in the memory.

Just getting a unique view of The Strip itself is fascinating enough and you can see for miles around and right across the Las Vegas Valley. During the trip you also take in such sights as Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, Fortification Hill and Boulder Basin… You then descend 1,500 ft into the Canyon itself, which is even more breathtaking than it looks in pictures and on television. Everywhere you look there is a vivid swathe of ever-changing colour with dramatic rock formations framing the vast river-carved rim.

From the rim of the Canyon you fly to HeliUSA's 'Grand Canyon Ranch' for a taste of the good ole' Wild West. The ranch was the brainchild of the company's English owner, Nigel Turner, who purchased the 106,000-acre site and restored it to its former glory in 2002. Despite his English roots, Turner has done a stellar job in creating an authentic experience...

If you want to escape the manmade neon jungle of Vegas for a while this is definitely the trip to do and if you don't fancy the Ranch, HeliUSA also combine the Canyon experience with a range of other activities. You can raft down the Colorado River through the spectacular Black Canyon and gain a unique perspective of the imposing Hoover Dam or opt for a ground adventure in the shape of a narrated SUV tour.

Gold Coast Magazine - AUS

Living it up in Las Vegas

One of the best moments

Gold Coast Article

A visit to Las Vegas is not complete without a trip to the Grand Canyon. Heli USA offer the most compre-hensive and entertaining trip to the Canyon in Las Vegas.

The company will kindly collect you from your hotel and take you to the airport where you can watch the private casino jets fly in 'the whales' or big spending gamblers. Once in the air you can see the Hoover Dam and straight down the middle of the Grand Canyon which is just as spectacular. You also stop at the Grand Canyon Ranch for lunch, a beverage or two and you can even ride a horse through the desert at sunset, which I highly recommend. Yeeha!

Once back in the chopper we flew back over 'the strip' which I would rate as one of the best moments I experienced on our visit to Las Vegas.

The Sheffield Star - UK

Nigel feels at home on the range

A real-life cowboy working the lands of the American wild west

The Sheffield Star Logo Nigel Turner

Nigel Turner, owner of the Historic Grand Canyon Ranch, on his horse Rony

Nigel Turner is one of a dying breed in the 21st century - he is a real-life cowboy working the lands of the American wild west.

What's even more unusual is that Nigel Turner is a Penistone lad.

The 54-year-old, who once played cowboys and Indians round the lanes and farms of Oxspring, now owns a 165-square-mile ranch in Arizona, complete with 300 cattle, 50 horses and a herd of buffalo.

He also has a home in Beverly Hills ("four doors down from the Beckhams," he says), once helicoptered Margaret Thatcher around Berlin, and built up his own Los Angeles tour business, only to see it collapse after the 1994 city riots and earthquake.

"It's been," he says, "quite some journey from South Yorkshire."

Turner family

He's not wrong.

It has led him to the American desert where he sits today, dressed in chaps and hat, his horse Rony tethered nearby, the furious sun beating down.

"It's been my dream to have somewhere like this ever since I was a kid," he says. "Growing up in South Yorkshire I was always mad keen on the Wild West. I remember my granddad would play cowboys and Indians with me or take me to Penistone Cinema to watch John Wayne films, and it's just unbelievable now to be helping to preserve a little bit of that incredible history.

"Cowboys are a dying breed - not because there's no young Americans who want to be cowboys but because of the industrialisation of farming, and that's such a tragedy. It is a skill, an art, a part of history that really shouldn't be allowed to be forgotten.

Nigel Turner

"We have buffalo here, hundreds of cattle, cowboys on horseback working the ranch. We like tourists to come and visit us but I always stress this: it is a working ranch above all else."

So, the obvious question: How did an Englishman, whose grandfather never even left South Yorkshire and spent 50 years working as a metal grinder at Oxspring Mill, come to own a ranch in the American desert?

There's a not-so-obvious answer, and it all starts when, as a British Army pilot, Nigel gave Margaret Thatcher a helicopter ride over Berlin.

"All the world leaders who came to the city were given an orientation air tour," says Nigel, who left Penistone before he started school but would spend entire summers there with his grandparents, Daisy and Austin Wordsworth. "I was assigned to give Margaret Thatcher a tour and after the 15-minute flight, she was fascinated and wanted to keep going and know more.

Grand Canyon helicopter tours

"It struck me that all her defences had come down because she found it so amazing, and I thought I could do this for everyone. This could be a great tourist idea."

So after leaving the army in 1986 the Newcastle University graduate moved to the US, bought an old piston engine chopper ("it was like the helicopter out of M*A*S*H," he says) and started an air tours business based in Los Angeles.

"It was just incredibly popular," he says. "I remember we had a story in the local paper and the night after it went in the phone at the flat - which doubled as our office phone - didn't stop ringing.

"I needed eight hours sleep because I was flying the next morning but we couldn't afford to lose the bookings - so I went and slept on the beach while my friend took the calls pretty much right through the night."

Real cowboys

At its height he reckons Heli LA, as he called the business, was flying around 30,000 tourists a year - as well as the odd LA high-flyer who wanted to arrive at parties or business meetings in style.

Then came the riots. Then came the earthquake.

"1994 was just a horrible year for Los Angeles," he says. "Overseas tourism collapsed, and I couldn't really survive. It was very seasonal anyway and that summer there was just no-one coming to the city.

"I'd been to Las Vegas a few times and I had this idea about doing tours to the Grand Canyon from there, so I put what money I had into buying three more helicopters and went for it. Before us, there were only really plane tours and you can't go down into the canyon itself in a plane, you can only look at it from 1,000 feet up. With a helicopter you can go right into the rim, and I thought 'That's our selling point'."

Two children

His idea was, to say the least, popular.

"We've flown 1.2 million people since 1996, and there's never anything but positive feedback," he says.

"Tourists are astounded by everything from the canyon itself to Las Vegas from the air, to the Hoover Dam, even to the desert landscape."

But it was Nigel who was astounded during a flight in 2000 when he first noticed the Diamond Bar Ranch he would come to buy.

"There was a mountain lion standing on a ridge with her cubs and I remember saying to my passengers - they were a German family - how incredible it was. I said to them 'You won't ever see anything like that again'.

"I studied zoology at Newcastle University when I was 18 and I've always been into animals, and after seeing that I kept my eye on the ranch."

When it came up for sale in 2002 he bought it.

As is tradition with cowboys, there was minimal paperwork.

"I shook the guy's hand and that was more or less that," he says. "There was a bond between us as soon as we met - we trusted each other.

"People said I was crazy to do it because I had no experience of cattle and horses, and because the place was a little neglected but it just seemed perfect to me, like all those boyhood dreams coming true."

Nearly 10 years on he says he has not regretted the purchase for a single second. He has reintroduced buffalo to the area, boosted cattle numbers and now employs 12 full-time cowboys to help run the ranch.

Combining the property - renamed Grand Canyon Ranch - with his helicopter business, he does a package deal where tourists board a flight in Las Vegas, see the Grand Canyon by air, then land at the farmstead to spend a day on the working ranch, even sampling buffalo burgers for lunch.

For the especially adventurous he has built basic log cabins where visitors can spend the night, as long as they don't mind the calls of coyotes in the silent desert night.

Nigel stays there half the week - and the other half goes back to Beverly Hills where his wife Lesley and two young children Eden and Sarina are based.

The sun's setting now in Arizona.

"It's a bit different to Oxspring," he says. "Although I love both places.

"Sometimes I'm still amazed at how everything has worked out."

Bolton News - UK

Take a helicopter ride to another world

Go back in time to the Grand Canyon - just a 45-minute flight from the lights of Vegas

The Bolton News Logo The Bolton News Article

Last week, Ian Savage reported from Las Vegas, where upscale hotels and restaurants are helping to transform Sin City's (largely inaccurate) image as a cheap and tacky gambling Mecca. This week he found out that as well as all the attractions on the city, there is plenty going on which will transport you, literally, to a different world...

Imagine one of the most awe-inspiring sights on earth - the Grand Canyon, one of the natural wonders of the world.

Two hundred and seventy seven miles long, up to 15 miles wide and a mile deep, with rocks at its depths that are more than 250 million years old.

Now picture that astonishing spectacle seen from the cockpit of a helicopter as you fly straight into it.

I have previously visited all of the Canyon's rims - North, South and West - but never have I experienced anything like the rush of skimming over the edge and then down deep into the chasm. The flight, with Heli USA, was part of a four-night trip on Virgin Atlantic's inaugural flight earlier this month from Manchester to Las Vegas. To get to the awesome South Rim of the Canyon, in neighbouring Arizona is a six hour drive. And it's a good two hour journey by car to the West Rim, home of the infamous (and unfortunately way too commercial) Sky Walk. But in a helicopter, a trip to the Canyon is just 45 minutes from Vegas's McCarran International Airport.

And what a trip it is! If you have never been in a helicopter it is a strange but exhilarating feeling as you quickly ascend and then hover over the city below. The brief journey, interspersed with snippets of info from our friendly pilot, took us over the Nevada border and the magnificent Hoover Dam, completed in 1936 (and originally named the Boulder Dam after nearby Boulder City which housed the thousands of workers who toiled on its construction).

The dam was constructed on the Colorado river to provide the area with electricity and its completion led to a new body of water just a short drive from Vegas... Lake Mead, now popular with city dwellers keen to escape the soaring desert temperatures in the summer.

From there it is just half an hour to reach the Canyon. And what an incredible feeling as the helicopter whizzed over the edge and into the enormous fissure in the landscape. Suddenly, I was hovering over the Canyon, with the Colorado river that formed it over hundreds of millions of years thousands of metres below.

The pilot took us deeper to get a closer look and the different colours of the ancient rocks. An amazing sight. A further five minute flight took us to the nearby Grand Canyon Ranch, a working ranch, around 165 square miles in area, which gives a fascinating glimpse into what life was - and still is - like in the old West.

The ranch and the helicopter tour company Heli USA are both owned by Stockport man Nigel Turner, a former military pilot who saw a gap in the market for well organised flying tours to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas in the early 1990s. Nigel, who has been bewitched by the Western USA since he was a boy watching John Wayne films on TV at his home in Offerton, acquired the ranch, which is bigger in area than Manchester, in 2002.

He spent two years of hard work and lots of money renovating the buildings, at the same time carefully ensuring that they retained their historic charm. The Diamond Bar ranch was established in the middle of the 19th century as part of the Mormon Trail, a 1,300 mile trek from America's Mid West to Salt Lake Valley in Utah, where the Mormons founded Salt Lake City. A notorious gunfighter, Tap Duncan set up home at the ranch after riding with Butch Cassidy's Hole in the Wall Gang. Nowadays, there are still real live cowboys and cowgirls running the operation.

When we had landed at one of the helicopter pads at the ranch, we were taken in a horse drawn wagon, to the main building, where a western-style meal awaited us, along with a brief and gentle horse ride (an optional extra, payable locally) through the classic scenery, populated with Joshua Trees, to be greeted by real cowboy entertainers, who shared their stories and songs - and we also got a glimpse of wild buffalo.

Nigel is passionate about the plight of the buffalo in the USA, which were almost wiped out in a 30 year period between 1865 and 1895, slaughtered mercilessly - not even for food - by the white man, who saw removing the Indian population's main source of meat as part of their strategy to starve them back onto the reservations.

He has introduced wild buffalo (they can weigh up to a tonne each when fully grown and can run at speeds of 35mph for five minutes at a time) to the ranch and it is evidently one of the achievements he is most proud of.

He said: "Buffalo are magnificent animals. They cannot be domesticated, but they are so much a part of the Western American landscape that it is fantastic to have them on the ranch and give people the chance to see them in the natural setting."

The ranch has luxurious wooden cabins for hire for overnight stays and is soon to launch an overnight campout where you can saddle up, ride into the sunset with an experienced guide and stay at a rustic cowboy camp and listen to traditional tales around a camp fire.

It's a world away from the bright lights and hustle and bustle of Las Vegas!

Manchester Evening News - UK

Bright lights, big views and a bit of Elvis

A brash, beautiful mouth watering and nail biting tour of Las Vegas

Manchester Evening News Logo Manchester Evening News Article

THRILL RIDE: Jennifer's view of the Grand canyon from the six-man helicopter

From street level, Las Vegas twinkles like a rhinestone on an Elvis impersonator - strange, brash and wonderful. As it turns out, it is no different from 3,000 feet.

I consider this while being whisked out on a helicopter ride to the Grand Canyon, heart in mouth.

From up here, the strip quickly peters out into motels, which in turn peter out into dust and Joshua trees.

Beyond them the craters and red rock of Utah stretch out into the far, far distance

I'm off on the trip of a lifetime.

This ride will take me off the strip, over the canyon and on again into northern Arizona's cowboy-land, kicking off my four-day tour of Vegas. Yeh-hah.

But for me, this bit is skinwhiteningly terrifying.

My comfort zone is firmly on the ground, within lurching distance of a bar, pool or random item of culture.

None of these are available on the tiny six-man chopper.

But there's no going back.

When you're offered a helicopter ride over one of the seven natural wonders of the world, it seems churlish to say no.

So I don't - despite a rising panic - and settle in for the ride.

I am quickly absorbed with faces about the Grand Canyon.

For example, our helicopter could apparently have flown until its fuel ran out and not reached the end of the canyon, according to our cheery pilot.

He also informed us about various other potential catastrophes, including nearby live volcanoes and alien abductions at Area 51, which is in the vicinity too.

Luckily I am only half-listening by this point, due to my allconsuming terror.

Anyways, the 50-minute sky ride also provides ringside seats for the Hoover Dam, the winding Colorado river and Death Valley.

More importantly, it gives an excellent view of Celine Dion's heli-pad and the place where Thelma and Louise drove off the cliff.

Rodeo action

WILD WEST: Amazing rodeo action at the Granc Canyon

When we touch down at the Grand Canyon ranch in Arizona, we are delivered into the welcoming - if unexpectedly local - arms of Nigel Turner.

A Stockport lad born and bred, he bought this incredible 165 sq mile ranch to indulge a lifetime love of the Wild West.

Once the home of a notorious gunslinger, Tap Duncan, the ranch is a vast playground of real-life rodeos. On our flying visit, we are taken on a horseback jaunt to see where the buffalo roam. While being serenaded with country and western songs an sipping champagne.