This little back-hills town is about to be "discovered" on March 2 when Disney's Touchstone Pictures is scheduled to release "Wild Hogs," a midlife crisis buddy movie starring John Travolta, Tim Allen, William H. Macy, and Martin Lawrence. The pals buy motorcycles and black leather riding suits to hit the back roads of the desert Southwest. Think "City Slickers" on Harleys.
Just 22 miles south of Santa Fe and 33 miles northeast of Albuquerque on the old Turquoise Trail, Madrid (pronounced MAD-rid) is popular with tourists who like the slow road and with bikers on a Sunday drive. You'll find both in the Mine Shaft Tavern, so named because it stands at the head of the town's coal mine, which closed in 1954.
Struck by the town's colorful former-mining-town buildings that have been turned into mom-and-pop art galleries, jewelry studios, and New Age boutiques, the studio adopted Madrid's dusty main drag wholesale for the movie. In this community of independent-minded folks, reaction to the filming ranged from "Let them build their own %#&* town!" to "How can I get cast as an extra?" to "Who wants to buy my turquoise jewelry?"
Spoiler alert: A stand-in for the Mine Shaft Tavern gets blown up in the movie, but the real deal, which claims that its 40-foot lodgepole pine bar is the longest stand-up bar in New Mexico, is still setting up longneck beers to slake the thirst of parched riders.
For details on Madrid shops and amenities, visit mad-rid.com . For information on "Wild Hogs," visit wildhogsmovie.com . The Mine Shaft Tavern, 2846 State Highway 14, Madrid, N.M., 505-473-0743, mineshafttavern.com.