While attending Embry Riddle University back in 1998, Matt Brassard had no idea what an impact his move from Vermont would have on Arizona’s Christmas City.
While planning a career as an aviator 9-11 occurred, and life took a different course.
Prior, to make ends meet, Matt had been tending bar on Whiskey Row, just doors down from, coincidentally enough, Matt’s Saloon.
“I was tending bar on the row and then moved over to Matt’s and fell even more in love with Prescott.” Matt says.
Matt’s turned out to be an opportunity in the making as he and fellow bartender, Marco Espitia began formulating bigger plans one step at a time.
“The first move was taking over the off-track betting counter and turning it into a late-night grub spot, “The Hole in the Wall.” He says. “We were offering simple bar foods like burritos and late-night snacks.”
The building at the middle of Whiskey Row held even further opportunities when the two twentysomethings took over the second floor of Matt’s and turned it into “Doc Hollidays”.
“We wanted to do something different for the row and just had a blast.” Matt says. The duo already had a taste of the entrepreneur spirit, and Doc Holliday’s quickly became known for live music, and events for a varied age demographic.
One of the people that would later play a role in Matt’s life, “Dre Caldwell would choreograph dance routines for the lady bartenders for “Coyote Ugly” night at Doc’s, and this past year, she was my dance instructor / partner for Dancing for the Stars, a fundraiser for Boys and Girls Club.”
Not only did Matt two step out of his comfort zone, but he was also the biggest fundraiser for the annual event, raising almost $82,000.00 for the organization.
“Once I was asked, I really tried to think of ways I could get out of it. I’m not big on performing so to speak, but I ended up having a blast and building life long relationships with the other folks that were involved.”
Somewhere along the way, perhaps by fate, but with some definite planning, Matt & Marco had the opportunity to purchase Matt’s Saloon, an icon of Whiskey Row since the early ‘60’s.<br />
“Once we took over, we knew there was a need to be consistent in music, (always country), hours, and service. And despite some really slim times, it’s worked.”
Creative juices flowing, the duo created M&M productions, planning and orchestrating some of the biggest events in Prescott. Putting on a fundraiser after the Whiskey Row Fire, then “Prescott Strong”, and everything from Haunted Houses and Indoor Christmas experiences.
Having established a reputation for quality events, and a commitment to community, the City and Chamber of Commerce along with creator, Tracey Horn, of Helken and Horn, approached M&M events to oversee the planning and staging of the annual “Whiskey Row New Year’s Eve Boot Drop”.
Having started on NYE 2010/2011 The Boot Drop was the brain child of Tracey Horn of Helkin and Horn, and is now recognized nationwide as one of the not to be missed New Year’s Eve events.
Boot Drop 2022/2023 promises to be one for the record books. Previous attendance has exceeded 22,000 with two Boot Drops at 10pm and Midnight.
“Our goal in getting involved was to maintain the event as a family friendly occasion where folks can stroll down town and mingle with locals and tourist in safe and festive environment.” Matt says
“We’ve got Live Music from the start at 7:30 with “Pick Up” – these guys play a wide variety of covers over a range of genres, and we’ve got Candace Devine from Ponderosa Pine, and Marco Espitia, partner of M&M Productions, hosting the entire evening.”
The Boot Drops at 10pm for the east coast transplants, early birds and families, and then 2023 is rang in with a second drop at Midnight. Both will be accompanied by fireworks, a Ferris wheel, food vendors and burn barrels will add to the festive night.
The original goal of the Boot Drop was to increase exposure to Prescott during an otherwise slow period at the end of the Christmas Season. With dedicated community members like Matt, Marco, Tracey, sponsors and volunteers, the Boot Drop has become an enduring Prescott Tradition with national recognition.
Bootdrop.com for more information and details.