- ASX SPI 200 futures down 0.4% to 7,359.00
- Dow Average down 0.3% to 34,838.16
- Aussie up 0.2% to 0.7362 per US$
- U.S. 10-year yield fell 4.6bps to 1.1773%
- Australia 3-year bond yield little changed at 0.24%
- Australia 10-year bond yield little changed at 1.18%
- Gold spot little changed at $1,813.26
- Brent futures down 3.0% to $73.14/bbl
- 9:30am: (AU) Aug. ANZ Roy Morgan Weekly Consumer, prior 100.7
- 11:30am: (AU) June Investor Loan Value MoM, est. 8.0%, prior 13.3%
- 11:30am: (AU) June Home Loans Value MoM, est. 2.0%, prior 4.9%
- 11:30am: (AU) June Owner-Occupier Loan Value MoM, est. 0%, prior 1.9%
- 11:30am: (AU) June Private Sector Houses MoM, prior -10.3%
- 11:30am: (AU) June Building Approvals MoM, est. -4.0%, prior -7.1%
- 2:30pm: (AU) Aug. RBA 3-Yr Yield Target, est. 0.10%, prior 0.10%
- 2:30pm: (AU) Aug. RBA Cash Rate Target, est. 0.10%, prior 0.10%
- 4:30pm: (AU) July Commodity Index SDR YoY, prior 49.1%
- 4:30pm: (AU) July Commodity Index AUD, prior 131.2
Christine Dorgan has a box full of swag and gear she ordered with points from the back of her Marlboro cigarette packs: a watch, a dart board, a portable picnic table. And last year, just as the pandemic hit, she won her most coveted prize: a trip to the Marlboro Ranch.
The trip, like so many vacations, was canceled by Covid-19. And now she will never get the chance to go. In June, cigarette maker Philip Morris USA sold the 18,000-acre Montana property where the company for two decades had hosted loyal customers on all-expense-paid trips. As cigarette smoking declines, so does its trappings.
“I signed up for that thing I don’t know how many times,” said Ms. Dorgan, a 54-year-old diesel mechanic who lives in Windom, Minn. A smoker since age 12, she quit last year shortly before she won the trip in a sweepstakes, but still wanted to go. “I wanted to see a real cowboy,” she said.
The getaway, formally Crazy Mountain Ranch, was a real-life incarnation of Marlboro Man marketing campaigns, which featured gruff cowboys riding horses and snowy Western peaks.
It was Disneyland for smokers. Guests stayed in a faux ghost town, with a mining office, bank, sheriff’s office and saloon. Their beds were piled with gifts: Stetson hats, cowboy boots, jackets, bandannas, ashtrays and, in earlier years, packs of cigarettes.
Visitors also received stainless-steel portable litter devices, or PLDs, and leather cases with belt loops, to carry cigarette butts rather than flick them and risk a fire.
The property is now owned by a subsidiary of private-equity firm CrossHarbor Capital Partners, which owns other resorts in Montana. It said it would continue to operate the cattle operation and resume operating the guest ranch, closed since last year.
But the Marlboro Ranch sweepstakes are done.
Theresa Harvey of Lynnville, Ind., went to the ranch in 2019 and enjoyed herself. “I decided now’s a good time to try to quit. I’m disheartened by the whole Marlboro sale so I’m just going to lay them down,” she said.
The idea of sending smokers on a cowboy-themed getaway emerged in the 1990s, when discount cigarettes were eroding Marlboro’s market. Philip Morris was also negotiating a resolution to litigation by states against tobacco companies for costs to treat smoking-related ills. It knew advertising would be curbed.
The ranch was owned by publisher Glenn Patch, who made his fortune with magazines such as Computer Shopper and MacWeek. Mr. Patch, who died in 2017, fell in love with Montana in the 1980s and bought the ranch, according to his brother Burrell Patch.
He also bought neighboring parcels and built guest residences and an event hall — all in the style of an Old West town. He named it Deadrock, after a fictional town in Thomas McGuane novels. He sold it to Philip Morris in 1999, his brother said.
Philip Morris held sweepstakes to win a trip to the ranch and sent surprise invitations to adults who had registered on the Marlboro website.
Ben McCormick’s wife got one on April Fools’ Day in 2007 at their home in Mobile, Ala. “I tossed it to the side,” he said. Later, he searched for “Marlboro Ranch” on Google and found it was real.
At the ranch, they rode horses and drove Humvees off-road. She sang karaoke one night, which was “definitely out of her comfort zone,” Mr. McCormick recalled.
The cigarette maker provided guests with plane tickets, spending money, even luggage for the trip. Tobacco companies for more than a decade have been prohibited from giving free cigarette samples. So in recent years, Philip Morris gave prize winners coupons to buy five cigarette packs at the local airport for $1 each.