Tombstone Pizza founder building 80 Genoa homes |

Tombstone Pizza founder building 80 Genoa homes

by Jo Rafferty

One homesite is still available in the first phase of Canyon Creek Estates in Genoa, and 42 more should be ready when the second phase of the gated community is completed this summer.

The lots, west of Jacks Valley Road across from Genoa Lakes Golf Resort, formerly Sierra Nevada Golf Resort, are owned by Ron Simek, a Genoa resident for almost 20 years.

Simek founded Tombstone Pizza in 1986 and bought 3,000 acres from Harvey Gross Wagon Wheel Ranch, founder of the original Harvey’s Casino that same year.

The development is one of two currently approved for the area surrounding and in the interior of Genoa Lakes Golf Resort.

Genoa Lakes Golf Resort and Genoa Lakes Golf Course, two golf courses on the east side of Jacks Valley Road approximately one mile from each other, merged on March 31 when the Monterey Development Group sold former Sierra Nevada Golf Resort to Genoa Lakes Golf Course owner Mario Antoci.

This created a 450-acre golfing resort – to include an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, a fitness and sports center and tennis courts – and a planned community of 395 homes, including Canyon Creek Estates.

A neighboring development, Montaña at Genoa Lakes Golf Resort, consisting of 315 homes, is under construction on the east side of Jacks Valley.

Canyon Creek Estates’ homesites are located above and to the north of the five Genoa Lake Golf Resort holes on the west side of Jacks Valley Road.

Phase one consists of three-quarter-acre lots. The second phase will be two 8-acre lots, available between June 15 and July 1, according to Simek.

Two homes in phase one of Canyon Creek Estates are already occupied and two are under construction. Simek and his wife Myki are moving into one of the homes.

“The community here will be our own gated community,” said Myki.

“We’re surrounded by Bureau of Indian Affairs land on the northeast side and Forest Service property on the west side,” said Simek. “It will probably never be developed.”

On the south side more than 600 acres is individually owned and the owner doesn’t want it developed, according to Simek.

In 1962 Simek started serving Tombstone pizzas at a bar he owned in Medford, Wisconsin.

“We were trying to keep the kids from getting drunk,” he said.

Eventually, the local jail was serving the inmates Tombstone pizzas on Sundays, according to Simek.

The bar was appropriately called the Tombstone Tap, after a cemetery located directly in front of it, he said. In 1986 he began manufacturing three-quarter million pizzas a week when he sold the business to Kraft Foods.

That same year Simek moved to Genoa from Wisconsin, along with six other families and about 450 Limousin cattle, a red-colored breed from France known for its lean meat.

Simek built a 32-trap range in the area where Genoa Lakes Golf Resort is now located.

“I had the biggest trap range west of the Mississippi River,” said Simek.

In 1994 Genoa Lakes Golf Course opened and in 1998 Simek’s family built Sierra Nevada Golf Resort, which was managed by American Golf until April 2002, Simek said.

— Jo Rafferty can be reached at or 782-5121, ext. 213.