It’s hard to believe we will begin our 21st. season this spring. In 1993, I was working with my father selling insurance to federal and postal employees. I was traveling quite a bit as we were responsible for a number of western states. I enjoyed the travel and the work, but when Amy gave birth to our oldest son, Cameron, it became harder and harder to leave home. My mind would always drift back to the Ranch in Wyoming where Amy and I met, and the wonderful family we worked for. The days were long, but I loved the work and the lifestyle. The thought of developing our own guest ranch in my home state, where I could work along my family, and share our love of the outdoors took root in my heart and I knew that I needed to give this endeavor all I had. We purchased the acreage in 1994 and after having every bank in AR tell us we were nuts, we finally got some financing with the help of a note guarantee from the USDA rural development. With a guarantee in place, we went back to the bank that said “No” the nicest, and away we went. We had our first paying guests in the summer of 1997.
It’s been an amazing adventure, with the addition of three more children, plenty of sleepless nights and some difficult times mixed in too. We have made lifelong friends in the community, with years of great staff, and with countless guests from 49 states (get with it Rhode Island!) and from over the pond as well. These relationships are where we feel the greatest blessings lie and we look forward to seeing what the next 20 years brings. The Ranch is a special place that fosters the development of relationships. We pride ourselves on the food, the amenities and the wide range and the uniqueness of the activities we offer, from rock climbing and horses to ziplines and river trips, but the reason people return year after year is because of the friendships made here, and the way families can connect with each other before cell phones and Netflix began to devour our ability to connect on a personal level with real live humans. Eating three meals a day together and supporting, and encouraging one another through some new experiences helps us reconnect to a simpler time. It may be an oversimplification, but the Ranch changes people. I’ve seen it happen. Staff grows. Parents grow. Kids grow. We grow.
Thank you to all who have played a role in this great adventure, and here’s to many more to come…
(Written by Barry Johnson – Ranch Owner)