Cherokee Park Ranch – 1 | Barn Fire – 0
On May 16th, 2015, just one day after our staff arrived for the summer, our tack barn, kids’ clubhouse, and corral caught fire. After an investigation, the fire was determined to have been caused by an electrical failure. The fire was fast, and within an hour, it had burned the barn and corral down to the ground. By running pumps down to the river and hooking up large hoses to them, we were able to spray down what was left of the kids’ clubhouse and prevent the fire from spreading any further until the fire department arrived. If it wasn’t for our staff working together to fight the fire, who knows how much more destructive it could have been? We are so thankful the fire didn’t spark two days earlier when we wouldn’t have had so much help from our staff to put out the flames!
Unfortunately, the fire not only burned down the buildings, but it also took the contents along with it. Every single saddle, bridle, bucket, brush, and halter that we owned went up in smoke, leaving us empty-handed just two weeks before our first week of guests arrived. Within a day, our fellow guest ranches and neighbors called to offer their incredible generosity by lending us enough tack to get us through the entire summer! We were overwhelmingly humbled and thankful for everyone who took the time to help us. Without them, we would have had to refund everyone for their summer vacation, send our staff home, and close down the ranch for the season.
To serve as our temporary barn, the Hamaker family lent us a semi-truck trailer, complete with homemade saddle racks. Using some metal panels, we rebuilt our corral, and away we went. Our 2015 Summer Season was phenomenal! We believe the only affect the fire had on our guests’ vacations was adding another story to tell!
With a heavy heart, Townsend surveys the damage done by the fire.
Our new and improved corral is stunning!
As the summer of 2015 came to a close, it was time to face reality. We needed to start the rebuilding process and replace all of our lost tack in time for our Summer 2016 season. We had 80 brand new western saddles custom made by the Corriente Saddle Company in Texas, and we were able to personalize them with a leather stamp of our ranch logo. Prior to the fire, we purchased a few of these saddles, which were easily the most comfortable saddles we had! Ordering these saddles was a simple decision to make when determining which saddles we wanted to comprise our full saddle fleet.
Our friend, David Morrow, helped us design a new and improved barn and began making the blueprints a reality in October. Together, David, Townsend, Ryan (our Head of Maintenance), Perry Schrader (Caree’s dad) and Kiwi started building the new barn one nail at a time. The new barn houses the kids’ clubhouse, guest lounge, souvenir shop, tack room, vet stocks, several horse stalls, and a farrier barn…all under a single roof! We cannot wait to see the finished product and to share it with our guests for our Summer 2016 Season and beyond!!! You are going to love it!